Books News

The Medieval Cookbook and The Classical Cookbook published in revised editions

The Getty Museum and British Museum have published two cookbooks for those wanting to try recipes dating back to the Middle Ages or ancient times. The Medieval Cookbook, by food hisorian Maggie Black offers collection of medieval recipes, but a social history of the time. This revised edition has eighty recipes, drawn from the earliest English cookbooks of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, are presented in two formats: the original Middle English version and one adapted and tested for the modern cook.

The author also describes the range of available ingredients in medieval times and the meals that could be prepared from them—from simple daily snacks to celebratory feasts—as well as the preparation of the table, prescribed dining etiquette, and the various entertainments that accompanied elite banquets. Each chapter presents a series of recipes inspired by a historical event, a piece of literature, or a social occasion. Here we find descriptions of the grilled meats consumed by William the Conqueror’s invading forces; the pies and puddings enjoyed by the pilgrims in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales; and the more sumptuous fare served at royal feasts and Christmas celebrations.


Meanwhile, fifty recipes from the ancient world are presented in a fresh, new design alongside reproductions of ancient wall paintings, mosaics, vases, and household objects in this newly revised edition of The Classical Cookbook, by Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger. Originally published in 1996, this was the first book about ancient dining to draw from both Greek and Roman writings. Each chapter describes a different social gathering and the food that might have been served on such an occasion. From a menu inspired by Homer’s Odyssey in 700 B.C., to the offerings at a typical Greek symposium or drinking party in fourth century Athens, to the special treats at a Macedonian wedding feast, the recipes presented here suggest the true variety of food and social life in the ancient Mediterranean. Each original recipe is followed by a version for today’s cook.

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Source: Getty Museum