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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 .


pacience : Patience (Rumex alpinus), also known as Monk's Rhubarb or Passion's Dock.

pandemayn (also: payndemayn) : Fine white bread. (from French)

paradys (also: grayne de paradys) : Grains of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta), also known as Guinea pepper or Melegueta pepper. A small, hard seed with a flavor between ginger and pepper.

pasternaks (also: pasturnakes) : Root vegetables, namely carrots and parsnips.

payn : Bread. (from French)

pecher : Pitcher.

peions (also: peiouns) : Pigeons.

peleter (also: pellydore) : Pellitory (Anacyclus pyrethrum). An herb with a hot, spicy flavor. Also called Spanish Chamomile and Mount Atlas daisy.

pepyn : Pea (as opposed to the pea pod).

pertryche : Partridge.

peskodde : Pea pods.

peson (also: pesoun, pisyn) : Peas.

peuerade (pevorat) : Pepper sauce.

plaise (also: plays) : Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa). A flat fish that lives on the sandy bottom of the ocean.

plouer : Plover.

pomme (also: pommys) : Apples. (from French)

pommedorry : Golden apples. (from French)

posnet (also: possynet) : A small pot.

potage : A soup or stew.

pottel (also: pottle) : A half gallon.

powche : Stomach.

purdew : Lost. (from French)

purslarye : Purslane (Portulaca oleracea). Aso known as Pigweed.

pynade : A candy made with pine nuts, similar to peanut brittle.

pynes : Pine nuts.