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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 .


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

sandres (also: saunders, saundres) : Saunders, also known as Red Sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus). Used as a red colorant.

sapheron : Saffron.

schevres : Slivers.

schyconys : Chickens.

seeth (also: seth, sethith) : Boil.

serge : Sift.

sethyng : Boiling.

sew (also: sewe) : Stew or broth.

sklyse : A paddle or spatula.

skyrwates (also: skyrwater) : Skirret (Sium sisarum). A root vegetable, also known as a water parsnip.

sode (also: soden, sodyn) : Boiled.

soler : Cellar.

somdel (also: sumdell) : Somewhat, some part.

soppes : Sops. A dish consisting of a soup or broth poured over a slice of toasted bread.

sorcell : Teal, or Common Teal (Anas crecca).

southrenwode : Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum). A vlose relative of wormwood and mugwort.

sowpes (also: sowpys) : Sops. A dish consisting of a soup or broth poured over a slice of toasted bread.

spykenard : Spikenard (Nardostachys grandiflora). A flowering member of the Valerian family.

stockefysche (also: stockfish) : Dried fish, usually cod.

stondyng : Extremely thick. Thicker than chargeant.

storion : Sturgeon.

sweng (also: sweyng, swyng) : Stir vigorously. Whisk.

swerde : Rind or skin.

swythe : Quickly.

synamoun : Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum). Possibly cassia (Cinnamomum cassia - Sold as "cinnamon" in the United States) as well.