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Medieval Poultry, or A Recipe and a Battle Scene

Medieval Poultry, or A Recipe and a Battle Scene

By Danielle Mead Skjelver

The Danish siege of Old Älvsborg Fortress in 1502, in a war between King Hans' Danish army and Sten Sture the Elder's Swedish army. Drawing from c. 1502 by the German soldier of fortune (Landsknecht) Paul Dolnstein, who himself participated in the Danish army. Photo: Swedish National Heritage Board / Flickr

The Danish siege of Old Älvsborg Fortress in 1502, in a war between King Hans’ Danish army and Sten Sture the Elder’s Swedish army. Drawing from c. 1502 by the German soldier of fortune (Landsknecht) Paul Dolnstein, who himself participated in the Danish army. Photo: Swedish National Heritage Board / Flickr

What follows is not precisely scholarly, but it is one of those delightful byproducts of scholarly work that feed our curiosity. A few years ago, I was working with a German mercenary’s sketchbook. In the top right corner of one of his sketches, in a different hand there was a recipe for pigeon. Someone had decided to use the sketch below as scratch paper, or had used this recipe in military circles and wished to associate it with this particular sketchbook. Given that the recipe suggests using either urine or salt water, it seems safe to assume that this may have been used on military campaigns where one was plentiful and the other perhaps not.

This recipe does not produce a strong flavor. It simply brings out the bird’s natural flavors while the juices are retained in the meat with a crisp skin on the outside. It is excellent.

Below are:

  • the recipe as I used it
  • a picture of the finished product with chicken
  • the full sketch of the 1502 Siege of Älvsborg, Sweden
  • the raw transcription of the recipe (Not every word is legible.)
  • the remaining text from the sketch.

Click here to read this article from Academia.edu

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