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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 .


caboches : Cabbage.

calwar : A type or grade of salmon. May be related to "calver" salmon which is freshly caught and cleaned, or "salar" salmon which is young.

cameline (also: camelyne) : A very common sauce containing cinnamon. May have originally been "canneline".

canel : Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia - Sold as "cinnamon" in the United States). Possibly cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylenicum) as well.

canett : Misspelling or transcription error for "canell"

carnel : Transcription error for "caruel" - brains.

carnoun : Transcription error for "carvoun" (carved).

caudel (also: cawdel) : A smooth, thick soup or beverage, usually made with eggs.

char (also: chare, chard) : Flesh. May refer to either the flesh of an animal or the flesh of a fruit.

chargeant (also: charchant, charchaunt, charchaut, chargeaunt, charghaunt, chariaud, chariaunt) : Very thick. Chargeant seems to be somewhere between "thick" and "stonding" in consistency.

chargeour : A large plate.

charlet : A dish made of minced meat boiled in milk.

chastletes : Filled paistry castles.

chawdon (also: chawdoun) : A dish made of organ meats.

chescun : Each one. (from French)

chewetes : Small baked or fried pies.

chibolles (also: chyballes) : Scallions or spring onions.

chiches (also: chyches) : Chick peas.

civey (also: cyee, cynee, cyney) : Gravy made with onions.

clary (also: clarry, clarey) : Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea).

clees : Claws.

cloue : Cloves.

clowte : Cloth.

cod (also: code, codlyng) : Cod (Gadus morhua).

coffyn (also: cofyn) : A pastry crust, often freestanding and rectangular.

cole (also: cool, kale) : Any one of a number of leafy vegetables, usually a variant of cabbage (Brassica oleracea).

coliaundre (also: colyandre) : Coriander seed (Coriandrum sativum).

colys : A broth with finely ground meat.

comade : Pastry filling.

comfery : Comfrey (Symphytum officinale).

comfyte (also: confit, confyt) : Sugar coated seeds (e.g. anise in confit), or fruit in syrup (e.g. pears in confit).

compost : A dish of pickled fruits and vegetables.

comyn : Cumin (Cuminum cyminum).

coneys (also: connynges, conynges, conynggis, conynggys) : Rabbits.

conger (also: congur) : A type of marine eel.

connes (also: coynes) : Quince. (from French)

corance (also: coraunce, corauns, coraunte, coronse) : Raisins made from corinth grapes (a.k.a currants).

cormarye : Pork marinated in spiced wine and roasted.

costmarye : Costmary (Tanacetum balsamita), also called alecost. A more aromatic relative of Tansy.

cotagres : A roast dish made by sewing the top of a chicken to the back of a pig to look like a mytical animal (cockatrice).

countoer : A top crust.

craytoun : A dish with a sauce made with milk.

cruddes : Curds or new cheese.

crustardes : A savory tart of eggs and meat, similar to quiche.

cryppys (also: cryspes) : Funnel cake.

cryspels : Thin fried crackers.

cubebs : (Piper cubeba). A type of pepper with a citrus-like scent. Also called Tailed Pepper.

culdore : Colander.

curlew (also: curlewe) : A large wading bird (Numenius arquata), about 20 inches (50 cm) in length.

cypress (also: cipris, cypre) : Much of the sugar was imported from Cypress, leading highly sweetened dishes to be labeled as such (e.g. "vyaunde cypre").