A c1400 Feast Across the Channel
Catherine de Arc
This feast is what might have happened if a French lady married an English nobleman and hosted a dinner in around 1400. The two countries had many ties from 1066 to this time with many families owning land on both sides of the English Channel. There was some crossover between the cuisines of the two countries as evidenced by the recipes found in period cookbooks in both countries – frumenty, pepper sauce, cameline sauce, custard tarts to name some.
There are several surviving menus from this time from both countries. The Menagier de Paris is a rich source of Bourgeois menus from France. The English menus are for the higher levels of society. Menus from both kingdoms contain 2-6 courses, platters or services (the words seem interchangeable), though three seems the most common. Each course contains 6-13 items averaging about 9 per course. I decided on a three-course menu with six items per course. This is small by 1400 standards, but more manageable for modern diners.
The English menus tend to have less fish and more birds then the French, and they have the venison and frumenty at the beginning rather than the end of the meal.
This is my menu:
*Roast Beef with Pevorat – Beef with pepper gravy
*Egurdouce – Sweet and sour rabbit
*Champignons en Paste – Mushroom and cheese pasties
*Naves a la Beausse – Turnips spiced and fried
Soteltie – Sugar sculptures representing the four cardinal virtues.
*Bourbelier de Sanglier – Roast pork loin in boar’s tail sauce
*Mounchelet – lamb fricassee
*Tartes of fysshe – salmon and bream tarts
*Partes de poucins a la mode Lombarde – Lombard chicken pasties
Soteltie – Sugar sculptures representing the four peerage orders.
*Stekys of Venson with Cameline – Wine marinated venison rump steak with cinnamon gravy
*Frumenty – Wheat pudding
*Browned Vegetables – Roast carrots and parsnips
*Chykens in Hocchee – Roast chicken stuffed with grapes and garlic
*Pois en cosse – Snow peas in butter
*Wardonys in Syryp
Wafers and Hippocras to finish
It is based on the menus from Menagier de Paris with some English recipe variations.
Sources for the Recipes
There are many sources of recipes from the 14th century for both countries:
Diversa Cibaria c1325 English
God Kokery 14C English
Utilis Coquinario Late 14C English
Diversa Servisia 1381 English
Forme of Cury 1390 English (FC)
Le Viandier de Taillevant 1392 French (VT)
Menagier de Paris 1395 French (MP)
Harleian MS 279 1420 English (a little late but the theory is they were probably doing it before they wrote about it)