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Medieval Cookery - A Dictionary of Middle-English Cooking Terms

The index below covers a range of Middle-English terms used in medieval English cooking texts. Included are some of the more unusual spelling variants for modern words, English words still in use but considered archaic or old fashioned, and words common to England that may be unknown elsewhere (e.g. the names of English river fish).

Currently listed are terms used in Forme of Cury and Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery Books .


balloc broth (also: balourgly) : A fish stew. May be a transcription or copying error for "ballow".

barbel : A carp-like freshwater fish (genus Barbus).

bataiwyng : Crenellations. Having battlements.

baude (also: bawde) : To cut in thin slices.

berm : Yeast, usually as foam from brewing beer or ale.

betany (also: betayn) : Betony (Stachys officinalis), also known as woundwort and common hedgenettle. A member of the mint family.

betes (also: betus) : Beet greens.

betor (also: bitore) : Bittern (Botaurus stellaris). A large wading bird of the heron family.

blanc (also: blanche, blaunche, blank, blanke) : White. (from French)

blanc manger (also: blamang, blomanger) : A dish usually made of rice and chicken.

bolas (also: bullace) : Plums.

bonte : A linen sieve.

borage (also: burage) : Common Borage (Borago officinalis). A kitchen herb common across Europe. Borage flowers are blue.

bourreys (also: bowres) : A dish made in the form of little, filled pastry pouches. (from French bourse)

brasele : Braise.

brasey : Braised.

brawn (also: braan, brann, branne) : Flesh. The term is aparently only applied to meat (compared to "char" which can mean meat but was also used for the flesh of fruit).

bray (also: brey) : To grind.

breme : A general term for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish.

brewet (also: bruet) : A soup or stew, usually containing meat. (probably from French)

broche : A stick or skewer (branch).

brymeus : Unknown, but may be a misspelling, transcription or copying error of a word meaning "blackberries".

bukkenade (also: buknade) : A meat stew (most often veal), usually including egg yolks.