Early Modern Culinary Texts (1500-1700)

Wel ende edelike spijse (Dutch, c. 1500)    MS UB Ghent 1035, containing 62 culinary recipes written in one hand, edited in 1872 by C. A. Serrure under the title Keukenboek, uitgegeven naar een handschrift der vijftiende eeuw.  Click here for a modern English translation by Christianne Muusers, who also provides the original text and a translation into modern Dutch.  The text begins: “Desen bouc leert wel ende edelike spijse te bereedene tetene also als hier naer volcht” (“This book teaches [one] to prepare good and noble food to be eaten, as follows”). Click here for a searchable index to this translation.  Click here for a photograph of recipe 12 on folio 3r of the manuscript.

Kuchenmeisterey (German, 16th cent.)  Scanned images of a manuscript copy (Universitätsbibliothek Innsbruck, UB-HB-S Cod. 671, 104 folios) of a cookery text first printed in the late 15th century.

Le Platine en francoys (French, 1505)  Scanned photographs of the early French version of the Latin De honesta voluptate, compiled by Bartolomeo Sacchi (“Battista Platina”) about 1470, and first printed at Rome in 1473.  Sacchi took most of his recipes from the Libro de arte coquinaria (c. late 1450s), by the celebrated chef Martino Rossi (“Maestro Martino;” see above).

The Boke of Kervynge (English, 1508)  Treatise, printed by Wynkyn de Worde, on carving and serving food, with recipes for hippocras and sauces, seasonçal menus, and the duties of various servants.

Een notabel boecxken van cokeryen (Dutch, c. 1514)   The first printed cookbook in Dutch, published in Brussels by Thomas vander Noot (c. 1475-1525), and reprinted in a facsimile edition in 1925.  A partial English translation is provided.   Click here for another copy, in Dutch only, made available by  Marleen van der Molen-Willebrands from the edition that she and Ria Jansen-Sieben published in 1994.

Von Speisen, natuerlichen und kreuter Wein, aller verstand (German, 1531)  English translation by Alia Atlas, from the edition printed in the Reihe Klassische Kochkunst, vol. 7 (1984).

A Propre new booke of Cokery, 1545 (English, 1545). The complete title is: A PROPRE new booke of Cokery / declaryng what maner of meates bee best in ceason for all tymes of þe yere and how thei ought to bee dressed and serued at the table bothe for flessh daies and fisshe daies with a newe addicion / veri necessarye for all them that delighteth in cokery (London:Richard Lant and Richarde Bankes, 1545). There is a copy of this edition in the Hunterian Library at the University of Glasgow.  See below for the edition of 1557-8.

Das Kochbuch der Philippine Welser (German, 1545)   The earliest cookbook known to have been written by a woman?  Photograph of one of the 245 recipes copied by the 18-year-old daughter of a patrician Augsburg family, perhaps as an educational exercise or as a gift for her mother.  Philippine Welser (1527-80) subsequently married the Archduke Ferdinand II of Bavaria.  (Scroll down to photograph of MS, which is just above a contemporary portrait of Philippine Welser.)  From the edition by Gerold Hayer (1983).

Das Kochbuch von Sabina Welserin (German, 1553)  English translation by Valoise Armstrong (1998). Click here for the original German text from the edition of Hugo Stopp (1980). Click here for a searchable index of this collection.

Augspurger Kochbuoch (German, c. 1554)  Edition published in Augsburg in 1886 of a recipe collection described as belonging to “Junckfraw Maria Stenglerin” in 1554.

Hans Dernschwam, Description of  food and foodways in Turkey (German, 1553-5)  From the diary kept by Dernschwam (1494-1568), a Bohemian scholar and agent of the Fuggers in Transylvania, of a trip to Constantinople and Asia Minor. Edited by Franz Babinger in Studien zur Fugger-Geschichte, 7 (München/Leipzig, 1923), 123-131.

Jacobus Bifrons [Jachiam Bifrun], Epistola de caseis et operibus lactariis et modo quo in Rhæticis regionibus et alpibus parantur (Latin, 1556) Letter to Conrad Gesner about cheesemaking and dairy products in Switzerland.  From Jodocus Willich, Ars magirica hoc est, coquinaria, de cibariis, ferculis opsonijs, alimentis & potibus diuersis parandis, eorumque facultatibus (Zürich 1563), 220-227.

Michel Nostradamus, “La façon & maniere de faire toutes confitures” (French, 1555)  Scanned photographs of the second part of a volume of recipes attributed to the celebrated physician and astrologer.  The volume itself is titled Excellent & moult utile Opuscule à touts necessaire, qui desirent auoir cognoissance  de plusieurs exquises Receptes, diuisé en deux parties.  (The first part of the volume, not scanned here, contains cosmetic recipes.)

A Proper newe Booke of Cokerye (English, c. 1557-8)  Early English printed cookbook that discusses seasonal foods and provides suggested menus and recipes.   Edited by Catherine Frances Frere (1913), from a unique copy in the Parker Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, printed in London by John Kynge and Thomas Marche (undated, but probably c. 1557-8).  See above for an earlier edition of 1545. Click here for a searchable index to this collection.

Koch vnd Kellermeisterey (German, 1566)  Edited from the early printed text by Christian Heuer and Thomas Gloning.

Bartolomeo Scappi, Opera (Italian, 1570)  Scappi was privy cook to Pope Pius V.  This is a scanned version of Scappi’s cookbook, from the Getty Research Institute.  Click here for a banquet menu from Scappi’s work, taken from L’arte della cucina in Italia, ed. Emilio Faccioli (1987).  Click here for another scanned version of the edition of 1570, and for editions of 1605, 1610, and 1622.

William Harrison, Description of England (English, 1577): “Of the food and diet of the English”   Harrison describes the food, drink, and meals of his day.

Marx Rumpolt, Ein New Kochbuch (German, 1581)   Transcription and English translation by M. Grasse.  Click here for selections from the original German text.

Manual de mujeres en el cual se contienen muchas y diversas recetas muy buenas (Spanish, 16th cent.)  Contains both culinary and household recipes.  Click here for an  English translation (in progress).

A.W., A Book of Cookrye (English, 1591)  Originally published in 1584, “now newlye enlarged with the serving in of the Table.” Transcribed by Mark and Jane Waks from STC 24897 — Early English Text microfilms, reel 1613:9.

Carolus Battus (or Carel Baten), Cocboeck (Dutch, 1593)  The first edition, by a physician of Dordrecht, and transcribed here by Marleen van der Molen-Willebrands.   The full title reads:  Eenen seer schoonen, ende excellenten Cocboeck, inhoudende alderleye wel gheëxperimenteerde cokagien van ghebraedt, ghesoden, pasteyen, taerten, toerten, vlaeyen, saussen, sopen ende diergelijcke. Oock diversche confeytueren ende drancken, etc. An important source for De verstandige kock(1669; see below for link).

The good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin (English, 1594)  Digital version by Thomas Gloning of this anonymous text.  In progress.  See also the digital text and notes by Sam Wallace.

Thomas Dawson, The Good Huswifes Jewell (English, 1596)  Extracts from the third edition of Dawson’s book, transcribed by Kirrily Robert.  The full title reads:  The Good Huswifes Jewell.  Wherein is to be found most excellent and rare Devises for conceites in Cookery, found out by the practise of Thomas Dawson.  Whereunto is adjoyned sundry approved receits for many soveraine oyles, and the way to distill many precious waters, with divers approved medicines for many diseases. Also certain approved points of husbandry, very necessary for all Husbandmen to know.  Newly set foorth with additions. 1596. Imprinted at London for Edward White dwelling at the little North doore of Paules at the signe of the Gun.  Click here for a searchable index of this collection.

Anna Wecker, Ein Köstlich new Kochbuch, Teil 4: Von allerhand Fisch/ Su:eltzen vnd So:essen (German, 1598)  Anna Wecker was the widow of Johann Jacob Wecker (1528-86), a well-known physician, author, and translator of Basel.  Her cookbook emphasizes food for the sick and invalids; this extract contains recipes for seafood.  Click here for digitized photos of the original volume; click here for the illustrated title page.

 Fons Grewe (Italian, Latin, French, English, Spanish, and Dutch, 16th-18th cent.)   Rudolf Grewe’s collection of 38 early modern printed cookbooks and related texts, scanned by the Biblioteca de la Universitat de Barcelona.  (The instructions are in Catalan.  To page through a volume, enter the desired page number and click on anar_a.  To go forward one page, click on endavant.  To go back one page, click on enrera.  To go to the beginning of the volume, click on inici.)

Romanian manuscript cookbook (Romanian, 17th cent.)  This is a modern English translation made in 2003 by Patrick Levesque of a manuscript cookbook called “The Book where I write dishes of fish, crayfish, oysters, snails, vegetables, salads and other dishes for fast and non-fast days. In their serving order.”  It includes recipes for fish, vegetables, meat, eggs, fruits, sauces, salads, wines, vodka, cordials, preserves, rose water, ink, metal cleaners and polishes, and gunpowder.  This recipe collection was published by the Romanian Cultural Foundation Editions as the second half of a book titled O lume intr-o carte de bucate: Manuscris din epoca brancoveneasca (ISBN 9735770903).

Lancelot de Casteau, Ouverture de Cuisine (French, 1604)  Casteau, who served as master cook to three successive prince-bishops of Liège, included recipes attributed to the style of Hungary, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Catalonia, Lombardy, Italy, Rome, Bologna, Cremona, England, and Ireland.  From the facsimile edition of Herman Liebaers, Léo Moulin, and Jacques Kother (1983).  Click here for a modern English translation by Daniel Myers. Click here for a searchable indexto this collection.

Relatione d’alcune cose della Nuova Spagna (1529?/ Italian, 1606)  Description of the food and drink of Mexico,  by an anonymous gentleman who had served with Cortez.   From G.B. Ramusio, Delle Navigationi et Viaggi, volume terzo (Venetia, 1606).

Domingo Hernandez de Maceras, Libro de Cozina (Spanish, 1607)  The author describes himself as cook (cozinero) in the Collegio Mayor de Orviedo in the city of Salamanca, where this volume was published.  Front matter plus 21 pages of text are available in scanned images from a copy of this early printed book at the University of Chicago’s Regenstein Library.

Hugh Plat, Delightes for Ladies (English, 1609)  Miscellaneous excerpts from Plat’s collection of culinary and household recipes, especially for preserves, pastry, sweetmeats, and toiletries, transcribed by Kirrily Robert.  Click here for a searchable index of this collection.

John Murrell, A New Booke of Cookerie; London Cookerie (English, 1615)  The full title reads:  A Nevv Booke  of Cookerie. VVherein is set forth the newest and most commendable Fashion for Dressing or Sowcing, eyther  Flesh, Fish, or Fowle. Together with making of all sorts of Iellyes, and other made-Dishes for seruice; both to  beautifie and adorne eyther Nobleman or Gentlemans Table. Hereunto also is added the most exquisite London  Cookerie. All set forth according to the now, new, English and French fashion. Set forth by the obseruation of  a Traueller.  Click here for a searchable index to this collection.

Koge-Bog: Indeholdendis et hundrede fornødene stycker [etc.] (Danish, 1616)  The earliest printed Scandinavian cookbook, containing 100 recipes.  The full title reads: Koge Bog: Indeholdendis et hundrede fornødene stycker Som ere om Brygning Bagning Kogen Brændevijn oc Miød at berede saare nytteligt vdi Husz holdning &c. Click here for the same text with an accompanying  modern English translation by Maggie Forest.

John Taylor, anecdote on recipe-collecting, from Taylor’s Feast (English, 1638)  Humorous account of a lawyer who so enjoyed a dish (a “fool”) at supper that he requested the recipe, “that his Wife might put it in her booke of Cookery.”

Ambigu (table spread with a cold buffet, English, 1698?)  Photograph of a reconstruction of an Ambigu, a cold buffet containing a mixture of savory and sweet dishes and fruits,  popular in 17th-century France and England.

Sir Kenelm Digby, The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie Kt Opened (English, 1669)  The complete title reads: The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie Kt Opened: Whereby is Discovered Several ways for making of Metheglin, Sider, Cherry-Wine, &c. together with Excellent Directions for Cookery: As also for Preserving,Conserving, Candying, &c.  Excerpts from Digby’s collection of recipes for various drinks.

De verstandige kock of sorghvuldige huyshoudster (Dutch, 1669)  The only cookbook published in Dutch in the Netherlands (Amsterdam: Marcus Doornick) during the 17th century, transcribed here by Marleen van der Molen-Willebrands.

Gervase Markham, The English Huswife (English, 1615; 9th edition, 1683)  Excerpts from the ninth edition of Markham’s book (originally published in 1615), transcribed by Kirrily Roberts.  This transcription was formerly available athttp://infotrope.net/sca/texts/english-housewife/, but now is available at the Foods of England website (above), and also via the Internet Archive.

Hannah Woolley, The Gentlewoman’s Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex (English, 1675)   Begins with chapters on the education and deportment of women, and follows with culinary recipes, medicinal recipes, advice to servants, model letters, and witty dialogues.

Ein Koch- Und Artzney-Buch (German, 1686)  Austria’s earliest printed cookbook; 118 pages.

Dorothy Petre, manuscript cookbook (English, 1705)  Photographs of the MS and its recipe pages, from the University of Pennsylvania Library.