Medieval and Early Modern Cookery

Online Culinary History Network   An online research library and network of historical culinary texts, dating from earliest times to the year 1700.  Includes a chronological list of surviving texts.  In progress.

Online Cookbooks  Useful collection of links to webbed versions of medieval culinary texts in their original languages and in translation.

Livres de cuisine en Europe médiévale   A very useful survey of medieval European culinary texts.  Click here for surveys of the texts arranged chronologically or  by country or language.  Part of a French food site called Maître Chiquart.

 The Foods of England project  Aims to present “Every traditional dish, every original receipt, every classic cookbook.”  Currently includes cookbooks from c. 1390 to the 1960s, and thousands of individual recipes.  In progress.

Cindy Renfrow, Glossary of Medieval and Renaissance Culinary Terms  Extremely useful; in progress.  Click here for a similar  medieval culinary glossary in Dutch  (with English translations), compiled by Ria Jansen-Sieben, Elly Cockx-Indestege, and others.  Click here for a very useful glossary of  medieval Italian and English culinary terms.

Historische Kochbücher, Originalrezepte und kulinarische Texte vor 1600 online  German site with links to online medieval and early modern cookery texts, arranged by language.  There is an archived version of the earlier, fuller, site at: .

Portal der Pflanzen des Mittelalters (Medieval Plant Survey)  German-language site, with limited introduction in English.  Provides brief descriptions of 57 manuscripts containing cookery collections in Middle High German, together with access to many of the texts (some 2725 culinary recipes, as of May 2011).  The culinary recipes are word-searchable, but only by registered users (registration is free).  There are also databases of medieval depictions of plants, and of vernacular plant names (currently Old English, Modern English, Old High German, Middle High German, and New High German).  In progress.

 Thomas Gloning, Monumenta Culinaria et Diaetetica Historica (Corpus of culinary & dietetic texts of Europe from the Middle Ages to 1800)  Previously based at the University of Marburg; from September 2006 at the University of Vienna.  Important electronic collection of medieval culinary and dietetic texts, many of them in German.

Compare Diet  Website that compares historic and modern dietetic regimens, including Hippocratic, Ayurvedic, Chinese, medieval European, and modern American.  In French.

William Rothwell, Articles on Anglo-Norman food vocabulary   Online versions of articles originally published in linguistics journals.

British Library website on Medieval Food  Part of a BL website called “Books for Cooks.”  Features photographs, transcriptions and modern English translations of  Middle English cookery manuscripts in the library’s collection, and descriptions of the food of the period. See also the associated websites on  1500s Food, 1600s Food, 1700s Food, 1800s Food, and 1900s Food.  Unfortunately, the transcriptions and translations of the medieval texts are full of errors, and there are similar errors in the transcriptions of the 16th-century texts.  No translations are provided to post-medieval texts.

Tom Jaine (ed.), Glossary of 17th- and 18th-century English cooking terms   Composite of glossaries originally prepared by Elizabeth David, Alan Davidson, Caroline Davidson, and Jaine himself to accompany reprints of early modern cookbooks.  An outstanding resource.

Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages  An exceptionally useful online encyclopedia of herbs and spices.  In English or German.

Spices in Medieval Europe  Brief but useful discussion of the major medieval spices, with comments on their use in medieval recipe collections.  Part of the “Maître Chiquart” Web site.  In English.

John Munro, “The Consumption of Spices and Their Costs in Late-Medieval and Early-Modern Europe: Luxuries or Necessities?”   Includes graphs on the prices of spices, and their affordability on a master craftsman’s wages in 15th-century London.

Viking foods  Useful, fully-documented discussion of the Viking diet and Viking cookery, with a few sample recipes adapted for modern kitchens, by Christie Ward.  In English.

Ivan Day’s website (  Excellent photos, recipes, links, and information concerning medieval-Edwardian British cookery, and how to make it.

Karl Hagen, “The Economics of Medieval English Brewing” Brief essay on the fundamentals of medieval ale-brewing, with an appended handout on the granary account of the brewhouse of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, for 1286.

Martyn Cornell, “How to Brew Like an Anglo-Norman Knight”  Very brief essay on thirtheenth-century ale-brewing, as described in Walter de Bibbesworth’s Treatiz.  Includes the relevant section of Bibbesworth’s rhymed text and a translation, originally published in The Curiosities of Ale and Beer (1886) by “John Bickerdyke” (the collective pseudonym of Charles Henry Cook, John Greville Fennel, and J. M. Dixon.)