Le Viandier de Taillevent - French Glossary
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This section discusses the translations of selected medieval French words or phrases, including all those where there was some difficulty, or where Pichon et al. were silent or seem to have been wrong. For scientific Latin names, see the English Glossary.
affaire To clean, to prepare (in context it could mean clean, skin, gut, scale, or any combination).
affiner To grind (in a mortar), to clean (a fish) (from context and OED. The literal meaning is 'refine'. Pichon et al. suggest 'peel', but this is surely wrong.).
aigrefin Haddock (fish) (Montagne).
alainne Steam (the literal meaning is 'breath').
alose Shad (fish).
alouyau Olive (that is, veal roll, bird or paupiette) (Black, OED. Trésor suggests a derivation from aloel or alouette, meaning 'lark', which would match an alternate English word for the dish, namely 'bird'. The medieval English spelling was 'alow' for the dish (Black), later spelt 'olave' (Aresty). This was presumably corrupted over the years to 'olive'. I have chosen 'paupiette' since it appears in Montagne and Webster.).
alozees Shad-like (if 'shad-like carp' simply means 'carp'. It might instead be a mis-writing (the recipe for carpes directly follows that for aloze in the text). It might even be a new fish, belonging to the second paragraph of the recipe for 'shad'.).
andoylle Sausage (in context this seems more likely than 'large intestine').
appareillier To prepare, to clean (from context).
archal Brass wire (Huguet).
arconner To bard (from context, and probably from 'arson', meaning 'saddle-bow' or 'saddle' (OED). This is exactly parallel to 'bard', meaning 'horse armour' or 'pack saddle' (OED). Pichon et al. and Godefroy suggest "to attach to the spit with the aid of little skewers retaining the roast", but this is surely wrong.).
arrouser To baste (the literal meaning is 'sprinkle').
c'est assavoir To wit (from context, and from "il est fait assavoir que", meaning "be it known that").
aubun White (of egg).
baciner To baste (from context, not 'marinate' as Pichon et al. suggest).
baye Berry (bay or juniper) (used in the treatment of wines) ('bay' alone may mean the berries of the bay tree (OED). Pichon et al. suggest the juniper berry. Crushed juniper berry is used to remove unpleasant flavours from game birds (Rombauer et al.). Scully (1988) suggests bay leaves, but this is surely wrong.).
baien Burst (of swelling grain) (Pichon et al.).
bescuit Pike (fish) (Pichon et al., Tobler. Power and Flandrin et al. have 'salmon'.).
bete Chard (Pichon et al., Montagne, OED).
bien pou Just a little (Huguet. Other dictionaries suggest 'very little' and similar meanings, but the recipes involved seem to call for the use of more than is suggested by 'very little'.).
blanc mengier White dish (the literal meaning is 'white to eat'. A translation as the modern 'blancmange' would be misleading.).
boe Mud (a thick black sauce) (Pichon et al.).
bourblier Not translated. It might be a particular cut of the wild boar (Godefroy suggests 'shoulder', Power has 'umbles' and Scully (1986) has 'breast'). Scully (1988) very reasonably suggests that it might instead be the name of the sauce described in the recipe, or (less likely) of the entire dish.
boussac Bisque (OED, Montagne. Modern 'bisques' are exclusively shellfish dishes.).
bousture Boiled dish.
boute Ropy (of wine) (Pichon et al., Montagne).
bouter To insert, to attach, to touch.
brahon Dark meat (muscle) (OED under 'brawn'. This differs from the conjecture of Pichon et al. that it was a mis-writing for 'brown' meat. They were right for the wrong reason. Power has 'guts'.).
brete Small dogfish (Pichon et al. OED under 'bret' suggests brill or turbot, but these already appear, and are flat fish.).
brosser To curdle (from context. It may mean 'thicken'. Pichon et al. say they could not understand the meaning of the word).
brouet Soup (Montagne, OED under 'brewis'. The common translation as 'broth' is misleading, as many of these soups are thick.).
bruler To grill (of bread, browned as a sauce thickener).
cameline Not translated. The name may come from the ingredient canelle (Santich private communication, Scully), from its camel colour (Scully 1986), or from a herb (cameline) that may have formerly been an ingredient (OED, Sass 1975).
canelle Cassia (canelle, fleur de canelle, and cynamome appear in Le Viandier. 'Cassia buds' were used in the Middle Ages (Grieve), so I think the identification is easy. Rosengarten similarly identifies canelle with 'cassia', and cynamome with 'cinnamon'.).
carreletz Small plaice. See also pleiz.
cerf Red deer. See also chevrel.
cervoison Deer hunting season (Pichon et al., Huguet. Scully (1988) suggests 'young stags'.).
chair Meat (the literal meaning is 'flesh', but this would be less natural for the modern reader).
charpie Shreds (from charpir, meaning 'to shred').
chaudumel Chowder (OED).
chaudun Intestine (Pichon et al., Montagne).
chevesneau Chub (fish) (Montagne, OED).
chevrel Roe deer. See also cerf.
ciboule Scallion (OED).
citail Turmeric (Pichon et al., Grieve, OED).
cive Ragout or stew (derived from a word meaning 'onion' (Plouvier)).
cochu Quiche (a conjecture guided by Montagne and OED).
colz Tails (of crayfish) (from cul meaning 'bottom').
comminee Cumin dish (Pichon et al.).
compettement Appropriately, sufficiently (Huguet).
convy Banquet (Pichon et al., Godefroy).
coq Costmary (Pichon et al., Grieve).
couleiz Mash (from context. Even the bones in these dishes are pounded up. OED under 'cullis'.).
couler To sieve (Pichon et al. OED under 'colander', and Sass (1975) "cole the broth thurgh a cloth".).
crespe Crisp (this is the literal meaning, and accurately describes the dish. A translation as the modern 'crepe' or 'pancake' would be misleading. I apologize to all those for whom 'crisp' means what is called in North America the 'potato chip'.).
cresson Watercress (Montagne says that watercress is the cress most commonly used in cooking).
cretonnee Cretone (not further translated) (OED).
cynamome Cinnamon (see the English Glossary under 'cassia').
daintiers Testicles of the red deer (but can mean all of the dainty bits) (Pichon et al., Godefroy).
dalle Steak (of fish) (Montagne under darne).
dariole Pie crust (from context, and OED).
deffaire To sprinkle (something dry) (from context, where the meaning of 'moisten' does not fit).
deffaire de To steep in (seems the most accurate sense of this word for the manuscript. The literal meaning is 'undo'. Pichon et al. suggest 'thin down' or 'wet', and others such as Hieatt et al., Power, and Scully have made choices like 'moisten' and 'dilute'.).
demourer To linger (OED).
denree A denier's worth of the indicated ingredient (Trésor, von Wartburg).
destremper de To soak with (from context).
doree John Dory (fish) (OED).
dorer To gild, to glaze, to coat, to brown.
droiz Giblets (OED. The literal meaning is 'rights'.).
eaue grasse Stock (of some meat) (literally 'fatty water').
eaue rose Dew water (a free translation based on context. A more literal translation as 'rose water' would be misleading, as the recipe contains no rose water.).
engoulle Decorated (Godefroy. Power has 'savoury'.).
entremetz Subtlety (OED. The literal meaning is 'between courses'.).
eschaude Hot water pastry (Montagne).
eschauder To scald.
eschine Chine (cut of meat) (Montagne).
eslisier To pick over.
espic Spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia) (OED. Others suggest 'spikenard' (Nardostachys jatamansi), but I think this less likely. For that there was a separate word, spicanarde.).
estamine Cheesecloth (Godefroy. It is just possible that this word might have two meanings, 'cheesecloth' and 'metal sieve'. English cook books of this date frequently mention a strainer in similar contexts. In Le Viandier the contexts that indicate which is meant all unambiguously imply a cloth, so that is the translation that I have used throughout. Godefroy mentions a sieve of silk for flour. Tobler mentions straining through "cloth, towel or cheesecloth". Hartley mentions sieves made of horsehair stretched over hoops.).
faulx grenon A kind of stew (not further translated) (Godefroy. Literally 'mock grenon'. OED under 'gravy' suggests 'gravy bastard'.). See also grane.
fichier To fix, to attach.
fiens Dung (OED under 'fiants').
filler To thread in (eggs into hot liquid) (from context).
fleur Flower; fine flour.
flez Flounder (fish) (OED).
fons Bottom (of a pot).
franc meurier Wild mulberry.
frase Mesentery (Montagne).
frian Epicure (OED).
fricture Fried fish.
frioler To brown (by frying) (Pichon et al.).
fromage de gain Harvest cheese.
fuccus Fry (a conjecture guided by OED. Spelt fruites in other recipes. Pichon et al. could not identify this fish. There is an edible seaweed called 'fucus', and a goatfish (Phycis furcatus). Scully (1988) suggests phoque meaning 'seal'.).
gardon Roach (fish).
gaymel Gudgeon (fish) (OED, Baldinger).
geline Young female chicken.
georgie Not translated. Power has 'garnished'.
gourneau Red (?) gurnard (fish) (Montagne, OED. The species of gurnard is not certain.). See also grimondin.
grain Meat (Pichon et al. The literal meaning is 'solid matter'.).
grane Ragout (from context and Godefroy. The medieval English spelling was 'grave' (OED under 'gravy'). Scully has 'gravy', but this is misleading as it is not a modern gravy.).
grappois Grampus (marine mammal) (OED).
gras Ropy (of wine) (Montagne. The literal meaning is 'greasy'.).
grimondin Grey (?) gurnard (fish) (Montagne, OED. The species of gurnard is not certain.). See also gourneau.
guede Woad (a dye) (Grieve).
haller To brown (on a grill).
hannon Scallop (Pichon et al. Brereton et al. and Scully suggest 'cockle', and Montagne says that in Picardy cockles are called henons. However, the actual recipe calls for frying (as in modern recipes for scallops) rather than boiling (as in modern recipes for cockles). The cockle shell and the scallop shell are quite similar in appearance, and the same name in different localities for different shellfish is quite possible.).
haulte gresse Fatted (of an animal) (conjectured from context).
hericoc Haricot (not further translated) (OED. Plouvier suggests that it is derived from a word meaning 'cut into bits'.).
hettoudeau Young male chicken (prior to becoming a capon) (Flandrin et al.).
hochepot Hotchpotch (OED).
hostie Wafer (Godefroy).
jours masles Meat days (Santich private communication, Scully 1988. The literal meaning is 'butchering days'.).
laictue Lettuce (a pastry) (not further translated). See also oreillette.
lamproyon Small lamprey (OED under 'lamprel').
lart Pork fat (Montagne). See also sain de lart.
limon The slimy protective coating on fish (Scully 1988).
lores The most obvious guess would be 'bay leaf', but this already appears in the list of spices. Pichon et al. could not identify it. Lores is not actually used in any recipe in Le Viandier. One possibility is laurin, meaning 'wild thyme' (Godefroy, Montagne, Grieve). Another possibility is luce, short for fleur de luce, meaning 'orris root' (Grieve). An early English spelling for orris root is 'ireos' or 'yreos' (OED), so perhaps a mis-writing is involved.
lorez Lorey (not further translated) (OED. Elsewhere spelt lorais.).
luz Large or fully-grown pike (Pichon et al., OED).
mangonneau Mangonel. See the English Glossary.
marc Residue (Montagne).
mastic Mastic thyme (Thymus mastichina) (Scully and Brereton et al. suggest the resin 'mastic' (Pistachia lentiscus), and Scully suggests a mis-writing of macis meaning 'mace'.).
mauvil Thrush (OED under 'mavis').
meinuise Minnows (fish) (OED, Stone et al.).
menue haste Spleen or other offal (The literal meaning is 'small roast (on a spit)'. Le Menagier de Paris explicitly identified it as the spleen (Tobler). OED under 'haslet', Montagne under hatereau, and von Wartburg identify it variously as the loin, liver, lungs, spleen, kidneys, tripe or other innards of pork.).
merluz Stockfish (originally dried hake, that is, the sea pike or mer-luz) (OED, Montagne).
mesche Mecca (for Mecca ginger) (Pichon et al. were unable to identify this. The Encyclopedia Britannica, Grieve, Rosengarten, OED and many other books were unable to shed additional light. Godefroy mentioned "gengenbre de Mech" (1401) and "gigiembras Alixandrin" (1377). A common alternate spelling of mesche at the time would have been mesque, which is close to the modern Mecque, meaning 'Mecca'. Power translates it as 'string ginger', but this is surely wrong. Labarge, presumably misled by Power, gets it almost right in "there was also a superior variety which was sold in the market of Mecca and came to Europe by way of Alexandria ... that from Mecca was 'string' ginger ... the Goodman felt that Mecca ginger was far superior to the other". Von Wartburg correctly identifies it as "ginger coming from the merchants of Mecca". I should have started with von Wartburg.).
missier To chop or slice (Pichon et al., OED).
mistion Mixture (Huguet).
moruau Codling (fish) (from context and morue meaning 'cod'. Godefroy.).
mote Motte. See the English Glossary.
moyeu Yolk (of egg).
mugue Musky (of wine) (OED).
mulet Grey mullet (fish) (Montagne).
nourroys Norse (OED).
orcanet Alkanets (Grieve).
oreille Gill (of fish).
oreillette Small ear (a pastry) (not further translated) (Godefroy, Montagne under roussette). See also laictue.
paelle Pan (frying pan or saucepan).
par devers On (from context, although Godefroy suggests 'towards').
parmerienne Parma (the Italian city) (the more usual translation of 'Parmesan' would mislead by suggesting the cheese).
pignolet Pine nut paste (Pichon et al. Huguet suggests pine nut kernels.).
pinperneau A small kind of eel (Pichon et al., OED under 'pimpernol').
pique Soured (of wine) (Montagne).
pleiz Plaice (fish) (OED). See also carreletz.
pommeau Quenelle (a dumpling of forcemeat (stuffing)) (from context and Montagne).
poree Greens (from context and Power).
pot d'Espaigne Spanish pot (OED under 'potew').
potaige Pottage (OED).
poucin Chick (Montagne).
poullet Pullet (Montagne).
pourcel Piglet (in the recipe "Soux de pourcel") (Scully 1988, Tobler. A mis-writing for persil meaning 'parsley' is possible, since the recipe as it appears mentions parsley but not piglet.).
se prendre To set (of jelly).
prins Set (of jelly).
purer To drain (from context. The literal meaning is 'purify' or 'strain', but it is clear in these contexts that it is the solid matter that is important. This is not conveyed by 'strain', so I have translated it as 'drain'.).
rappe Grape dish, grape sauce (a conjecture, from the ingredients, and from rape, meaning 'grape stalk' and possibly 'grapes' (OED). The recipes in Le Viandier do not match the usual suggested translation of 'grated dish' (OED). Scully (1988) suggests that the grapes are mashed, but this seems unlikely.).
ratiz Mesentery (Guilbert).
reffaire To refresh (meat) (from context).
reprendre To spread out (in context).
ressuyer To dry again.
se retraire To shrivel, to shrink.
ribelete Cracklings (a conjecture from context, guided by Rombauer et al., Montagne under rillettes, and OED under 'greaves').
rossaille Rudd (fish) (OED under 'red-eye', discovered by analogy with setaille meaning 'seven-eye').
rouget Red mullet (fish) (Montagne).
roussir To brown (by frying).
sade Solid (OED, Grandsaignes. Not 'agreeable' as Pichon et al. and Godefroy suggest.).
sain de lart Lard (Montagne). See also lart.
salmonde Avens (Pichon et al., Montagne, Grieve).
sancte Not translated. Pichon et al. could not identify this fish. The literal meaning is 'holy' or 'saint'. The John Dory is called also the Saint Peter fish (Scully 1988, OED, Montagne).
setaille River lamprey (Pichon et al., Godefroy, Montagne, OED under 'seven-eye' and under 'lampern').
souffrire To fry lightly (from modern Italian soffriggere. Pichon et al. quote Le Menagier as specifying that frire meant frying in an iron pan, and souffrire meant frying in a pot. Sabban rejects Le Menagier's explanation, and notes that it is always used as a pre-cooking step preparatory to the final cooking.).
soustil Subtle (OED).
soux Souse (a pickling mixture) (OED).
sur Rather (as in "sur jaune" and "sur le jaune" meaning "rather yellow") (from context, and by analogy with "Mectes dedans du succre et non pas tant qu'il oste le gust du verjust, car il ne doibt pas estre sur le doulx" meaning "Add some sugar and not so much that it removes the taste of the verjuice, for it should not be overly sweet" quoted from Chiquart by Scully (1988)).
surmontain Bastard lovage (Godefroy, OED).
taille Not translated. The word as it appears means 'sliced'. The recipe itself is for meat days, the next recipe is for fish days, and the one after that is for Lent ("Lenten slices"). Scully reads this word as tuille meaning 'tile-coloured' or 'tiled' (from the colour or overlapped appearance of analogous dishes). On the other hand, the table of contents entry for the recipe "Slices" is mis-written as tuilleiz. OED under 'tailye'.
se tenir To hold together.
tostee Toast (OED).
tourne To curdle (in some contexts).
troussant Stiff (of sauce) (Pichon et al., but I am not entirely convinced).
vendoise Dace (a fish) (OED).
verjus en grain Verjuice grapes (whole) (from context, and Flandrin et al.).
vertgay Bright green (the literal meaning is 'gay green', referring to a mixture of green herbs and saffron used to colour a dish. Also 'yellowish green' or 'clear green' (von Wartburg).).
vertocher To tap the bung in (a conjecture from context, from comparison with the remedies for wines in Montagne, and possibly from verge, cognate with Spanish vara (rod), and toquer (to rap or tap). OED under 'verement' has c. 1440 "Buschement, or verement". This implies that busche and vere mean the same. Bouchement is the action of corking. Bouchon means 'bung'. In addition, verrou means 'bolt' or 'stopper'. Godefroy suggests 'make a barrel ready for serving' and cites a passage dated 1387. Pichon et al. don't think that fits but confess themselves unable to give any satisfactory explanation.).
viande Food (not just meat) (OED).
viandier Food provider (cook or host) (OED. King Richard II of England was referred to in 1390 as "the best and royallest viander of all Christian kings" (Sass 1975). It might instead mean 'a collection of foods', 'a recipe book' (Cornell et al. private communication).).
vinaigrete Vinegar dish.
yssues Pluck (Montagne).
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