You are being served a meal suitable for eating outdoors or indoors. The meal is inspired by my love for bratwurst on a bun, with mustard and optionally with sauerkraut, and by my love of huge pretzels dipped in mustard.


According to the On-line Etymology Dictionary, the word bratwurst comes from the old (12th C) High German word brato, which means lean meat, finely chopped calf or swine meat, and is related to the Proto-Germanic words bred-on- “roast flesh”. German folk etymology derives it from braten “to roast, bake, broil, grill,”[i] and the Bratwurst Museum does note that Thuringian bratwursts must be roasted or grilled, and that to fry it is a sin.[ii]

A postmedieval document in Nürnberg with the recipe for Bratwurst is dated 1595 and was long believed to be the oldest recipe. But in 2000 an archivist, Peter Unger, found a bill for sausage skins to be delivered to the monastery of the maidens in Arnstadt dating to 1404.[iii] So the Thüringer Rostbratwurst celebrated its 600th birthday in 2004. A legend says that in the 7th century Sorbish settlers entered Thüringen and caused the inhabitants to flee. On the road one of the refugees is said to have invented the Bratwurst.[iv] The problem is, that neither the bill nor the legend give any clue to the recipe. The historian Michael Kirschlager claims to have found the oldest recipe in Thüringen. Much older are the records for stalls selling Bratwürste. In 1134 a kiosk is reported in Regensburg, selling Bratwurst to the construction workers of the cathedral and of the “Steinerne Brücke” (stone bridge). In 1146 the “Wurstkuchl” (sausage kitchen) was built near the salt house directly to the city wall.[v] In the 14th century the “Bratwurstglöcklein” (Glöcklein = little bell; named after a bell hanging from the wall of the chapel) was built in Nürnberg directly to the walls of the Moritz chapel. From the beginning it was quite famous and many people, including many celebrities, ate there. Its tradition lasted till the 20th century, when it was destroyed in WW II by bombs. But the original recipe of the “Glöcklein-Bratwurst” is still used in Nürnberg.[vi]

From the Bratwurst Museum in Thuringia[vii], there is a similar timeline:

  1. 1134 Builders of the Regensburg Cathedral strengthen in close proximity in a snack hut (possibly with bratwurst )
  2. 1404 – Entry for the issue of 1 penny for intestines make to sausages in the provost’s account of the Arnstadt Virgin Monastery
  3. Early 14th century . Nuremberg Bratwurstglöcklein built on the outer wall of the Santander Moritzkapelle
  4. 1432 Fleischhauer order of the Weimar Fleischer ” something of a purity law for the roasting , liver and other sausages “
  5. 1470 (1370) in Esslingen dictates an order that only pure pork may be used for the production of sausages
  6. 1498 Coburg bratwurst is first mentioned in a bill of fare of George ‘s Hospital
  7. 1554 – . 1592 Hans Stromer IV ( 1517-1592 ) eats behind bars in Nuremberg debtors’ prison , nearly 28,000 sausages
  8. 1595 bratwurst recipe of the Nuremberg butchers’ guild
  9. 1600/1601 Konigsberg giant sausage measuring 1,005 yards ( 670 m)
  10. 02/07/1613 “S ( axes ) W ( eimarischen ) Product and order for butchers to Weimar , Jena and Buttstaedt ,” § 25 Bratwurst
  11. 1669 Johann Jacob Christoffel of Grimmelshausen praises the “adventurous Simplicius Simplicissimus” Thuringian bratwurst
  12. 1797 First printed recipe for Thuringian sausages in the ” Thuringian- Erfurtisches Cookbook

The discovery of the 1404 document sparked a debate about whose documentation for bratwurst was the oldest:[viii] “In the financial statements of the Customs writer of St. Goar dating back to 1410 is a boatload of sausages mentioned (Value: 1 Gulden), which was shipped together with wine in Cologne. This is the clearest and earliest evidence for sausage, except for a document just six years older from Thuringia – the purchase of intestines to make sausages”.

This document led to a bit of a dispute between Thuringians and Franks in July 2000[ix]: “The history of the sausage must probably be rewritten because the crispy grilled food is obviously older than thought. The sausage was mentioned in 1404 in Thuringia for the first time in a document, writes the “Thüringer Allgemeine” in its weekend edition. Previously, the oldest documents to mention sausage were from 1595 and 1613, attributed to the citizens of Nuremberg.

There is now a raging controversy between Thuringia and Franconia over the oldest sausage. “The Nuremberg Bratwurst has certainly been mentioned in 1300,” fought back the chairman of the Hotel and Restaurant Association for Middle Franconia, Werner Behringer, against this new disgrace. By 1313 in Nuremberg there was evidence of bratwurst in the mention of the bratwurst kitchen “to blue bell” near the Sebald Church, stressed Behringer. The oldest sausage kitchen in the world was definitely in Bavaria.”

A 1432 document that was recently discovered has also sparked a debate, but this time it was over who had the oldest purity laws: butchers or brewers. Craig Whitlock wrote in the Washington post in December 2007 about this[x]: “It’s the German version of the chicken-or-the-egg conundrum: Which was regulated first, beer or bratwurst? For centuries, brewers seemed to have history on their side. As evidence, they cited the world-renowned Reinheitsgebot, the Bavarian beer purity law of 1516, which stipulated barley, hops and water as the only permissible ingredients in the German national drink.

But thanks to Hubert Erzmann, a 75-year-old amateur historian, sausage lovers are crowing these days. Digging in the Weimar city archives, Erzmann unearthed a yellowed, handwritten parchment from 1432 that laid down the law regarding the production of Thuringian Rostbratwurst, perhaps the most popular variety of sausage in a country where wurst is worshiped as sacred grub.

The official document decreed that bratwurst from this corner of Thuringia, today a central German state, be made only from “pure, fresh” pork. Forbidden were beef, internal organs, parasites and anything rancid. Although the regulations might not sound revolutionary, wurst aficionados have described the bratwurst purity law as a holy find, almost as significant to German culture as a Gutenberg Bible.

As soon as I found it, I ran to the director of the archive and said, ‘Look! Look what I found!’ ” recalled Erzmann, who has haunted the archives for years in hopes of making such a discovery.

Food purity laws hold a revered place in the German soul. When the modern German nation was formed in 1871, Bavaria joined on condition that its beer purity rules be applied to the entire country. Even today, spoiled meat outbreaks are a national scandal and consumer protection is considered among the most important functions of government.

The medieval regulations in Germany were incredibly modern,” said Michael Kirchschlager, an author who writes about Thuringian culture. “When you think of the Middle Ages, you think the food wasn’t necessarily that safe. But the hygiene in many ways was better than today.”

A replica of the bratwurst purity law soon will be enshrined at the German Bratwurst Museum[xi] located 24 miles away in Holzhausen, a village whose main intersection is marked by a giant sausage-and-bun sculpture.”

bratwurst statue[xii]

Thuringian sausage makers had to use only the purest, unspoiled meat and were threatened with a fine of 24 pfennigs — a day’s wages — if they did not, according to a spokesman for the German Bratwurst Museum.[xiii]

There were and still are many different recipes for Bratwurst used in Germany, depending on the region or town you are in.

There are five varieties of bratwurst from Franconia (mostly in northern Bavaria, but culturally distinct), plus one each from Thuringia, northern Hessan and Swabia, plus over 40 kinds of bratwurst in Germany.[xiv] In terms of medieval bratwurst varieties, a Franconion region culinary website[xv] notes that most Upper Franconian sausages are relatively thick and of medium length (15-20 mm in diameter, about 20 – 25 cm length). In Coburg the Bratwurstmaß is traditionally exactly 31 cm. However, they are significantly thinner than, for example Bamberg medium-coarse Bratwurst.

The exact date of the first Coburger bratwurst is disputed but the oldest firm evidence comes from Coburg George Hospital from 1498. It said that every child (in the city?) and every Coburg (patient?) in the hospital were to receive two sausages from the last pigs slaughtered for Shrove Tuesday.[xvi]

In 1623 Duke Casimir issued a taxation ordinance that the Coburg sausage could cost only 4 1/2 cents and had to weigh a pound for four pieces together. So it is no surprise that the citizens wanted Coburg to have a very accurate measure of their sausages. They found it, presented by none other than the city’s patron St. Mauritius, the standing on the pediment of the Town Hall facade above the clock, holding up his baton as Bratwurstmaß so that Coburg butchers could ensure their sausages were sufficiently large. Coburg citizens fondly named him the “Bratwurst Männle”. 350 years later, in 1982 this measure was precisely determined: a real Coburg must be 31 cm long (unprocessed).[xvii]

Though some are made with only selected pork belly and lean pork, in some regions, veal or beef is added. Depending on the region, spices varied too: some have marjoram, others only pepper and cumin, or a touch of garlic and lemon. The consistency of the sausage filling also has special cultural and historical role. Coarse sausage was offered mainly in the Protestant regions of Upper Franconia; the medium-coarse to fine, on the other hand, came from the Catholic areas. For better bonding of the slightly crumbly sausage mass, some recipes add fresh eggs. The city of Coburg claims to have made sausages in the 15th century according to this recipe (ie including eggs) and it was served to Martin Luther and the Elector of Saxony in 1530 when they was staying in Coburg during the Augsburg Reichstag during the negotiation of the Augsburg Confession.[xviii]

I found two SCA-period recipes for Bratwurst

  1. recipe 25 in Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin[xix]

If you would make good bratwurst. Take four pounds of pork and four pounds of beef and chop it finely. After that mix with it two pounds of bacon and chop it together and pour approximately one quart of water on it. Also add salt and pepper thereto, however you like to eat it, or if you would like to have some good herbs, you could take some sage and some marjoram, then you have good bratwurst.

  1. Koge Bog, a Danish cookbook from 1616 (Martin Forest, translator)[xx]

XXU – To Make bratvurst. Take the meat off the shoulder and cut it into pieces. Pull the ligaments well off. Thereafter take a third part good tender beef and chop well small. Thereafter chop the two arts pork meat with the beef so that they are well mixed. Mix it well with salt, crushed pepper, half-crushed nutmeg flowers, marjoram, thyme and Danish cumin. The sausages should be made in the biggest pork intestines. When they are filled they should be put into clean water seething over the fire, and then quickly be taken out again and be hung overnight next to a warm oven to dry. And then be hung in the smoker in cold smoke. This way they are cured and can be eaten raw.

The recipe you are getting today is my own version of Thuringian rostbratwurst, for which a purity law dating back to 1432 has been found. It decreed that bratwurst in the city of Weimar be made only from “pure, fresh” pork. Forbidden were beef, internal organs, parasites and anything rancid. Thuringian sausages are the most popular in Germany, and are distinguished from the many other kinds of bratwurst by their distinctive spices: salt, pepper, marjoram, and other options such as mace, allspice, caraway, cardamom, garlic, or lemon rind.[xxi]

  1. Thuringian Rostbratwurst
  • 1 lb pork
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp mace
  • ¼ tsp marjoram

I ground the pork, then mixed in the other ingredients while keeping the pork as cold as possible. I then stuffed the mixture into pork sausage casings. They are best boiled fresh and then grilled.

Images of German sausages

Fridrich Plecher, 1467 [xxii]



Hans Lengenfelder, 1436[xxiii]



Hans Ensslinger, 1465[xxiv]




There are images of medieval pretzels, and even a few recipes for pretzels, but little archaeological evidence. However, in 2015, there was an announcement of actual 300 year-old pretzels.[xxv]

1190s Alsace:[xxvi]


Ulrich Galster, Baker, 1465[xxvii]

Ulrich Galster

Baker, from 15h C Chronicle of  Ulrico de Richtental[xxviii]


Hildesheim baptismal font cover, showing the anointing of Jesus. Pretzel is on the table in front of the figure on the right.[xxix]


1464 itinerant pastry bakers, from Konstanz.[xxx]

pastry bakers

A pie baker from Konstanz, 1465-1475[xxxi]

pie baker

Two Pretzel Recipes from Max Rumpolt’s Ein New Kuchbuch, 1581[xxxii]

  1. Nimb ein schöenes Mehl/ lauter Eyerdotter/ vnnd ein wenig Wein/ Zucker vnd Aniß/ mach ein Teig damit an/ walg jn fein läenglicht vnd rundt mit saubern Häenden/ vnnd mach kleine Bretzel darauß/ scheubs in ein warmen Ofen/ vnd backs/ daß du es nit verbrennest/ sondern fein außtrucknet/ so werden sie auch müerb vnd gut. Du magst auch Zimmet darvnter nemmen oder nicht. Vnd man nennet es Precedella …
  2. Take a fair flour/ clean egg yolks/ and a little wine/ sugar and anise/ make a dough with it/ roll it nicely long and round with clean hands/ and make little pretzels from it/ shove in a warm oven and bake/ that you do not burn it/ but until nicely dry/ like this they will be also crispy and good. You might also take cinnamon with it or not. And one calls them Precedella.[xxxiii]57. Nimb Zucker vnnd Rosenwasser/ laß wol auffsieden/ daß nicht zu dick wirt/ rüer geriebene Mandeln vnter den gesotten Zucker/ vnd machs wol trucken vom Feuwer/ vnd wenn du es wol weg nimpst/ so nimb schöenen weissen gestossenen Zucker ein Löeffel voll oder drey/ rüers wider vnter die Mandeln/ treib sie mit der Handt fein läenglicht auß/ vnnd besträew sie mit weissem Zucker vnten vnd oben/ daß nicht bleibt an Häenden kleben/ vnnd wenn du es lang hast außgetrieben/ so mach kleine Bretzel darauß/ scheub sie in ein warmen Ofen/ vnd back sie fein langsam auß/ so werden sie schöen weiß. Vnd man nennet es Precedella von Mandeln gemacht.

The second translation is from a different source[xxxiv]: PRECEDELLA MADE OF ALMONDS   (Rumpolt 1581, fol. 169b, #57)

[57]     Take sugar and rosewater, boil up [together], so that it becomes not too thick, stir grated almonds into this boiled sugar, take it from the fire when it is well dried. When you take it away, take one to three spoons of good white pounded sugar, stir it into the almonds, make this almond dough longish with your hands, strew white sugar onto it on the upper and the lower side, so that nothing sticks to your hands. And when you have made it longish, form small pretzels from it, put them into a warm oven and bake them quite slowly, they will get a fine white color.

Thomas Gloning, who has contributed many transcriptions and translations of medieval German cookbooks on-line, notes that “In the so called Richenthal chronicle about the Constance council, there is a picture of a kind of pastry in the form of a pretzel. In the Constance manuscript of this chronicle (fol. 23a, note: first of the two Konstanz baker images, above), there is a piece of text beneath the picture, where the pretzels in the picture are referred to with the expression “broetschellen”:

“Och waren brotbecken zuo Costentz, die hetten ringe und claine offenlin. Die furten sy uff stoskerlin durch die stat und buchend darin bastetten und ring und broetschellen und sollichs brottes. Dero warend etlich erf¸llet mit h¸nren, etlich mit vogeln, gewuortz, mit guotter spetzery, und etlich mit flaisch und etlich mit vischen gebachen, wie die ainer gern wolt haben” (23a; Feger II 173b).

“Broetschellen” is also used in the Aulendorf manuscript of this chronicle, from the 15th century too; however, the wording is slightly different:

“… darinn sy basteten, ring und broetschelen buochend. Die basteten waren ettlich mit h¸ner und flaisch gemacht …”. The difference is, that the filling is clearly mentioned in respect to the pies. Later on, there is another passage in the text, where these foreign bakers and their “basteten”, “ring” and “broetschelen” are mentioned again.

“In the printed version of this text from 1536, the word is “bretschelen”.

“Now, all these forms seem to belong to “Brezel”, whose predecessors can be traced back to Old High German; the German word is an early loan from Latin or/and Italian sources.[xxxv]

The word pretzel comes from the Latin “Brachiatellium”, which became “Brezitella” in Old German. The pretzel is popularly believed to have been developed in a southern French monastery in 610, and the shape symbolizes arms in prayer. Another version claims that the pretzel came from the monastery of St. Gall.

Pretzels dipped in caustic soda (lye) and water before baking (laugenbretzeln) may be a relatively new phenomenon, as I could only find documentation for this practice back to the early 1800s.[xxxvi] This is the kind of large soft pretzel most often found in this area, though a similar look may also be possible using baking soda in the dough, and brushing with egg yolk before baking.

The traditional belief is that until the eighteenth century pretzels were usually baked only “in tempore quadragesimali”, ie during the forty days before Easter, but that would make sense only for Lenten pretzels (those without eggs or milk). At least in Biberach an der Riß, a town in southern Germany around 200 km from Siglinde’s home in Metz, but probably also in other parts of South-West Germany, Fastrenbrezeln are very popular in the fasting period. They are boiled briefly in hot water before baking and salted only after boiling. On Palm Sunday, the Brezgenmarkt takes place in the Hungerbrunn Valley near Heldenfingen. This market has been documented since 1533 by the Ulmer Ratsprotokolle. In this region, the old custom of men giving pretzels to their sweethearts has been preserved.[xxxvii] Pretzels are also a very important part of Alsatian food culture,[xxxviii] and in Luxembourg.[xxxix]

I was unable to find a medieval recipe, so I looked at modern fastenbretzeln recipes:

Fasting Pretzel (makes 10 portions)[xl]


  • 350 ml of cold water
  • 3 decagrams yeast (about 5 tsp)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 60 decagrams flour (about 1 6/2 c)
  • 1 yolk
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • butter or shortening to grease the baking pan
  1. Mix the salt and water, then add the flour.
  2. Knead thoroughly for 10-15 minutes. Leave in a warm place, covered, 20 minutes.
  3. Knead the dough again and knead again for 5 minutes.
  4. Knead dough and form thin rolls of 25 cm length.
  5. Place each dough strand in a horseshoe shape so that the tips point towards the body.
  6. Lift the ends and twist to a knot and place the tips on the left and right of the pretzel.
  7. Place on a greased sheet and spread from a mixture of yolk and water.
  8. Bake at 220 degrees about 35 minutes. Tip: If the pretzel is placed in boiling water just before baking, a particularly soft “lye dough” is produced.


  • 500-700g wheat or spelt flour
  • 10 g of salt
  • 10 g of baking malt, also called barley or wheat malt flour (Baking malt is a malt which is mostly made from barley, wheat or rye. The grain is germinated under moist and warm conditions, then dried, dried or roasted and ground. By the addition of baking malt to the dough, easily available nutrients, including sugars and amino acids, are made available to the yeast. The aim is to speed up the fermentation and a better dough texture. Dried and roasted ale malt would be a suitable substitute)
  • 10 g yeast
  • 275 ml of water

Add the spelt flour, salt and baking malt in a bowl. Then add the water and knead to form a smooth, supple, medium paste. This takes about 8 – 10 minutes. Then let the dough rest for about 20 minutes. Now divide the dough into 45 g pieces and then process the pieces into pretzels. For this, roll out a strand with a length of approx. 50 cm from the dough piece. Make a circle with the dough and twist the ends to form a pretzel shape. Sprinkle the finished pretzel with water (ie dip in boiling water) and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 210 degrees about 20 minutes.

I decided to go with a variation of A Pretzel Recipe from a Baker in Metz.[xlii]

Flour, baker’s yeast, fine salt, water – a little less than for bread – and 3 to 4 minutes of kneading.

The dough is then divided, the portions of 60 grams stretched and formed into a soft tube, and then into a pretzel shape. The raw forms are then slightly poached in hot water, with salt and onion peel. This makes it possible to obtain this beautiful color between gold and brown which characterizes the pretzel after cooking. After being sprinkled with coarse salt, the pretzels are cooked for about 5 minutes, at 230 ° C, though the timing varies depending on humidity. This seemed too short, so I baked until done. Some recipes I read called for a bit of water in a pan in the oven, a trick I use when making baguettes in order to mimic the humidity of a wood-fired oven, so I did that to add a little more humidity to my pretzels. I used sourdough rather than dried commercial yeast. This is appropriate because dried yeast is a modern invention, and sourdough works just fine, especially when used daily for baking; pretzels are baked fresh each day (the little dried pretzels are a modern, North American invention). I didn’t have ale barm or leftover malt to add, though that might have helped. Instead, I added a smidgen of honey to boost the sourdough fermentation and give a tiny touch of the sweetness that was common in many of the recipes I looked at. The fasting pretzels were often described as being paler than the lye pretzels, so I did some in plain water, others in water with a bit of salt and onion peel for colour, and a few in lye water. Though I have no evidence that either the onion tinted bath or the lye bath were period methods, the ingredients would have been available to medieval bakers, and the documented popularity of lye pretzels by the 1830s leads me to suspect that some sort of process might have been used to produce the rich brown colour of lye pretzels.


Sauerkraut is another item that, like bread and sausages, everyone eats and knows how to cook, so there are relatively few references. My main source was Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe, which notes that Das Buch von Guter Spise recipe 48 includes sauerkraut:

“|A48] Ein condimentlin. 1 2 1 Mal kfimel vnd enis mit pfeffer vnd mit ezzige vnd mit honige vnd mach ez gel mit saffran vnd tfl dar zv senf in disem condimente mahtu salze petersielien bem. vnd dein cumpost oder rfiben waz du wilt.

“[B48] Ein condimente / Mal kümel / vnd enys mit pfeffer / vnd mit essige vnd mit honige / vnd machs gel mit saffran / vnd thu darzcu senff In disem condimente machtu sulcze petersilien Piren vnd dein kumpost oder ruben was du wilt.

“48. A little sauce. Grind caraway and anise with pepper, vinegar, and honey, color it yellow with saffron, and add mustard. In this sauce you can prepare jellied meat with parsley berries 2 3 and some sauerkraut or turnips, anything you want.”[xliii]

She also notes that in the 1460 cookbook written by von Maister Hans or Meister Hans (facsimile is titled Maister Hannsen des von Wirtenburg koch) there is a mention made of cabbage seeds being saved from cabbage worms, and that Meister Hans wrote “I secretly noticed that you like to eat sauerkraut, while by nature I prefer gruel.”[xliv]

Lastly Adamson mentions that the 1485 Kuchenmeysterey contains some material in the sauces section. “The focus in chapter 4 is on sauces, especially garlic sauces, mustard, electuaries, cabbage, and sauerkraut.”[xlv]

Stefan’s Florilegium offers two recipes that call for sauerkraut from the miscellaneous prepared dishes section of Marx Rumpolts’ Ein New Kochbook (1581):

“111. Saur Kraut mit einer gesottenen hennen/unnd gerauchteren Speck/ist auch nicht boss zu essen.

Sauerkraut with a boiled hen and smoked bacon is also not bad to eat.

  1. Gehackt saures Kraut ist auch nicht boss/wenns gesotten ist/ so macht mans ab mit saurem Raum und Butter.
  2. Chopped sauerkraut is not bad when it is boiled, so one prepares it with sour cream and butter.”[xlvi]

Stefan’s Florilegium offers more sauerkraut recipes and menu items from Rumpolt:

“Swchweine Wildpret gekocht im Pfeffer auff Vngerisch/ Ein saur kraut gekocht mit einem gerucherten Speck/ vnd durren Wursten/ vnd auch mit gerucherten Capaunen vnd Huner.

Wild boar cooked in a Pepper sauce in the Hungarian manner/ a sauerkraut cooked with smoked bacon and dried sausage/ and also with smoked capons and hens.

Ein saur Kraut gekocht/ vnd mit geruchtem Speck vnnd Bratwursten vmblegt.

A sauerkraut cooked/ and with smoked bacon and bratwurst laid around.

Ein saur Kraut mit durren Lachs gesotten/ vnnd Backfisch/ vnd Bratfisch auff das Kraut/ alles in ein Schussel angericht.

A sauerkraut cooked with dried salmon/ and backfish/ and fried fish on the kraut/ all arranged in a dish.

Warme Erbes mit saurem Kraut.

Warm peas with sauerkraut.

Hammel 22. Karwenada von dem Hammel zu kochen. Nimm aus der Seiten die Rib von dem Hammel / und haw die Brust davon hinweg / und brauchs worzu du es haben wilt / es sei zu grunem oder saurem Kraut / Nimm die Riben / schneidt eine nach der andern heraus / sampt dem Fleisch / zerklopf ein segliche Rib besonder mit einer Weidorarenruck / und wenn du es wilt braten / so besprengs auf beiden seiten mit Salz / legs auf ein Rust / und brats geschwindt hinweg / begeus mit heissen Speck / oder nimm lautere Butter. Und wenn du es wilt anrichten / so nimm ein braune saure Bruhe / die wohl gepfeffert ist / gies oben daruber / das es warm auf ein Tisch kompt / Denn wenn es kalt ist / so wolt ich nicht ein Pfennig drumb geben / Und ein sollche Speise muss man machen / wenn ein Herr be idem Tisch ist. Und wenns einer gern mit Knoblaunch ist gut und lieblich. Solche Speise kanstu braten oder sieden / oder auch wohl eindumpfen / denn man hat nicht allzeit drei oder viererlei Fleisch.

  1. To cook carbonados of the mutton.  Take from the side of the ribs of a mutton/ and cut the breast away from it/ and need what for you will have it/ be it green cabbage or sauerkraut/ Take the ribs/ slice one from the other/ together with the meat/ beat such a rib especially with a Weidorarenruck/ and when you will roast it/then sprinkle on both sides with salt/ lay on a grill/ and roast swiftly away/ baste with hot bacon/ or take clean butter.  And when you will serve/ then take a brown sour stock/ that is well peppered/ pour over the top/ that it comes to the table warm/ because if it is cold/ then I will not give a penny for it/ And such a dish one has to make/ when a Lord is at the table. And when you would like it with garlic it is good and lovely.  Such dishes you can roast or boil/ or also well steam/ because one has not always three or four meats.

Spensaw 23. Gersuchert oder Geselcht Spensaw ist auch nicht bus/ magst sie kalt oder warm geben/ sie ist auf beide manier gut/ Oder kochs unter grunem Kol/ mit saurem Kraut/ oder mit Spenat/ oder Bisenkraut/ welches man sonst Romischen Kol nennet.

  1. Smoked or salted pig is not also bad/ serve it cold or warm/ It is good in both manners or cook under green cabbage/ with sauerkraut or with spinach/or Bisenkraut which one otherwise calls Roman cabbage.

Fasan 22.  Nimein gerucherten Fasan/ vnd guten Speck/ der unterwachsen ist/ auch ein guten Kappaunen/ der nicht geruchert ist/ Nimden Speck/ vn schneidt jn gar klein/ setz jn zu mit saurem Kraut/ vnd lass wol darmit sieden/ rur es wol mit einem holtzern Loffel/ Wenn das Kraut wol gesotten ist/ so thu den Fasanen darein/ vnd den Kappaun/ lass auch siedenm mit dem Kraut/ rur es durcheinander mit einem holtzern Loffel/ so ist es ein gutes essen. Vnd ich habe es offte gekocht vor grosse Herrn/ sonderlich vor die Herrn von Osterreich.

Take a smoked pheasant/ and good bacon/ that is unterwachsen/ also a good capon that is not smoked/ Take the bacon and cut it very small/ set it to the fire with sauerkraut/ and it let it simmer together well/ stir it well with a wooden spoon/ When the kraut is well cooked/ then put the pheasant in it/ and the capon/ let also cook with the kraut/ stir it together with a wooden spoon/ like this it is a good food.  And I have often cooked for great lords, especially the lords of Austria.[xlvii]

Another interesting recipe for comes from Ein Kochbuch aus dem Archiv des Deutschen Ordens:

“[[31]] Wilthu machenn eynngemacht Crautt:
so seudt weysse Heuptt und ein zweythell Sennffs und das dritthell Hoengs und die selbing mach undereinander mitt Wein und thu darein <<124>>
Koemel und einß des genug und leg dan des gesotten Kraut darein und [[nnd_Ed.]] gibe es kalt. also magst auch priesen die Seudt mitt Würczenn und gyb sy hin.”[xlviii]

If you want to make pickled cabbage

Boil white cabbage heads, take two parts mustard and one part honey, mix them with wine and add caraway. /einfl/ (?) it enough, put the boiled cabbage into it and serve it cold. You can also season the broth and serve it.”[xlix]

This recipe is from outside of Germany, but it is geographically close enough that it’s worth including: Mikolaj Reg in “Zywot czlowieka pozciwego” (1568) describes a sauerkraut method: “Having removed the outside leaves of some nice heads of cabbage, cut them in half and fit them neatly into a vat, spreading beet chards & dill between the layers”[l]

I used a simple sauerkraut recipe from Stocking Up. I chopped enough white cabbage to fill a quart canning jar and stuffed it in as tightly as possible to within 1 inch of the top after sterilizing the jar and lid pieces. I then added 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, ½ teaspoon of honey (from my sister’s hives), and a few caraway seeds. Next, I poured in boiling water to within ½ inch of the top, and inserted a knife to release any air bubbles. I sealed the lid and put the jar in a basin in my basement to ferment.


I had been hoping to find a hot mustard like my beloved feuer senf, but most of the medieval German recipes I could find were actually more like a mild honey mustard. There are mustard recipes in cookbooks from other cuisines (Old Icelandic Miscelleny, Viandier of Taillevent, Libre de Sent Sovi, Menagier de Paris, Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook, Nola’s Libro de Coch, and Hugh Plat’s Delights for Ladies) but I have chosen to stick with a German recipe and one from the Netherlands.

As noted above in the section on sauerkraut, Ein Buch von Guter Spise, has a mustard condiment at recipe 48.

Hans Hajack did an interpretation that produced far more mustard than I needed. However, it was a good basis, so I reduced the quantities while keeping the proportions approximately the same.

1 pound yellow mustard seed 2 tsp. ground anise
2 cups apple cider vinegar 2 tsp. ground caraway
2 cups water 25 threads of saffron
2 tsp. ground black pepper 5 ounces honey

Soak mustard seed in vinegar & water for 12-24 hours. Process in blender or food processor with remaining ingredients.[li] I used a mortar and pestle rather than a blender or food processor to grind my ingredients.

I found two excellent documents prepared by other SCA researchers: the first is A Study of Medieval Mustard as Sauce & Seed by Baroness Hanna Schreiber[lii]; and the second is Medieval Mustard, by Baron Caleb Reynolds[liii]

For my second mustard, I used a recipe from the Dutch Eenen Nyeuwen Coock Boeck (1560), which is found in Schreiber’s document:

“Om drooghen mostaerd te maken.opt Rooms Droocht nieuwe mostaertsaet in die heete sonne oft oven oft bijden viere, ende stoot dat in eenen vijsere tot cleynnen mele, ende maeckt hier af een deech met stercken azijn ende een cleyn luttel greynpoeders ende laet dan dat tot eenen stuck ligghen drooghen.

(Translation) To make dry mustard in the Roman way. Dry new mustard seed in the hot sun or in the oven or at the fire, and crush it in a mortar to fine flour and make a dough with this and with strong vinegar and a little grain powder and let dry to one piece.”[liv]

A different recipe for mustard sauce translates greyn poeders as grains of paradise.[lv]

I used white mustard seed that I had purchased dried, then crushed it in a mortar, added white vinegar and a little ground grains of paradise, then let it absorb the vinegar for several days.

[i] http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=bratwurst

[ii] http://www.bratwurstmuseum.net

[iii] Čerpnjak Dorothea: Kleine Kulturgeschichte der Bratwurst. Eine Lieblingsspeise erobert die Welt. Leipzig 2005. (Cultural History of the Bratwurst. A favoured Dish conquers the World), p. 28.

[iv] Čerpnjak, p. 29.

[v] Čerpnjak, p. 30-31; Dünnebier, Anna/ Paczensky, Gert von: Kulturgeschichte des Essens und Trinkens. München 1999. (Cultural History of Food and Drink), p. 126

[vi] Čerpnjak, p. 30-31

[vii] http://www.bratwurstmuseum.de/geschichte.html

[viii] http://www.graf-von-katzenelnbogen.de/bratwurst.html

[ix] http://www.tagesspiegel.de/weltspiegel/geschichte-der-bratwurst-neue-historische-quelle-ruft-streit-zwischen-thueringern-und-franken-hervor/153812.htm

[x] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/01/AR2007120101513.html

[xi] http://www.bratwurstmuseum.net

[xii] http://gruppenreise-navi.com/suche/region/thueringen-thueringer-wald-saaleland-vogtland-rhoen/9183-es-geht-um-die-wurst

[xiii] http://www.kitchenproject.com/german/Bratwurst/history.htm

[xiv] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bratwurst

[xv] http://genussregion-oberfranken.de/spezialitaeten/staedte/122/oberes_maintal__coburger_land/335/coburger_bratwurst/details_38.htm

[xvi] https://www.fleischtheke.info/wurstsorten/rohwuerste/coburger-bratwurst.php

[xvii] http://www.genussregion.oberfranken.de/spezialitaeten/staedte/53/coburg/335/coburger_bratwurst/details_38.htm

[xviii] http://www.genussregion.oberfranken.de/spezialitaeten/staedte/53/coburg/335/coburger_bratwurst/details_38.htm

[xix] http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Sabrina_Welserin.html

[xx] http://medievalcookery.com/greneboke/recipes/bratvurst.html

[xxi] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/01/AR2007120101513.html

[xxii] http://www.nuernberger-hausbuecher.de/75-Amb-2-317-85-v

[xxiii] http://www.nuernberger-hausbuecher.de/75-Amb-2-317-59-v/data

[xxiv] http://www.nuernberger-hausbuecher.de/75-Amb-2-317-83-v/data

[xxv] http://nypost.com/2015/03/12/archaeologists-unearth-300-year-old-pretzels-in-germany/

[xxvi] https://en.wikipedia.org/File:Hortus_Deliciaarum_1190.jpg

[xxvii] http://www.nuernberger-hausbuecher.de/75-Amb-2-317-84-r

[xxviii] https://www.superstock.com/stock-photos-images/4069-3995

[xxix] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptismal_font_%28Hildesheim%29

[xxx]https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Konstanzer_Richental_Chroni_Pastetenbaecker.jpeg, Feger, Otto (Bearb.): Ulrich Richental: Das Konzil zu Konstanz. Faksimile. Starnberg – Konstanz 1964, Fol. 23r.

[xxxi] Konzil von Konstanz (ÖNB 3044, fol. 48v), c. 1465-1475, http://www.larsdatter.com/pretzels.htm

[xxxii] http://www.larsdatter.com/pretzels.htm

[xxxiii] http://cunnan.lochac.sca.org/index.php/Precedella

[xxxiv] Email from Thomas Gloning dated 2 August 2000, http://www.florilegium.org/?http%3A//www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-BREADS/pretzels-msg.html

[xxxv] Email from Thomas Gloning, August 1, 2000, http://www.florilegium.org/?http%3A//www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-BREADS/pretzels-msg.html

[xxxvi] http://www.germanfoodguide.com/pretzel.cfm

[xxxvii] http://www.brezel-baecker.de/brezelgeschichte

[xxxviii] https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bretzel

[xxxix] http://www.luxembourg.public.lu/fr/actualites/2012/03/18-bretzel/index.html

[xl] https://www.thea.at/rezepte/die-fastenbrezel/20151

[xli] http://www.backenmitchristina.at/lungauer-fastenbrezen/

[xlii] http://www.republicain-lorrain.fr/edition-de-metz-ville/2015/12/18/metz-le-bretzel-doit-se-manger-le-jour-meme

[xliii] Melitta Weiss Adamson. Das Buch von Guter Spise (The Book of Good Food) A Study, Edition, and English Translation of the Oldest German Cookbook. Medium Aevum Quotidianum, Krems: 2000, pp 77 and 102.

[xliv] Melitta Weiss Adamson. Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe. Routledge, New York: 2002, p. 176.

[xlv] Regional Cuisines, p. 183.

[xlvi] Email from October 10, 1998, http://www.florilegium.org/?http%3A//www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-VEGETABLES/sauerkraut-msg.html

[xlvii] Email from 11 January 2009, http://www.florilegium.org/?http%3A//www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-VEGETABLES/sauerkraut-msg.html

[xlviii] http://www.staff.uni-giessen.de/gloning/tx/gollub.htm

[xlix] https://eldrimner.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/cabbage-from-the-teutonic-knights/

[l] http://www.gallowglass.org/jadwiga/SCA/cooking/preserving.html

[li] http://www.medievalcuisine.com/Euriol/recipe-index/condimente

[lii] A Study of Medieval Mustard as Sauce & Seed. http://germanrenaissance.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Mustard-Seed-AS-Sp-2012.pdf

[liii] http://calebreynolds.blogspot.ca/2015/07/

[liv] Medieval Mustard as Sauce & Seed, Appendix C.

[lv] http://medievalcookery.com/recipes/mustardsaucen.html


The day before yesterday, I couldn’t find my Dublin cap to wear to Coronation. Or the other Dublin cap, or the other one, or the other one. So yesterday, I whipped up a new cap, and made braid ties and a bit of trim for the front using the braid from the Skjoldehamn tunic. This is a very simple braid in three colours, that works best as a fingerloop. I have made it before, to disguise seams where I have added length to the sleeves of undertunics, but somehow forgot to post about it. This is an excellent summary of the find, and pictures of the artifact along with the braid instructions can be found on page 7: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/11552101/skjoldehamn-find-pennsic-expo-conv-svcscom.

I love this picture of me making the braid because, if you look closely, you can see my hands are a blur. Also, my helpful friend Evan is being helpful – he was clearly well-trained by his lady-wife (a mad knitter), as I asked if he could do me a favour and he immediately held up a hand for me to tie string around. The other picture shows the completed cap and the sleeves of my tunic. I’m feeling very rich, with six colours!



I am currently reading a book called “The Underground Girls of Kabul”, which is about the phenomenon of young (and sometimes older) girls dressing and acting as boys or men. The author postulates that this practice may date back to the Sassanid Empire, when Afghanistan, along with several other countries where this phenomenon appears, was Zoroastrian. She mentions that Zoroastrians believed the body was made up of four elements (earth, air, fire, water). Hello! That sounds like humoral theory.

I went off on a bit of a search and found this:  “There is even evidence that Persian-Zoroastrian traditions, which regarded the human body as reflections of earthly elements, might have played a formative role in the Humoral theory (Elgood, 1934, p. 9) (http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/humoralism-1).  This article also mentions the important role of Avicenna, the Uzbek Persian physician who refined early humoral theory in his 11th C Canon on Medicine. Avicenna is also said to have been the first to have written down a recipe for plov osh (Uzbek mutton pilaf). Back to that pilaf rabbit hole, which I had been researching a few weeks ago.


While searching around for something else (my latest obsessions are documenting medieval dumplings and pilafs) I came across a reference to pretzels. I thought I would add it to the documentation from when I entered an A&S competition last year, only to discover I had never uploaded that documentation. I searched for it on my home computer, only to discover another document on pretzels, but not the documentation I wrote. This version is from 2014. Apparently I really obsess about pretzels. The one I want must be on my work computer. All this tells me that this blog site is the best place to store my stuff, because at least it is searchable!

Today’s discovery is from Eat and be Satisfied. A Social History of Jewish Food by John Cooper Jason Aronson Inc., 1993, pp 150-151. According to to Cooper, “the first written reference to pretzels was made by Isidore of Seville (c 560-636 CE), who called them by their Latin name of bracchium.” He also says that “by the late Middle Ages pretzels had evolved into three varieties: beer pretzels, boiled in lye before baking and sprinkled with salt or sometimes caraway seed; egg pretzels, made with sweet dough or ground almonds (not the parallel with egg bagels and certain kinds of Italian doughnuts from the sixteenth century); and soft pretzels from south Germany, which were thick dough rings somewhat resembling bagels in shape.”  Of note, “the Yiddish word bagel was first mentioned in the ordinances of the Cracow community in1610, which stated that they could be sent as gifts to women about tho give birth and to midwives.”



Melitta Weiss Adamson (Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe, Routledge: 2003, p 163) notes that Walter Ryff’s 1549 dietary (Kurtze aber vast eigentliche), lists lower-class foods including oats, cabbage, chestnuts, beans, millet and turnips. “Cabbage, Ryff informs the reader, is eaten daily all over Germany, and in Bavaria sauerkraut is eaten three to four times a day as a meal”.

These are notes for a class on mending at Skraeling Althing’s Practicum 2018.

Why should we learn about mending and patching? For me, it is mainly because I have been doing recreation long enough that my clothing is starting to show distinctive signs of wear. Worn hems, moth holes, burn marks from cooking fire sparks, tears, and possibly even clothing that has shrunk in my closet. But it is also about the medieval aesthetic. I prefer clothes that look properly worn, not costumes. To me, outfits that look too fresh just don’t look right. As a medieval woman, cloth is precious to me because it takes so long to make. I won’t throw it out simply because it needs a little repair. Instead, I will wear my dress until it is absolutely threadbare, patching and mending to keep it in use as long as possible.

Medieval Tailor’s Assistant: Common Garments 1100-1480, by Sarah Thursfeld (The Crowood Press, 2001), has useful information on repairs. According to Thursfeld, patching was more common than darning. She says that matching the fabric weight was more important than matching the colour, and that patches were applied to the right side of the clothing. Patches should have their grain aligned with the grain of the item being repaired. In the case of light fabrics, the raw edges of the patch should be turned under and the patch stitched in place. Then turn over the item, trim back the raw edges until your hole matches the square of the patch, snip into the corners, and then turn under and hem to the patch. For heavier-weight fabrics, there is no need to make a hem allowance. Thursfeld notes that the most common item needing repair was split hose. For them, match the patch to the grain, then darn the hose to the patch. Be sure to do it unevenly, as otherwise the hose are likely to split again. Finally, trim the patch close to the darning and leave the edges raw.

Rosalie’s Medieval Woman (https://rosaliegilbert.com/sewingtechniques.html) has an example of a neckband with a silk strip sewn to the inside of the neck of a high-grade woolen garment. A band like this one would provide extra re-enforcing where wear and tear is likely to occur. The opening reinforcing is made from a narrow silk strip. It is dated between 1325 to 1350.

It is possible that this garment or others like it had similar bands at the ends of the sleeves to reinforce the edges which were subject to the most wear.

Rosalie also offers advice on worn ems and cuffs. She notes that it was not uncommon for a woman to cut the hem of her gown off when it was too ragged and re-sew it a little shorter or to replace it with a strip of new fabric.

She gives the example of a picture from the Romance of Alexander showing a woman catching butterflies who appears to have rehemmed her dress. This is not purely decoration. Toni Mount’s book, Everyday Life in Medieval London, explains that in 1320, the household wardrobe accounts of Edward II’s wife Queen Isabella herself had garments re-hemmed to prolong the wear of them and save the cost of new gowns.


This may also be an example of a dress or hem guard, something which shows up fairly commonly in the Renaissance. A guard is a wide band of less expensive fabric which could be added to over and underskirts to take the wear of weather, dirt, and dragging on the ground. These could be removed and replaced when soiled or worn out, preserving the more expensive skirts

John Frey’s blog (http://matsukazesewing.blogspot.ca/p/repairs-on-extant-medieval-garments.html) has an excellent article listing many repairs on extant medieval garments.

  Herjolfsnes 43.  Much patched, including a large patch on the lower edge suggesting a sword being worn with it.  S1

Uppsala Gown – the front skirt has two nearly invisible patches in the front skirt—suggesting it had been stepped on.  S1

The Moy Gown was patched and there are holes at stress points in the garment.  S1  There was also a small patch covering (re-enforcing?) the point of the back gores. S5

Dava Moor, Cromdale, Morayshire.  Presumably in Scotland.  May be post period. – Unknown dating.  Clothes are ragged in the extreme and contain at least 29 different cloths (fabrics?).  S2

Shetland. (NA 249.) – Felt skullcap with two tears roughly mended with thick 2-ply brown wool, and a hole near the edge roughly patched with two pieces of cloth.   S2

Dungiven Costume – All the garments were tattered and had been lined with patches.  S3  The doublet was lined with patches. The trius were a mass of patches by the time of burial, something like six layers deep in places. S6

Skjoldehamn Find – The shirt was heavily patched on (as worn) the underside of the right sleeve; underarm (towards the front) of the right sleeve; the right side in the area of the hip covering front and back side (this one looks like it’s been patched a couple of times—there’s definitely two separate patches, one overlapping the other); a large one on the left side, more towards the front and slightly higher than the right side; just above it there is another patch; there is one at the inside intersection of the other two left patches; there are two other patches in the front and underarm of the left side.  S4 p.83-84

  • All the patches are irregular in shape, I believe that most of them used a whipstitch (wool thread—almost looks white), but one or two may have used back/running stitch.  I believe that most of the patches have been turned under, but one in particular (right underarm) looks frayed on one edge.  Most of them as well are on the outside of the material, but the three small patches near/on the left arm are actually done from the wrong side of the material—on one you can actually see the outline of the patch in a way that suggests that it was fastened with a whipstitch.  S4 p.82
  • In light of some new information, I found out that all of the patches were roughly overcast with a variety of yarn types, Z2S being the most common.  On some at least, an overcast stitch was used to stitch the raw edge of the hole to the patch it’self, making the repair more solid. S4 translated by Asfridhr

Bernuthsfeld Tunic – A bog find dating to the 7th century in Germany, it was found at the beginning of the 20thcentury, and is composed of 45 pieces of different wool fabrics, sewn together in a patchwork. S7.

  •  Personally I don’t believe that it was made as a patchwork to begin with, and is the result of extensive repairs—perhaps over a couple of generations.  Looking at a colour image of the tunic, I agree with myself–several of the pieces are attached slantwise and are quite obviously layered.

Schlabow2376, Bernuthsfeld Tunic.  Front.
Schlabow2376, Bernuthsfeld Tunic.  Back.

Robe of St. Francis of Assisi

Lendbreen Tunic (250-340AD) – Two patches, in the same area.  The first, square patch was placed on the wrong side, and the edges of the hole (probably trimmed) were whipstitched down.  The second patch was lain over the first, on the inside, sewn down with a running stitch (probably along the edge of the hole), and had the edges whipstiched down. (S9)  The second patch is of slightly different material, and sewn using different thread than the first one. There is also a seam repair on the right sleeve.  Whipstitch.  (S9)

S1) http://users.skynet.be/bister/Passion/Fichiers/14th%20century%20garments.pdf  Some mentions of repairs

S2) Early Scottish Textiles.  http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/catalogue/adsdata/arch-352-1/dissemination/pdf/vol_086/86_001_029.pdf

S3) The Dungiven Costume  http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/20627382?uid=3739512&uid=13674576&uid=2&uid=3&uid=3739256&uid=60&sid=47698868231857

S4) Nye tanker om Skjoldehamnfunnet.http://www.ceilingpress.com/Resources/Nye%20tanker%20om%20Skjoldehamnfunnet.pdf

S5) Reconstruction of the Moy Bog Gown. http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/cloth/moy3.html

S6) The Dungiven Costume, Reconstructing History article

S7) The conservation of an early mediaeval patchwork-style tunic.  This is the paper information.


S8) The Robe of St. Francis of Assisi.  There is a photo, although I believe the white patches may be modern.  http://blog.beliefnet.com/deaconsbench/2007/10/the-robe.html

S9) Lendbreen Tunic. https://www.academia.edu/4372500/Out_of_the_Norwegian_glaciers_Lendbreen-a_tunic_from_the_early_first_millennium_AD

Note: This piece is under construction, and will occasionally be updated.
4-16-15: Edited Bernuthsfeld comment.  Added Bernuthsfeld and Assisi pictures.

© John Frey, 2014. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this document for non-commercial private research or educational purposes provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.

Clothes aren’t the only things that need mending. This article has an amusing description of repairing the seams on woven socks. https://diehandmaid.wordpress.com/2016/04/03/sonniges-saisonstart-struempfestopfen/

Woven into the Earth: Textiles from Norse Greenland by Else Ostergard has examples of patches and piecing. The hood on p. 207 shows two piecings on the bottom of the hood, and there is a patch on the right side. A cap on p 219 has a patch below the crown (and the cap is made in two pieces). The cap on p 220 is made of four pieces of different cloth, plus the crown. The tunic on p 175 has a left sleeve that is pieced and patched. The tunic on p 169 has a gusset that has been pieced.

The blog Medieval silkwork (http://www.medievalsilkwork.com/2013/10/mending-old-shirt.html) has a darning technique that is plausible but may be post-period. She weaves a darn right into the old cloth, using pins to hold the warp threads in place. She only attaches by sewing in on the weft edges, but you could also put a stitch in above each pin. This is very good for places where you don’t want the bulk of patches, such as under armpits.

Similar darns can be used on woven or knitted socks, though I don’t bother with the pins. Instead, I use a darning egg and stitch right into the cloth to form a warp, and then weave a weft as I work back. Naalbinding socks can be repaired simply by naalbinding a new section in the worn or torn spot.

A new book, Clothing the Past: Surviving Garments from Early Medieval to Early Modern Western Europe, by Elizabeth Coatsworth and Gail Owen-Crocker, has reference to patches and repairs according to Google Books, but it is an expensive investment so I don’t yet own a copy to provide more details.

Cookbook Reviews

I have been on a bit of a cookbook buying spree, thanks to cleaning up my list of books to find. I had three cookbooks on the list and I no longer remember when I decided I needed them, or what prompted me to find the titles in the first place. Luckily, all three books became available about the time I started searching again, so now I have three books that are very different from each other and pose interesting challenges.

Speisen wie die Äbte und essen wie die Mönche (Dine Like the Abbots and Eat Like the Monks) is a transcript of the Mondseer Cookbook, from 1453 in the Mondsse Cloisters in Austria (its church was the setting for the wedding scene in The Sound of Music). The book also includes Master Cook’s Instructions from 1593 through 1645, a chapter on food chits from 1538 to 1632 (these seem to be short menus for different months and days of the year), and the business brook (regular communes) from 1538. This is the most challenging book for me, but also the most interesting in some ways. As I have a Germanic persona, I am always trying to learn more about German cooking and housewifery. Unfortunately, my German is not very good and Google Translate doesn’t work very well for medieval German. I do recognize lots of individual words and the basics of recipes, so I will spend some quality time over the next few months comparing it with my good translation of Das Buch von Guter Speise.

The next book is Relieves de las mesas, acerca de las delicious de la comics y Los deferents platos, a Spanish translation of the 13th C Andalusian cookbook by Ibn Razin al-Tugibi. This one is much more straightforward, except that it is only in Spanish. The original Arabic text is not included – not that I speak or read Arabic. The author (Manuela Marin) is a Spanish academic specializing in the social history aspects of Arabic and Islamic studies, has written a history of food in the Islamic world, and is a member of the executive committee of the the European Institute of Food Hisory, so I’m going to assume that this is a decent translation. This is a very comprehensive cookbook but I hesitate to plunge in because the first recipe I saw when I flipped it open was for rice pudding. I dislike rice pudding.

The final book is Byzantine Cuisine, by Henry Marks, known in the SCA as Demetrios  Misthophoros aka Demetrius il Condiottiero. He was  a Master of the Laurel and one of the founders and first Guild Master of the Calontir Cooks Guild. The book was originally published in 2002 by a company that is no longer in business, and Dr. Marks himself died in 2014. I finally found a copy on EBay, and it was worth the hunt. His articles on Byzantine culture are scattered around the internet and I have found them to be interesting. Byzantine Cuisine is not a translation of any single cookbook, but rather a description of categories of foods, dining customs, some recipe re-creations, and translations of several Byzantine texts with food references in them (all of which are new to me). I have found one blog post that claims Marks was a good translator but not a good recipe writer (based in part on her view that phyllo dough was not used). However, I did a bit of digging myself and found reasonable evidence that baklava-type recipes, and recipes using layers of dough like phyllo did indeed exist in the Turkic and Byzantine worlds. He is also very clear where he moves into the role of speculation due to the lack of detailed information (eg using beaten egg whites as a leavening agent because the recipe for honey cakes makes no mention of anything except flour and honey, and it is reasonable to assume some sort of liquid and a learning agent). On that basis, while I am not prepared to take all the recipes at face value because I can’t read the original documents, I am prepared to use them as a starting point for more research, and make some of them just for fun.


For the record, I just calculated where I am on the 100 Days of A&S challenge, and I am at Day 375. I have completed a full year of doing at least 10 minutes of A&S every single day, and I’m now 10 days into year 2. Go me!