Volume 10, Issue 2: The Puritan Eye
To Prepare a Most Honorable Feast
Maistre Chiquart (A.D. 1420)
First, God permitting to be held a most honorable feast at which are kings, queens, dukes, duchesses, counts, countesses, princes, princesses, marquis, marquises, barons, baronesses and lords of lower estate, and nobles also a great number, there are needed, for the ordinary cookery and to make the feast honorably, to the honor of the lord who is giving the said feast, the things which follow.
And first: one hundred well-fattened cattle, one hundred and thirty sheep, also well fattened, one hundred and twenty pigs; and for each day during the feast, one hundred little piglets, both for roasting and for other needs, and sixty salted large well fattened pigs for larding and making soups.
And for this the butcher will be wise and well-advised if he is well supplied so that if it happens that the feast lasts longer than expected, one has promptly what is necessary; and also, if there are extras, do not butcher them so that nothing is wasted.
And there should be for each day of the feast two hundred kids and also lambs, one hundred calves, and two thousand head of poultry.
And you should have your poulterers, subtle, diligent, and wise, who have forty horses for going to various places to get venison, hares, conies, partridges, pheasants, small birds (those which they can get without number), river birds (those which one can obtain), pigeons, cranes, herons, and all wild birds—what one can find of whatever wild birds. And they should provide for each day of the said feast six thousand eggs.
Again, for the said feast there should be provided two charges [about 320 pounds] of the major spices, that is white ginger, Mecca ginger, cinnamon, grains of paradise, and pepper.
The minor spices: of nutmeg six pounds, of cloves six pounds, of mace six pounds, and of galingale six pounds; again, 30 loaves of sugar, 25 pounds of saffron, 6 charges of almonds, one charge of rice, 30 pounds of amydon, 12 baskets of candied raisins, 12 baskets of good candied figs, 8 baskets of candied prunes, a quintal [about 110 pounds] of dates, 40 pounds of pine nuts, 18 pounds of turnsole, 18 pounds of alkanet. . . . And again, there should be for the said feast two hundred boxes of sugar-spice pellets of all sorts and colors to put on potages. And if the feast lasts longer one will thus be provided with extra.
And in order to better prepare the said feast without reprehension or fault, the house-stewards, the kitchen masters, and the master cook should assemble and come together three or four months before the feast to put in order, visit, and find good and sufficient space to do the cooking, and this space should be so large and fine that large working sideboards can be set up in such fashion that between the serving sideboards and the others the kitchen masters can go with ease to pass out and receive the dishes.
And for this there should be provided large, fair, and proper cauldrons for cooking large meats, and other medium ones in great abundance for making potages and doing other things necessary for cookery, and great hanging pans for cooking fish and other necessary things, and large common pots in great abundance for making soups and other things, and a dozen fair large mortars; and check the space for making sauces; . . .
And so that the workers are not idle, and so that they do not lack for anything, there should be delivered funds in great abundance to the said kitchen masters to get salt, pot-vegetables and other necessary things which might be needed, which do not occur to me at present. . . .
And if it happens that the feast is held in winter you will need for the kitchen for each night sixty torches, twenty pounds of wax candles, sixty pounds of tallow candles for visiting the butchers' place, the pastry-cooks' place, the place for the fish, and all the doings of the kitchen.
And for the making of pastry there should be a large and fair building close to the kitchen which can be made for two large and fair ovens for making meat and fish pastries, tarts, flans and talmoses, ratons, and all other things which are necessary for doing cooking.
And for this the said workers should be provided with 30 sommes [about 412 gallons] of best wheat flour for the aforesaid needs, and should be sure of getting more if the feast lasts longer.
And because, by the pleasure of the blessed and holy Trinity, the which without fail gives us amply of all good things, we have good and fair and great provisions for making our feast grandly, it is necessary for us to have master cooks and workers to make dishes and subtleties for the said feast; and if it happens that one is not provided with the said cooks and workers, one should send a summons to places where one can find them so that the said feast can be handled grandly and honorably. m
Translated by Elizabeth Cook. Excerpted from Cariadoc's Miscellany, copyright by David Friedman and Elizabeth Cook, 1988, 1990,1992. http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/