A NOBLE BOOK OF COOKERY: For a Princely Household or any other Stately Household

A Manuscript from the 15th Century

Editor’s Introduction

“A Noble Boke off Cookry” or “A Noble Book of Cookery” is a fascinating
manuscript giving a record of the culinary practices of England During the rule of
Edward the IV in the 1400s and is believed to have been written at this time.
Though many of the recipes in this manuscript are similar to recipes from an
earlier French cookbook “Form of Cury [Cookery]” and other French recipes from
this time.
The book was later printed and is believed to be the first cookbook printed in
English. It was published under the name “The Boke of Cokery” or “This Is the
Boke of Cokery”, in the 1500s, by Richard Pynson. It stayed in print for many
years, but it slowly declined until the 1700s, when it was all but forgotten.
There is only one known surviving copy of the book, a 1500s copy, which is
owned by the Marquess of Bath. There was however a reprinting of the book in
1882, by Elliot Stock in London, which gained some popularity.
For this work, I have taken selections from the 1882 reprinting which, I feel, gives a
good representation of the work, and provide a good historical reflection of the
times. I have sought to translate most of the Middle English spellings into modern
English, and to provide an explication in brackets for some Middle English names
and terms. Though, due to limited resources and a lack of knowledge in some
areas, my “translations” are incomplete.

Meg Ballard Mount Liberty College 2022

An excerpt written in July – December 1881 edition of “The Antiquary” magazine talking about “A Noble Book of Cookery”

“AMONGST the beautiful and rare manuscripts which enrich the Holkham
collection is a small volume, which, from the curious nature of its contents, may
well claim the attention of the antiquary. This “Noble Boke of Cookery,” consists
of about eighty leaves, written very neatly and clearly in black ink still of a good
color, with headings and ornamentation in red. The paper has here and there
suffered from damp, but is on the whole in excellent preservation. …
Indeed, we feel satisfied that many of the recipes are excellent. The principles of
good cookery were the same then as now, but the kitchens of those days were sadly
deficient in appliances, and the cooks had but a few “powders” and “herbs”
wherewith to flavor their dishes. The enormous quantities of eggs and almonds
used in these recipes are surprising, while we see that every fish that swims, and
every bird that flies (many of which are now extinct in England) were put in
requisition. … Some dishes were evidently great favorites, as, for instance, one
recipe is headed thus – ‘Pike and eels in bullock broth that must our dame have, or
else she will be wroth.’”

The introduction to the 1882 edition of “A Noble book of Cookery”

“MAN has been defined as “the cooking animal,” and in these days of
universal investigation, when every principle is traced back to its
source and every custom to its origin, it will hardly be thought
unworthy to give a few moments from graver studies to a “Noble
book of Cookery” written four hundred years ago.

Perhaps, indeed, our first reflection on turning over its pages will be that there is
nothing new under the sun, for here are the same birds, beasts, and fishes, the same
courses, and even the same names of various dishes, that we find in a modern
cookery book. We see too with pleasure that the same principles and the same care
were recognized as necessary for good cookery in the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries as in the nineteenth. “Clean vessels,” “fair water,” “look ye well to it,”
and “boil it softly” were then, as now, the first and most important of culinary
principles. But on closer examination much will be found to surprise and amuse
the curious reader.
Who would have guessed that the most highly civilized of modern game pies is
only an improved and ornamented “coffin,” while the pastry of our most delicate
fruit tart owes its origin to the desire of our ancestors to “counterfeit” the
substantial “coffin” in which “chickens,” “pertouches” [a bird] and “Phesants”
were once consigned to the oven with something admissible on “fish days?” Who
would have guessed that a precedent for the use of mint sauce may be found as far
back as the “aigre-douce” [sweet and sour sauce] of the time of King Edward the
First? or that the germ of the dainty “fricondelles” [or frikandel, a minced-meat
sausage] of our day may be found in “beef or muton hewed in small gobbettes
[pieces] and couched in a good batter”?
But while the names of the dishes are similar to our own, there is, happily for us, a
vast difference in the preparation and ingredients; for instance, the names “custard”
and “blanche-mange” have come down to us with little alteration, but the
resemblance between the old dishes and ours is but slight. Our custards are free
from “fresh pork minced small,” and our blanc mange is innocent of “lamprey or
other fish.”
The cook’s difficulties in those days must have been great. It was, no doubt, very
good thing that people who breakfasted, dined, and supped so heavily one day,

should have their fare slightly diminished on the next; but still it must have been no
easy matter to satisfy mere hunger with a repast from which all meat was banished,
and in which even the eggs were “counterfeit.” This ever-recurring necessity
fostered great ingenuity in the art of imitation, an art which was even resorted to,
apparently, for the mere pleasure of a deception, that we can hardly imagine ever
to have been successful. Thus our MS [manuscript] gives a recipe for making “two
capons [a castrated male chicken] of one” with elaborate directions how to take off
and stuff the skin of the fowl to make number one, while the body without the skin
figures as number two: these are directed to be “roasted both to gadure,” but
perhaps the stuffed skin was reserved for a fifth day, or if served on the same dish
with the veritable fowl, here would be a fine opportunity for making the distinction
which was the polite usage of those days. A pike, for instance, was to be served
whole to “a lord,” but cut up in pieces for the “commonalte [community].”
Cabbages were to be “thickened with grated bred” for common people, with yolks
of eggs “for a lord.” It must be confessed, however, that lords sometimes paid
dearly for their privileges: thus we find that instead of “a lord” being allowed to
enjoy the crackling immortalized by Charles Lamb, his “piggy [piglet],” though
‘‘served first hole to a lord” was, alas! to be “endured,” or covered with yolks of
eggs and tinsel.
It must be remembered that at the time when these recipes were written, and indeed
for a hundred years afterwards, forks were unknown in England. Those useful
articles were introduced into this country in the reign of James the First, by Tom
Coryat, the eccentric traveler, who thus describes his discovery of their use in Italy:
— ‘I observed a custom in all those Italian cities and towns through which I
passed, that is not used in any other country that I saw in my travels, neither do I
think that any other nation of Christendom doth use it, but only Italy. The Italian
and also most strangers commorant [living] in Italy, do always at their meals use a
little fork, when they cut their meat….
This form of feeding I understand is generally used in all places in Italy, their forks
being for the most part made of iron or steel and some of silver, but those are used
only by gentlemen: The reason of this their curiosity is, because the Italian cannot
by any means endure to have his dish touched with fingers, seeing all men’s
fingers are not alike clean. Hereupon I myself thought good to imitate the Italian
fashion by this forked cutting of meat, not only while I was in Italy, but also in
Germany, and oftentimes in England since I came home.’ But notwithstanding
their comfort and utility, forks were not generally used for some time. Thus we

find a few years later Fynes Moryson in his travels advising the travelled
Englishman, ‘that he returning home, lay aside the spoon and fork of Italy, the
affected gestures of France, and all strange apparel, yea even those manners which
with good judgement he allows, if they be disagreeable to his countrymen.’
Without the help of forks it was no wonder that carving was a very serious
business, requiring such minute directions that one of the earliest books printed
(1508) was Wynken de Worde’s “Book of Kerving [Carving]” But though thus
wanting in the most necessary of appliances, there was no lack of splendor at their
feasts. The peacock with his fine plumage carefully displayed made a brilliant
figure on tables set out with gold and silver vessels, and armorial devices, and
adorned with the wondrous “futtletes” in pastry and sugar, without which no feast
or banquet was thought complete. Our MS describes the antelopes, the swans,
cygnets [young swans], and eagles, each with “a scripture in her bill” that graced
the “crownacon [coronation]” feast of King Henry the Fifth, and the still more
ambitious composition that ornamented the table at the ‘Installing of Clifford
Bishop of London,’ when a castle was set in the midst of a custard filled with jelly
in which was a demon bringing a doctor in a pulpit in clothing of green tabard and
hood bearing a pious inscription in Latin. The dishes also are sometimes directed
to be planted in “violets, primroses” or “flowers of borage,” and a certain dish of
stewed apples was to be ornamented with “flowers of the same tree;” a proof that,
at any rate, they had good keeping apples in those days.
This “Noble Book of’ Cookery” must have been written out after Neville’s feast
(1467), but in all probability very shortly afterwards — the handwriting, indeed,
would, but for the mention of this feast, point to an earlier date. The recipes,
however, were doubtless transcribed from originals long before composed; many
of them have similar names, and in substance more or less resemble the recipes in
the ‘‘Form of Cury,” compiled about 1390, by the master cooks of King Richard
II., who is described therein as the “best and realest viander [host] of all Christian
Kings.” But they may be traced still further back. The late Mr. Horwood
discovered among some law papers in his possession, some pages of recipes
written in the same hand and evidently of the same date. These are written in
French, but several of them have the same names, and are substantially the same
recipes, as those in our manuscript, while others are more elaborate and perhaps
more elegant. One or two of these may be given here as specimens: — French

“A quire char faunz fu.
“ Ici enfeigne coment len quira char faunz fu
“ Pernez un petite pot de terre e lacouverture de meimes la terre, e ke il feit lee cum
le pot eft, e puys pernez un autre pot ke feit fet demevmes la terre cum lautre, e la
couverture cum lautre e ke il ioyngnent bien au potz, e ke le pot feit plus profund
ke lautre de cync deis e environ de treis, e puys pernez char de pore e de gelynes, e
puys feftes couper en bon mofleus, e pernez bons efpeces e metez de denz e du fel,
e pernez le petit pot en ki la char eft, e le mettez en le graunt pot, e fi metez de bon
cel, fi le couerrez od la cou- verture, e eftopez le de moille terre tenaunte ke nule
chofe ne puffe iffer ; puys pernez de chairz nient efteynt, fi metez en le graunt pot
ewe tut pleyn, mais gardez ke nule ewe ne entre en le petit pot ; fi laiffez eftre en
pees cine lynee de veie ou fet, e puys ouverez vos potz, e fi trouverez voftre
viaunde bien e bel quyt.”
“ Rosee.
“ Un autre viande kad anonu Rofee. Pernez une povne de foilles des Rofes ou deus,
e feftes bien braer, e diftemprez ove let des alemaundes ou de vache, a pus pernez e
liez bien efpes de payn de waftel e des oefs, e colourer le de feffran, e jettez une
foille de fus ou deus e de fucre, e pus endreffez.”

[The following is a partial translation of these French recipes by Gordon Jones and
others. More insight and knowledge would be appreciated.
‘To cook meat without fire.
Here (I) teach how one cooks meat without fire
Take a little earthen pot and cover (lid) of the same earth, and that it seit (be) lee
(broad?) with (as) the pot is, and then take another pot which (is) made set (of earth
the same as the other, and the cover with the other and which fits it closely to the
pot(s), and the pot be deeper than the other by five deis (length?) and about three,
and then take meat of pork and chicken, and then cut (it) in good (sized?) morsels,
and take good pieces and put some denz (inside?) and some salt, and take the little
pot in which is the meat, and put it in the large pot, and if (you) put some good salt,
cover it securely with the cover, and seal (?) it with soft earth, taking care that no
thing might/can issue (escape); then take some chairz (meat?) nient not? esteynt, if
(you) fill the large pot with water, being careful not to get any in the small pot; if

(you) leave it alone (in peace!) five lynée de veie or set (seven?) and then open
your pots, and so (you) will find your meat well and beautifully cooked.
Another meat kad (sweetmeat) anonu (is called?)
Rosee. Take a handful or two of rose petals, and festes (them?) well braer (crush),
and mix (?) ove (with?) milk of almonds or of beef (cow), and then take and bind
well espes (thick pieces?) of a loaf of bread and some eggs, and color (dye) it with
saffron, and throw (in) a foille (leaf?) of sus (juice?) or two and some sugar, and
then endressez (serve??).’]

This recipe for a dish of Roses is to be found in English in the “Form of Cury
[Cookery],” by the cooks of King Richard II., but it is not in the “Noble Book of
Cookery;” our MS however, contains several recipes like the old French, and some
almost exactly the same in name and substance. It seems evident, therefore, that all
these different collections of recipes, of which the French are the oldest, were
formed on the lines of originals much more ancient. It may be curious to note a few
recipes that appear in all the different collections.
Sauce Madame. — A sage and onion stuffing for goose stewed into sauce with
Egre-douce. — A sauce, as its name implies, sour, sweet, and piquant.
Pomes-dorre. — Minced and pounded meat mixed with eggs and savory herbs
made up into balls, first boiled and egged over and then browned before the fire.
Blank-mang. — Veal, chicken, rabbit, or other white meat stewed with rice and
milk and flavored with almonds.
Gilly or Gelee. — Meat or fish cold, and served “standing” in the jelly in which it
was boiled.
Custard — A fearful and wonderful combination of meat, eggs, and milk.
Fritters, beans and bacon, pea soup, gruel, caudle, and many other dishes have
come down to us from ancient, almost prehistoric times.
Our MS contains recipes for dinner and supper dishes only, and it may therefore be
well to note a few particulars regarding breakfasts, gathered from other sources.

In the Northumberland Household book compiled by Henry Algernon Percy, fifth
Earl of Northumberland, we find the following account of the allowance for
breakfast to the superior part of the family, from Shrovetide to Easter: —
‘Breakfast for my lord, and my lady.
First a loaf of bread in trenchers, two manchets [a loaf of the finest kind of wheat
bread], a quart of beer, a quart of wine, two pieces of saltfish, six beaconed herring
or a dish of sprouts.
Breakfast for the nursery, for my lady Margaret and master Ingram Percy.
Item a manchet [a loaf of the finest kind of wheat bread], a quart of beer, a dish of
butter, a piece of saltfish, a dish of sprouts, or three white herrings.”
On flesh days the fish was replaced by “half a cut of muton, else a cut of beef
boiled — or a chicken or else three muton bones boiled;’ and it is particularly
noted that while my lord and my lady were to breakfast only on ‘Sunday,
Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Lent, my lord’s children shall have breakfasts
every day of the week in Lent.’
Manchets were loaves made of the finest flour, but the bread eaten by the common
people in the sixteenth century was extremely coarse. Hollingshead tells us that,
‘the bread through the land is made of such grains as the soil yielded; nevertheless
the gentility commonly provide themselves sufficiently of wheat for their own
tables, whilst their household and poor neighbors, in some shires, are forced to
content themselves with rye or barley, yea and in time of death, many with bread
made of beans, pessen [the edible seed of the pea plant], or oats, or of altogether
and some acorns among’
Ale is mentioned in some of the earliest recipes known, but it is generally believed
that brewing with hops was not introduced here till the reign of Henry the Eighth.
Wines they had, both red and white, some of their own growth, some imported
from France and Greece, as well as Rhenish [any of several white wines from the
Rhine River valley in Germany] and other kinds. Ypocras [i.e. Hippocras] — a sort
of highly spiced wine — was much used, being taken as part of the last course with
wafers, or some kind of cakes. Among the ancient French recipes alluded to, is one
for making “Claree” — a spiced wine, either white or red, very similar to the

The various preparations for which recipes are given in the “Noble Book of
Cookery” were served on dishes, of which some were gold or silver, some
“counterfeit” or gilded, but the most part of pewter or wood. They were commonly
eaten from treene, i.e. wooden platters and trenchers, pewter being a luxury
reserved for special occasions, and generally hired by the year. It was not till the
time of Elizabeth that plates of metal and earthenware began to be generally used
instead of wood.
The table was covered with linen cloths, some no doubt of very fine quality ; thus
we find mention made of “Holland,” “ Napkins of Devaunt,” “ Napkins of Paris,”
“ Diaper [a type of fabric],” “Towels,” “Crescloth,” and “ Canvas,” and in the
directions given to “Anne Harris,” Laundress to King Henry the Eighth, the
tablecloths are said to be of ‘fine Diaper in Damascus work.’
Dinner was served at ten or eleven o’clock [A.M.], and supper at four or five
[P.M.]: these were long, tedious meals, and it was needful to relieve them by
music, and the songs and recitations of the bards or minstrels, who were
consequently a necessary part of the household of every nobleman until the reign
of Elizabeth. In the thirty-ninth year of her reign an Act was passed to punish
minstrels found wandering about; but long before that time they had greatly
deteriorated, and from being the companions and entertainers of kings, they had
become mere “tavern minstrels,” whose wit and music alike were of the lowest
In conclusion, we may observe that, in the matter of cookery as in every other,
when “the good old days” come to be examined at all closely, we find no reason to
regret that they have passed away forever. The study may afford amusement and
interest, but not a moment’s sorrow that barbarous magnificence and coarse
profusion have happily given way to the comfort, simplicity and refinement of
modern times.

Robina Napier.

Holkham Vicarage,
Dec., 1881.

A note on Archbishop Neville’s installation feast from the 1882 edition

“Long dinners.
Of the length of time consumed at dinners in old times the following anecdote
gives an idea: —
‘An Italian having a sute [the act of formally petitioning a person of high rank]
here in England to the Archbishop of Yorke that then was, and coming to Yorke
when one of the prebendaries there, brake his bread, as they term it, and there upon

made a solemn long diner the which perhaps began at eleven, and continued well-
nigh till four in the afternoon, at the which diner this bishop was. It fortuned that as

they were set the Italian knocked at the gate, unto whom the porter, perceiving his
errand, answered, that my lord bishop was at diner. The Italian departed, and
returned between twelve and one: the porter answered, they were yet at diner. He
came again at two of the clock, the porter told him they had not half dined. He
came at three a’clock, unto whom the porter in a hate [in anger], answered never a
word, but churlishly did shut the gates upon him. Whereupon, others told the
Italian, that there was no speaking with my lord almost all that day, for the solemn
diner sake. The gentleman Italian, wondering much at such a long siting, and
greatly grieved because he could not then speak with the Archbishop’s grace,
departed straight towards London ; and leaving the dispatch of his matters with a
dear friend of his, toke his journey towards Italie. Three years after, it happened
that an Englishman came to Rome, with whom this Italian by chance falling
acquainted, asked him if he knew the Archbishop of Yorke? the Englishman said,
he knew him right well. ‘I pray you tell me’, quoth the Italian, ‘hath that
archbishop yet dined?’’” (Pg 131-132)

A selection of feast from “A Noble Book of Cookery”


The feast of King Henry the 4th to
the heralds and French men
when they had jousted in
(Pg 2-4)

The First Course

  • Eurmente [frumenty] with venison potage
  • Viand ryalle [royal/noble] potage
  • Gross char poured potage
  • Signet [young swan] roast
  • Capon [Castrated male chicken] of high grease
  • Pheasant and lesshe lesshe [possibly milk, or thinly sliced]
  • Jasper stones of diverse colors
  • A custard

The Second Course

  • Bruet [broth or sauce for meat] sarisyn [Muslim], jelly, potage
  • Piggy [piglet], cony [rabbit], roast
  • Kid [goat] roosted
  • Chicken farced [stuffed]
  • Pigeon
  • A lesshe [slice] of braun [muscle] with Saint George’s arms [possibly an
    arm of a cross]
  • Long fritters fflampayne [flaming?]

The Third Course

  • Crème of almonds potage
  • Larks stewed
  • Venison
  • Pertuche [a bird]
  • Quails
  • Egret [heron]
  • Rabbets
  • Plovers [a bird]
  • Pomarine [a bird]
  • A lesshe [slice] of braun [muscle] with garters.

The feast of Nevell Archbishop of
York and Chancellor of England
at his Installation in York
(Pg 7-8)

First Course

  • Braun [muscle] with mustard
  • ffarmente with venison
  • hert [seal/sea-calf, or hart] powdered
  • Pheasant in brain
  • Swan roast
  • Ganetz [Duckling?]
  • Gullez
  • Capon [a castrated male chicken] of high grease
  • heron roast
  • carpet in venison
  • Pike in ereblad [an herb blend?]
  • lestie caute rialle [royal/noble]
  • ffritur [fried] bosie
  • venison bake
  • custard planted [plant or set]
  • chewetts royal with a suttellte

Second Course

  • Gilly [A spiced jelly made from broth of meat or fish; a dish consisting of
    chopped meat or fish in such a jelly;] parti [selection or variety] royal
  • viand raisins [meat raisins –mince-meat]
  • venison in brakes [plant/bush, type of ferns]
  • Peacock in trapille [drapes?]
  • Rabbit roast
  • roo reversed [dressed or decked out?]
  • lardes [bacon] of venison
  • pertuches [a bird]
  • wodcok [a robin, wren, or other small songbird;]
  • plover [shore-inhabiting birds]
  • Goodwitts [a bird]
  • red shanks [meat from a part of the leg]
  • yarowe [a plant] helps
  • knottes
  • Oxen
  • Creme in purpull
  • Slice cipirs
  • ffritur [fried] napkin
  • tarte in mold [molded]
  • chatowe diverse riall [royal] with a suttellte [dish]

Third Course

  • Bland desere
  • dates in comset
  • newts vert [a dish made with parsley for coloring]
  • Bittur [a bird] roasted
  • Curlew roasted
  • Pheasant roasted
  • Railes roast
  • Egret roast [a bird]
  • Rabbits
  • Quail
  • poums vert [a dish made with parsley for coloring]
  • Got [a digestive part?] whelpes [dog/puppies] roast
  • dotterelles [bird] roast
  • martynets [swifts] roast
  • Gret birds
  • larks roast
  • Sparrows
  • Ffreche [fresh or French] Sturgeons [fish]
  • lesshe [sliced] blaunche [jelly dish sliced or milk dish used by immersing in
  • boiling water]
  • Fried cuspe
  • Quinces [fruit from a quince tree] bake
  • rosestis florishid [roses that have bloomed]
  • chamlettes [costly fabric from the near east] with a sutteltte [dish]

A note on Archbishop Neville’s installation feast from the 1882 edition

“‘…Sixty-two cooks were employed for this fest, and the most elaborate and
minute directions were given for the service or ceremonial to be used on the
First the Usher must see that the Hall be trimmed in every point, and that the Cloth
of estate be hanged in the Hall, and that four cushions of estate be set in order upon
the Bench being of fine silk or cloth of Gold, and that the high Table be set, with
all other Boards and Cupboards (sideboards), Stools and Chairs requisite within the
Hall, and that a good fire be made.”
The cloth was then laid with the greatest formality and many genuflections,
profound ceremony being observed, especially in placing the Salt and taking the
assay [a ceremonial cup for tasting or foretasting]. This was performed by the
Sever and other officers, who tailed every dish by means of “cornets” of bread
dipped into them, and drank a few drops from all the wines poured out.
In the great Hall there seem to have been seven tables, at the first of which sat the
Archbishop, the Bishop of London, the Bishop of Durham, and the Bishop of Ely;
the Duke of Suffolk, the Earl of Oxford, and the Earl of Worcester. At the second
table sat eighteen Abbots and Priors. At the third, fifty-three Lords and Knights. At
the fourth, the Deans and Brethren of the Minster. At the fifth, the Mayors and ‘all
the Worshipful men of the said city.’ At the sixth, the Judges and twenty-fix
“learned men of law,” and at the last table, “threescore and nine worshipful
Esquires, wearing the Kings livery.” Three other chambers or halls were filled with

grandees, lords, ladies, and Bishops: and in the “low Hall,” four hundred and
twelve Gentlemen, Franklins, and Yeomen, “twice filled and served,” while many
hundred servants feasted in the Gallery. The offices of Steward, Treasurers,
Comptroller, Cupbearer, and Sewer, were filled by Earls and Barons, and Lord
Willoughby was carver. The directions given for his guidance are much too
lengthy and minute to give here in full, but a few extracts will amuse: —
“Then the Marshall with the Carver (Lord Willoughby) must go towards the high
table, and the Panter [the keeper of the pantry] to follow them, making their
obeyance first in the middle of the Hall and again before the high Dais; then the
Marshall and the Panter must stand still, and the Carver must go to the Table, and
there kneel on his knee, and then arise with a good countenance, and properly take
of the cover pane of the salt, and give it to the Panter, which must stand still . . .
then uncover your salt, and with a Cornet of Bread touch it in four parts and with
your hand make a flourish over it, and give it to the Panter to eat for thassaie
[themselves?] thereof, who goeth his way, then cleanse the table clean; . . . then the
Carver must see that the Lord have no foul trenchers, but keep them clean, or else
change them, and so see that he have a good eye and a quick hand, and not to be
over hasty: then carve the Lord of every dish a little, as they be set in by the hand
of the Sever, till the second course be ready, and so that ye have a good
countenance although anything do quail in your hands.”
“The Sever goeth to the dresser . . . and when he is ready the ministers of the
Church do sing solemnly . . . All this done, see the Lord have no foul Trenchers,
but give him clean, and see he want no Bread, and so carve on to the last dish, and
when your Tart or Marchpane [i.e. marzipan] is broken and set in, void your little
salts immediately.’
We do not know certainly the date of this feast, but it seems probable that it took
place in November or December, from the numbers of wild fowl, woodcocks, and
geese that were consumed. The mutton was no doubt from the famous ‘Cotswold
sheep,’ for we know the estimation in which they were held, from the fact … that
in 1466, King Edward concluded a treaty with the Kings of Aragon and Castile,
and gave license for “certain Cotswold sheep to be transported into the country of
Spain (as people report) which have there so multiplied and increased, that it hath
turned the commodity of England much to the Spanish profit.” (Pg 129-131)

A section of cooking directions from “A Noble Book of Cookery”

Chickens in sauce

To dight [prepare] chickens in sauce take chicken chapped for commons for a lord
take whole chickens and boil them with sweet broth of beef with a quantity of wine
and when they be ne [more or less] enough [done] take out the chickens, and beat
the yolks of 11 eggs in a mortar with Saige and parsley and alai [dilute] with good
wine and draw it through a strain put there too powder of cloves an ounce of sugar
an ounce of canelles a little vinegar and color it with saffron and salt then couch
the chickens in dishes and put the syrup in dishes upon the meat and serve it. (Pg

To make creme brulee

To make creme brulee take cow creme and yolks of eggs drawn and well beaten
that it be standing and put there too sugar and color it with saffron and salt it then
whisk it in dishes and plant there in flowers of borage and serve it. (Pg 32)

To make cold Bruet [a broth or sauce for meats] for Rabbits
To make cold bruet for rabbits take and grind raisins or dates and draw them up
with ossay put there in creme of almonds and powder of canelle a good quantity
drawn with sweet wine and with powder lombard powder of ginger vinegar and
sugar then set it on the fire and when it is at boiling take it down and put it in a
bowl then take a rabbit and boil it in good broth then take him up and unlace him
by the bake from the bones on both sides and lay them in the stew and when ye
serve them first chop them in pieces and raise the wings and legs of chickens and
carve them hole and chop the bodies and put them in the stew and serve them forth
in the manner of stew royal or egre douce [with a sour and sweet sauce]. (Pg 41-

Creme of Almonds

To make creme of almonds take blanched [(of an item of food) having been briefly
immersed in boiling water, especially in order to remove the skin or to prepare it
for further cooking.] almonds and grind them up and temper them up a curd thick
milk with fair water draw it into the pot and set it on the fire and stir it well when it
begins to rise, and ye have too much put there to a dishful of vinegar. If there be a
little put there in the lesse hille the pot and let it stand awhile then take a clean
cloth and hold it abroad between 4 men strait cast the creme there in and rube it
underneath the clothe with a ladle toward and froward with the edge of the ladle to
draw out the water then gather it together unto the middle of the clothe then bind
the corners together and hang it upon a pine and let the water run out then put it in
a bowl and temper it up with wine and brush it with a saucer as soft as ye will and
serve it. (Pg 42-43)

To make pies of Paris

To make pies of Paris take and smit fair buttes [buttocks?] of pork and buttes of
veal [calf] and put it together in a pot with fresh broth and put there too a quantity
of wine and boil it till it be enough [done] then put it in to a treene veflelle
[wooden vessel] and put there to raw yolks of eggs powder of ginger sugar salt and
minced dates and raisins of corans [raisins of Corinth, or currants] and make a
good thin piastre and make coffins and put it therein and bake it well and serve it.
(Pg 58)

To slay a swan and all manner of fowl and to dight them.

To sley a swan and all manner of fowl and to dight them, take a swan and cut him
in the roof of the mouth toward the brain of the head and let him bleed to death
then keep the blood to color the chaudron [sauce] and knit [sew] the neck and let
him dye then skald him draw him roast him and serve him with chaudron [sauce].
(Pg 60)

Quale roast

A quale take and flay him and rod him as a pertuche [a bird] and raise his leges and
his wings as a hen and no sauce but salt and serve it. (Pg 61)

Fillets of pork

To dight [prepare] fillets of pork take and rod; fillets of pork and endor them with
the same bater ye did the chickens and rod them and serve them. (Pg 67)

To make hot milk of almonds.

To make hot milk of almonds take blanched almonds and grind them and draw
them with fire water and sugar or Honey clarified [melt (butter) in order to separate
out the water and milk solids, separated, or cleaned?] then salt it and boil it and
serve it forth hot and toasted bread therein. (Pg 76)

Cold milk of almonds

To make cold milk of almonds put fair water in a pot with sugar or honey clarified
[separated or cleaned?] so that it be douce [sour and sweet] then salt it and set it on
the fire and when it is at boiling skim it and let it boil awhile then take it from the
fire and let it kele [cool] then blanche your almonds and grind them and temper
them with the same water in to a good thick milk and put it to wine that it may
have a good flavor thereof and serve it then cut bread and toast it and baste it and
toast it again that it be hard and serve them in one dish and the milk in another
dish. (Pg 76)

Canepins with bacon

To make canebyns [Dried beans which have been reconstituted then dried again in
an oven, cut small and toasted.] with bacon take and put sweet broth in a pot then
wash canebyns clean and put to none other liquor but boil them up and let them be
salt and serve them then take ribs of bacon boiled and do away the skin and lay
them in another dish and serve them as ye do furmente [a ‘potage’ made of boiled
hulled grain mixed with milk] and venison. (Pg 84)

To make buttered worts

To make buttered wortes [any plant or herb; an uncultivated grass, root, or
vegetable; also, a wild plant, herb, etc. used as food] take good herbs and pick
them and wash them and shred them and boil them in water put there to clarified
butter [melt (butter) in order to separate out the water and milk solids, separated, or
cleaned?] a good quantity and when they be boiled salt them and let none oatmeal
come therein then cut white bred thin in dishes and pour on the wort. (Pg 84-85)

Potage of whelks

To make potage of whelks [various kinds of sea snails] take and wash the whelks
in water and salt and chop them small upon a bord and seethe them in almond milk
and alai [dilute] it with amydone color it with saffron cast on powder of pepper and
cumin and serve it forth. (Pg 110)

Potage of oysters

To make potage of oysters parboil your oysters and take them up and keep the
broth then chop them small upon a bord and beat them in a mortar then put them in
their own broth again put thereto almond milk alai [dilute] it up with amydon and
minced onions worte or in milk forth it and do it to good powder and color it with
saffron and serve it. (Pg 110)

Hennes in Bruet

To make hens in Bruet [a broth or sauce for meats] sethe hens and fresh pork
together then grind pepper bread and comyne and season it and temper it with the
hens broth boil it and color it with saffron salt it and serve it. (Pg 114)

Hens in grave

To make hens in grave take hens and roast them and hew them small and fry them
then take wine or vinegar and pepper and grind it with the hens flesh and liere
[thicken] it with yolks of eggs and color it with saffron and serve it. (Pg 115)