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I Shall Write Some More About Cooking That ox

This is an excerpt from The Prince of Transylvania's Court Cookbook
(Hungary, 16th c.)
The original source can be found at

I shall write some more about cooking that ox. These are things I heard from my old masters. There were forty or fifty masters on a lord's wedding, and once they were done with cooking, they sat down and started talking the trade. Then, they started to talk about the ox. Master Mihély, the great György Bebek's chef said: 'I saw Gébor Prynyi's wedding, and master Antal cooked an ox, which had a big sheep inside, which had a calf inside, and the calf had a big capon inside. Once it was done, he took out the capon, and if the capon was cooked, then so was the ox.' Some chefs said that it is impossible. Some spice masters said it is possible; since the ox is big and requires a great deal of time to be cooked properly, the animals inside would cook, since the ox would act like a furnace, trapping all the heat inside. The masters said that it is possible to prepare the ox in a way that it would stand and not lay. I will tell you how to achieve this. Have a long drill made, similar to what they use to carve guns, the end should be clean steel. This should be as long as the ox, going from its nails to its back, and fasten its legs with iron nails to the grate. Cover its legs with wet cloth so that the bones don't get burnt, the iron nails should be strong enough to fasten the ox to the grate. Should you wish to decorate it, then do so like I told you. I told you this because making roast beef requires knowledge, then imagine what kind of knowledge making an ox requires. Should my lord ask for this, I would do it.


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