Le Viandier de Taillevent - English Glossary
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alkanets A root (Alkanna tinctoria) grown in the South of France yielding a deep red dye (Grieve, OED).
almonds A common thickening (see also blood, bread, eggs and livers).
anise Red or white anise is "anise in comfit", anise seeds coated in sugar and brightly coloured.
avens A herb (Geum urbanum) used for its green colour. Also called herb bennet. If unobtainable, use a mixture of parsley (for colour) and cloves (for flavour) (Grieve, Sass 1975, OED).
azure Probably the semiprecious stone lapis lazuli, ground up, and used for its blue colour (OED). Plouvier suggests azurite, but this is probably wrong.
Barbe Robert A kind of sauce. A recipe is in Additional Recipes.
bard To dress for roasting with large slices of pork fat draped over the meat.
bastard lovage A herb (Laserpitium latifolium). Also called hartwort or herb frankincense (Grieve, OED).
blank A coin worth 5 deniers (OED. Pichon et al. suggest 10 or 12 deniers.).
bleak A small freshwater fish (Alburnus lucidus); and a similar saltwater fish (OED).
blood A common thickening (see also almonds, bread, eggs and livers).
bourblier The name of a dish, a sauce, or a cut of meat from the wild boar, otherwise untranslatable. See the French Glossary under bourblier.
bread A common thickening (see also almonds, blood, eggs and livers). At the time, prepared by toasting slices of white bread on the grill until they reached the desired colour (from light golden to black). Heating crumbs carefully in the oven gives a more uniform colour.
bream A freshwater fish (Abramis brama).
button To dress for roasting with slivers of pork fat pricked into the meat.
cassia Most North American 'cinnamon' is actually cassia, often considered an inferior substitute (Grieve, Rosengarten).
cassia flowers Cassia buds, presumably dried. If unobtainable, use cinnamon. I have found tinned "cassia flowers [buds] in brine" in a Chinese food store, but have not tried them.
charpie A minced meat dish, literally 'shreds', otherwise untranslatable.
cheesecloth In some cases a colander, grater, sieve or sifter would be a suitable substitute. See the French Glossary under estamine.
chevron An angled pair of rafters (OED), from which it may be conjectured that it refers to similar angled supports for the wheels of the Swan Knight subtlety, presumably one on each side at the front and back.
cinnamon True cinnamon, but see also 'cassia'.
costmary A herb (Chrysanthemum balsamita).
cracklings Slices of the fibrous residue left after rendering fat.
cretone A kind of seasoned soup, otherwise untranslatable (OED). Perhaps from the town of Creton in Normandy.
† Later note for cassia flowers: An online search for "dried cassia buds" today shows that they are much more common than I thought in 1986-1989. JP 2017-December-28.
crisp A pastry made by dropping batter into boiling fat (OED).
denier At the time a coin of alloyed silver and copper weighing 10 to 14 Troy grains (OED). There were 12 deniers in a sol, and 20 sols in a livre. As a small weight the Paris denier was 1/384 of a pound (1.275 grams) (Zupko). When it appears to be used for larger weights or volumes, the meaning is unknown. It may refer to the amount of a particular ingredient that could be purchased for one denier (see the French Glossary under denree). At the prices mentioned in Power and Aliquot, a denier's worth of ginger would be about a quarter of a Paris ounce. The rarer spices (six different ones) were between 5 and 10 times as expensive as ginger. If this applied to turmeric, a denier's worth would be about 1/20 to 1/40 of a Paris ounce. Similarly, a denier's worth of wine would be about half a Paris pint.
dew water The liquid that exudes from a dry chicken cooked in a closed pot. See the French Glossary under eaue rose.
Digne raisins Small dried seedless raisins (Power). Probably from the town of Digne, long known for preserved fruit, in Provence.
Dodine A kind of sauce rather like a modern gravy. Instructions are given in Le Viandier in the two recipes that call for it ("River mallards" and "Fatted capons").
ears Pastries made so as to resemble small ears (Montagne under roussette). See also 'lettuces'.
eggs A common thickening (see also almonds, blood, bread and livers).
faulx grenon A kind of stew, otherwise untranslatable (Godefroy). See the French Glossary under faulx grenon.
Fine Powder A standard spice mixture. Probably every cook had a personal mixture, or bought it from a merchant. The composition varied, but always contained a high proportion of ginger. A recipe is in Additional Recipes.
fish days Days on which the eating of meat was forbidden by the church or state, usually Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. During the 40 days of Lent, egg and dairy products were also forbidden (Black).
fusty An adjective describing wine that tastes of the wooden cask.
galantine A cold dish, with meat in jelly (or something similar).
galingale A kind of mild ginger. If unobtainable, use a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger (OED, Grieve).
georgie A kind of soup, otherwise untranslatable. See the French Glossary under georgie.
giblets Originally only goose giblets (OED).
ginger See also 'Mecca ginger'.
gooseberries Fresh gooseberries; or red, black or white currants.
grains of paradise If unobtainable, use a mixture of paprika, cardamom and black pepper (Grieve, OED).
grampus Whale meat in general, probably salted (Pichon et al., Montagne, OED). It was particularly popular during Lent, because it counted as fish, not as meat.
grey mullet A saltwater fish (Mugilidae capito).
grey gurnard A saltwater fish (Trigla gurnardus).
haricot A kind of stew, otherwise untranslatable (OED).
harvest cheese A kind of cheese, presumably made after the harvest from milk with a high fat content. It was sufficiently hard that it could be crumbled. Chiquart explicitly names Brie (Scully 1986).
hippocras A kind of spiced wine. A recipe is in Additional Recipes.
† Later note for fish days: I now think that for the general population in Taillevent's day, only Friday was a weekly fish day. JP 2012-April-20.
hogshead At the time 268.2 litres (36 Paris setiers or 288 Paris pints) (Montagne, Zupko).
Hot Pepper A kind of sauce. This sauce is only mentioned in the title of the recipe "Fresh leg of pork grilled with leeks, eaten with Hot Pepper", which is then not given.
Hot Sauce A kind of sauce. The recipe is in Le Viandier as part of the recipe "Fresh lamprey with Hot Sauce".
hot water pastries Pastry which is first poached in water, then baked in the oven (Montagne).
houdons A kind of stew, otherwise untranslatable (Godefroy).
Jance A kind of sauce, otherwise untranslatable. Recipes for Cow's Milk Jance, Garlic Jance, and Ginger Jance are in Additional Recipes. Jance alone probably means Ginger Jance (Power).
lard To dress for roasting with threads of pork fat sewn into the meat.
lettuces Pastries made, perhaps with several layers of crust, so as to resemble lettuces. See also 'ears'.
livers A common thickening (often chicken livers) (see also almonds, blood, bread and eggs).
long pepper A kind of pepper usually considered inferior to black pepper (Grieve).
lorey An adjective qualifying a dish, otherwise untranslatable (OED). Perhaps from the district of Lorraine. The modern equivalent is the French roussette (Montagne).
mangonel A medieval engine of war (OED). The usage is puzzling. It might indicate a subtlety depicting a siege in miniature; or it might merely signify food in the form of a cylinder ('mangle'). See also 'motte'.
mastic thyme A herb (Thymus mastichina). Also called herb mastic or Spanish wood marjoram.
† Later note for lorey: I had missed the more obvious possible derivation from l'oreille, meaning 'the ear'. JP 1990-June-23.
meat days Days on which the eating of meat was permitted by the church. See also 'fish days'.
Mecca ginger A kind of ginger. It is described as "whiter, better, and always more expensive" (Labarge, Pichon et al., Power). Use ordinary ginger.
menjoire A dish, otherwise untranslatable (Godefroy).
mesentery A membrane surrounding and supporting the intestines.
motte A mound on which a small castle might be built (OED). The usage is puzzling. It might indicate a subtlety depicting a siege in miniature; or it might merely signify food in the form of a mound ('lump'). See also 'mangonel'.
Must Sauce A kind of sauce made from must (grape juice before it becomes wine). A recipe is in Additional Recipes.
mutton All lamb or mutton, except for the very youngest spring lamb.
offal Heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, spleen, sweetbreads, tongue, tripe, and so on; referred to in North America as variety meats.
ounce At the time the Paris ounce was 30.59 grams (Montagne, Zupko).
Parma An adjective qualifying a dish (after the town of Parma in Italy) (OED, Flandrin).
paupiette A strip of meat rolled around some stuffing (OED). Also called a roll, bird or olive (Rombauer et al.).
pavise A large shield used as a defence against archery (OED).
pie Many dishes cooked 'in a pie' would have had the crust discarded (as in modern cooking en croute).
pint At the time the Paris pint was 0.93 litres, significantly larger than the modern pint (Montagne, Zupko).
Poitevin A kind of sauce (named after the region of Poitou). A recipe is in Additional Recipes.
pottage A thick soup. Note that the solid and liquid components are sometimes prepared separately, with the liquid poured into the bowl over the solid portion just before serving (Sabban).
pound At the time the Paris pound was 489.5 grams (Montagne, Zupko).
Provençal Of the region of Provence.
puree of peas In context it is obviously a thin liquid like beef broth, presumably water in which peas had been cooked (Plouvier).
quart At the time the Paris quart was 1.86 litres, significantly larger than the modern quart (Montagne, Zupko).
quenelle A ball of forcemeat (stuffing), boiled like a dumpling.
red deer A European deer (Cervus elaphus).
red gurnard A saltwater fish (Trigla cuculus).
red mullet A saltwater fish (Mullidae barbatus).
rissole A fried ball of chopped meat and other ingredients (OED).
roe deer A European deer (Capreolus capraea).
ropy An adjective describing wine that has developed oily threads due to bacterial or fungal contamination.
rosy A kind of dish named for its colour, otherwise untranslatable (Godefroy).
round pepper A kind of pepper. It probably refers to ordinary black peppercorns.
Saint Merry Sauce A kind of sauce (named after a street in Paris). Instructions are given in Le Viandier in the recipe that calls for it ("Roast geese and goslings").
salmon trout A saltwater fish (Salmo trutta) which spawns in freshwater. It appears under both round and flat saltwater fish.
sauces At the time occasionally served poured over the dish, but more often served separately in small bowls. Sauces were referred to by their first names (as Cameline rather than as Cameline Sauce).
Saupiquet A kind of sauce. Instructions are given in Le Viandier in the recipe that calls for it ("Roast hares").
scallion An onion (Allium fistulosum). If unobtainable, use green onion.
sea bream A saltwater fish (Chrysophrys major).
shad A saltwater fish (Alosa vulgaris) which spawns in freshwater.
slimy Fish have a protective mucous in addition to or instead of scales (especially lampreys and bony fishes). This slimy coating is full of colloidal proteins that can be used (like gelatine) as a base for jellies.
Small Spices Spices such as grains of paradise, cloves and long pepper. "'Minute Spices' was frequently adopted to describe specifically those items sold in small quantities at high prices" (Labarge).
sop A bit of bread for dipping in a liquid, such as a soup or wine.
Soringue A kind of eel dish, probably from saracen, otherwise untranslatable (Godefroy, Flandrin 1982).
Sour Pepper A kind of sauce. It appears to be an alternate name for "Yellow Pepper" (Pichon et al., Power).
Souse A kind of sauce. The title "Piglet Souse" refers to earlier recipes for a sauce for piglet offal (Scully 1988). The alternative title "Parsley Souse" better matches the recipe in the manuscript. The recipe is in Le Viandier.
Spanish pots The result should look like a vase with flowers in it.
Spice Powder A standard spice mixture. Probably every cook had a personal mixture, or bought it from a merchant. The composition varied. A recipe is in Additional Recipes. It is sometimes known as 'Common Powder' (Santich). See also 'Strong Powder'.
stockfish Originally dried hake, later other dried fish (OED).
Strong Powder A standard spice mixture (poudre forte). It is not actually called for in any recipe in Le Viandier. It is almost certainly the same as 'Spice Powder'. See 'Spice Powder'.
subtlety A pageant, model, inedible dish or edible dish, presented as entertainment or decoration between courses. Hence, any dish in which extra care is taken over the appearance and presentation.
Sweet Powder A standard spice mixture. Probably every cook had a personal mixture, or bought it from a merchant. The composition varied, but was always mostly sugar. It is not actually called for in any recipe in Le Viandier. A recipe is embedded within the recipe for "Hippocras" in Additional Recipes. Power reads poudre douce as 'Duke's powder' rather than as 'sweet powder'. Santich decides on 'sweet powder'.
taille The name of a dish, otherwise untranslatable. See the French Glossary under taille.
trimolette An adjective qualifying a dish, otherwise untranslatable (Godefroy). Partridge trimolette is similar to the modern French recipe salmis (Godefroy, Montagne).
turnsole A herb (Chrozophora tinctoria) yielding a purple, red or blue dye depending upon treatment (OED). Power says green, but this is surely a mistake. Plouvier suggests litmus and Scully suggests orchil lichen, but these are probably wrong.
vair Squirrel fur which is grey and white.
verjuice Sour juice, usually from specially grown unripe grapes. Also made from crabapples, sorrel, gooseberries, or any other sour item according to the season. Flandrin et al. mention the addition of salt as a preservative. Lemon juice is a modern substitute.
White Powder A standard spice mixture. Probably every cook had a personal mixture, or bought it from a merchant. The composition is much debated. Use a mixture of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and (optionally) cloves or mace (Sass, Hieatt et al. 1979, v'Amberview).
Wine and Salt Sauce A kind of sauce. No recipe is available. Use any modern white wine fish sauce with added salt (Rombauer et al.).
Wine Sauce A kind of sauce. No recipe is available. Use any modern white wine fish sauce (Rombauer et al.).
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