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A taste of the past,
This review is from: The Medieval Cook (Hardcover)
Bridget Ann Henisch has once again produced a vividly readable, entertaining recreation of the medieval past. Following her fasinating study of the medieval seasons, as portrayed in illuminated manuscripts ('The Medieval Calendar Year', Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999), she now penetrates the steamy depths of the medieval kitchen. Here, our senses are assailed by the overwhelming sounds, sights, taste and smells of that rarely visited workplace. We meet its resident Cook, tyrannising the trembling scullions or winning the affections of his (rarely her!) employers with delectable dishes for intimate suppers, fast food, family feasts or the grandest banquet.
In her meticulous research, Bridget Henisch has explored letters, journals, saints' lives, illustrated psalters - even the comic portrayal of a kitchen quarrel carved beneath a wooden misericord in Bristol Cathedral. With a final flourish she leaves us with some authentic medieval recipes which conclude, on a note of resigned realism, with the following comment on 'Farced [stuffed] chickens, coloured or glazed: They be first blown up and all the flesh within taken out, then filled with other meat, then coloured or glazed as above; but there is too much to do, it is not a work for a citizen's cook, nor even for a simple knight's; and therefore I leave it'.