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This entry is a re-creation of a recipe from Le Menagier de Paris (France, 1393 - Janet Hinson, trans.), entitled "First". [insert a brief description of dish here, possibly including any or all of the following: characteristics of the final dish, when or how it might have been served, and why you selected it]

The Source Recipe
The original text of the recipe is as follows:

First, when you grind spices and bread for any sauces or soups, you must grind the spices first and remove them from the mortar, for as you grind the bread it will gather up any spices remaining; thus you do not lose any speck which would be lost otherwise. Item, sauces and thickening agents for soups should never be strained, whereas for sauces they should be so that the sauces be clearer and also more pleasing.

Item, you should know that it is unlikely for peas or beans or other soups to stick to the bottom of the pot, if the burning logs do not touch the underside of the pot while it is on the fire.

Item, before your soup sticks, and so that it will not stick, stir the bottom of the pot often getting your spoon down to the depths, so that the soup does not lump there. And note that as soon as you see your soup is sticking, do not stir it at all but take it immediately off the fire and put in another pot.

Item, note that commonly any soup which is on the fire will boil up and over on to the said fire until you add salt and grease to the pot, and then it will not.

Item, note that the best soup there is, is cheek of beef washed in water two or three times, then boiled and well skimmed.

Item, you can tell if a coney is fat by feeling a tendon in the neck between the two shoulders, for there you can tell if it has much fat by the large tendon; and if it is tender, you can tell by breaking one of the hind legs.

Item, note that there is a difference between sticking and larding, for the first is with cloves and the other with bacon.

Item, with pike, the soft roe is better than the hard roe, unless you want to make rissoles, as you use the hard roe for rissoles, ut patet in tabula. With pike, we speak of "lanceron", the smallest, "pike" in the middle, and then "quarrel", the biggest.

Item, shad comes into season in March.

Item, carp must be well-cooked otherwise there is danger in eating it.

Item, plaice feel smooth to the hand, sole do not.

Item, in Paris the goose-sellers fatten their geese on wheat-flour, not the finest flour nor bran, but that which falls between the two, namely fine or double-milled: and to this flour they add an equal amount of oats, and mix it together with a little water, and this holds together like a paste, and they put this food in a four-legged feeding-trough, and nearby, water and litter fresh each day, and in fifteen days they are fat. And note that the litter enables them to keep their feathers clean.

Item, to age capons and hens, you should bleed them through their beaks and immediately put them in a pail of very cold water, holding them all the way under, and they will be aged that same day as if they had been killed and hung two days ago.

Related Recipes
While interpreting this recipe, I also considered the following recipes that appear to be related:
[edit as appropriate - note that this section should be left out if no related recipes can be found]

First dish. Beef pies and rissoles, black beet, lampreys in cold sage soup, a German meat soup, a white sauce of fish and an abarlester, and the coarse meat of beef and mutton. [Le Menagier de Paris]

First dish. Rich pasties, a stew of meat, beef marrow fritters, smoked eels, loach in water and cold sage soup, coarse meat and saltwater fish. [Le Menagier de Paris]

First dish. Fresh beans, a cinnamon broth, a stew of black hare, a green soup of eels, smoked herring, coarse meat, turnips, tench soups, salted sciaenas and olives, beef marrow rissoles and skewers (kebabs) of beef ut pa. [Le Menagier de Paris]

First dish. White beet, beef kebabs, coarse meat, veal stew, marrow-bone soup. [Le Menagier de Paris]

First dish. Coarse meat, rich pasties, beef-marrow fritters, meat broth, smoked eels, loach in water, saltwater fish and cold sage soup. [Le Menagier de Paris]

First dish. White beets, beef pies, olives and sciaenas, soup of hares and coneys, a pie of shad, coarse meat. [Le Menagier de Paris]

First, take five hundred new walnuts, and be sure that neither the shell nor the kernel are yet formed and that the shell is also neither too hard nor too tender, and peel them all round, and then pierce them through or in a cross. And then put them to soak in water from the Seine or a spring, and change it every day: and they must soak ten to twelve days and they will become black and when you chew one you will not be able to taste any bitterness; and then put them on to boil in sweet water and let them boil just for the length of time it takes to say a Miserere, and until you see that there are none which are too hard or too soft. Then empty the water, and put them to drain on a screen, and then boil a sixth of honey or as much as they need to be all covered, and the honey should be strained and skimmed: and when it is cooled down to just warm, add your walnuts and leave them two or three days, and then put them to drain, and take as much of your honey as they can soak in, and put the honey on the fire and make it come to a good boil and skim it, and take it off the fire: and put in each hole in your walnuts a clove in one side and a little snip of ginger in the other, and then put them in the honey when it is lukewarm. And stir it two or three times a day, and at the end of three days take them out: and gather up the honey, and if there is not enough, add to it and boil and skim and boil, then put your walnuts in it; and thus each week for a month. And then leave them in an earthenware pot or a cask, and stir once a week. [Le Menagier de Paris]

First, for five hundred walnuts, take a pound of mustard-seed and half a pound of anise, a quatrain and a half of fennel, a quatrain and a half of coriander, a quatrain and a half of caraway seed, which is a seed eaten in dragees, and grind all these things to powder: and then put all these things through the mustard mill and soak them thick in very good vinegar, and put in an earthenware pot. And then take half a pound of horse-radish, which is a root sold by herbalists, and scrape it thoroughly and chop it as small as you can and grind it in a mustard-mill, and moisten with vinegar.

Item, take half a fourth of clove stem, half a fourth of meche ginger, half a fourth of nutmegs, half a fourth of grains of paradise, and grind them all to powder.

Item, take half an ounce of saffron from Orte [a place-name] dried and beaten in an ounce of red cedar, a root bought at a herbalist's and called "cedar for making knife-handles". And then take twelve pounds of good honey which is hard and white and melt it on the fire, and when it is well-cooked and skimmed, let it sit, then strain it, and cook it again: and if it still produces scum, you will have to strain it again, if it is not convenient to let it cool; then moisten your mustard with good red wine and half as much vinegar and put in the honey. Soak your powdered spices in wine and vinegar and put in the honey, and boil your cedar pieces a little in hot wine, and then add the saffron with the other things, and another handful of coarse salt.

Item, and after these things, take two pounds of grapes known as Digne grapes, which are small and have no seeds or pips inside, and which are fresh, and pound them thoroughly in a mortar and moisten in good vinegar, then strain through a strainer, and put with the other things.

Item, if you add four or five pints of must or cooked wine, the sauce will be better. [Le Menagier de Paris]

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The original recipe calls for the following ingredients: [edit this list as appropriate]


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Searchable index of "Le Menagier de Paris". Medieval Cookery.
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