Université de Tours, 3 rue des Tanneurs, Tours
Amphi 4

6 JUIN 2019


Ingredients of the Medieval Cookery (1): A session of the CoReMA program (Cooking Recipes of the Middle Ages / Corpus des Recettes culinaires du Moyen Âge)

10:00 – 11:30

Organisateur: LAURIOUX Bruno (Université de Tours, France)
Modérateur : KLUG Helmut W. (University of Graz, Austria)

Denicolò Barbara (University of Innsbruck, Austria)  

Modern Times? Ingredients in change between the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. Approaches and first results of a long durée analysis on
german cookbooks of the 15th and 16th century.

In the project “‘Von Speis zu kochen’. The cookbooks of the Herzog August Bibliothek between the Middle Ages and modern times (15th – 16th century). Digital Edition and Analysis” will examine possible developments during this period as well as changes in the field of ingredients. The rich Wolfenbüttel collection contains several collections of cooking recipes, some of which are part of collected manuscripts, some are independent manuscripts and most of them have hardly been examined to date. 

Eating and drinking are not only basic physiological needs, but are also always connected with social, cultural, religious or dietary ideas. Therefore, historical cookbooks and recipe collections are rewarding and multi-layered sources for very different cultural, everyday linguistic and material historical questions. In respect to Early New Times research literature postulates a culinary renewal for this period in addition to the many political and cultural upheavals. However, these studies primarily refer to the French-speaking world, and there is very little comparison to the nutritional history of the German-speaking world. Whether the findings coincide is to be investigated.

The aim is therefore to find out whether this period of general upheavals and changes is also reflected in eating habits? Are the changes already observed in previous studies in the course of the late 15th and 16th centuries also detectable in German sources? Do some ingredients disappear and come out of use? Are new foods mentioned? Which and how many spices are used? Are there any changes in the course of the 16th century? Are there “new recipes” or “evergreens” that are known several times from older, widespread manuscripts? Which continuities extend from the texts of the 14th century to the 17th century? Perhaps not so much has changed after all?

The presentation discusses the dissertation project of the speaker. Therefore no systematic evaluations or quantitative data can will be provided at this point, but only a few spot checks and initial observations which will heavily draw from the historic sources.


  • Hieatt, Constance B. (2002). Medieval Britain. In: Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe. A Book of Essays. Melitta Weiss Adamson. New York; London, Routledge: 19-46.
  • Desportes, Francoise (1999). I mestieri dell’alimentazione. In: Storia dell’alimentazione. Jean-Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari. Bari; 1999, La Terza: 336-347.
  • Morineau, Michel (1999). Crescere senza sapere perchè: strutture die produzione, demografia e razioni alimentari. In: Storia dell’alimentazione. Jean-Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari. Bari; 1999, La Terza: 449-464.
  • Huetz de Lemps, Alain (1999). Bevande coloniali e diffusione dello zucchero. In: Storia dell’alimentazione. Jean-Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari. Bari; 1999, La Terza: 490-500.
  • Hyman, Philip / Hyman, Mary (1999). La stampa in cucina: i libri di cucina in Francia tra il XV e il XIX secolo. In: Storia dell’alimentazione. Jean-Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari. Bari; 1999, La Terza: 501-511.
  • Flandrin, Jean-Louis (1999). Scelte alimentari e arte culinaria (Secoli XVI-XVIII). In: Storia dell’alimentazione. Jean-Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari. Bari; 1999, La Terza: 512-53.
  • Tannahill, Reay (1979): Kulturgeschichte des Essens. Von der letzten Eiszeit bis heute. München, Beck.

Böhm Astrid (University of Graz, Austria)

Common and not so common ingredients of German cooking recipes

When it comes to the transmission of medieval eating and cooking habits, only a limited number of written sources are available. If one leaves aside fine literature and concentrates on the technical literature of the time, references to everyday alimentation can be found in the form of recipe texts, in some cases individually but mostly handed down in collections, in travel reports, in stock lists, account books or in the form of menu lists recording special occasions.

Recipe texts convey the possibilities of what might be on the table, while reports such as that of the Landshut wedding of 1475 or the Itinerary of Paolo Santonino (1485-87) bear witness to actual events and what was consumed on such occasions.

In this lecture, these sources will be juxtaposed and the question pursued as to the extent to which the tradition of recipes coincides with that of other sources. Do the insights gained from the recipes concerning ingredients and dishes match those from the reporting of special events? Which ingredients can be found in the recipes and which in the food lists? Are there deviations and how can they be interpreted?

The data from the Corpus of Medieval Cooking Recipes, which currently contains approx. 3350 German-language recipe texts from the late Middle Ages from 35 manuscripts, are used as primary sources. These are compared with other historical sources that mainly focus on the southern area of the German speaking countries: the travelogue of Paolo Santonino (1485-87), the menu of the Landshuter wedding (1475), the menu list of the Munich manuscript Bayerische Staatsbibliothek cgm 8137 (end of 15th century), a menu list from the so-called Tegernseer Wirtschaftsbuch, as well as the menu list of Graz manuscript Universitätsbibliothek, Ms 1609 (end of 15th century), a collected manuscript also from the monastic context. These sources and their historical context will be presented in an overview. The ingredients mentioned in the recipes and lists are examined for their frequency, compared for agreement or deviations and these results are classified with regard to the medieval eating habits and the carriers of tradition.


  • Hörandner, Edith (1981). The Recipe Book as a Cultural and Socio-Historical Document. On the Value of Manuscript Recipe Books as Sources. In: Alexander Fenton & Trefor M. Owen (Eds.), Food in Perspective: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Ethnological Food Research, Cardiff, Wales, 1977. Edinburgh: Donald, pp. 119-144.
  • Montanari, Massimo (Ed.) (2012). A Cultural History of Food in the Medieval Age. London, New York: Berg.
  • Montanari, Massimo (2015). Medieval Tastes: Food, Cooking, and the Table. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.
  • Schulz, Anne (2011). Essen und Trinken im Mittelalter (1000-1300). Literarische, kunsthistorische und archäologische Quellen. Berlin, Boston: de Gruyter.
  • van Winter, Johanna Maria (2007). Spices and comfits. Collected papers on medieval food. Totnes: Prospect Books.
  • Weiss Adamson, Melitta (2004). Food in Medieval Times. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.
  • Weiss Adamson, Melitta (Ed.) (1995). Food in the Middle Ages. A Book of Essays. New York, London: Garland.

Ognibene Daniele (Université de Genève, Suisse)

Economic sources as mirror of the availability of ingredients in the Middle Ages

Food history studies frequently shares knowledge with economical sources, such as precise information about food production, or consumptions and circulation on the local and international market. Among these aspects, one that should be emphasized more by the historiography is the foodstuffs transport. Looking at the bibliographies on food transport, what emerges is that many studies on this topic didn’t aim at all on its implications within the food history field, but rather focus on its economic issues like the transport costs, or perhaps on the food containers typologies and their fiscal implications. From this perspective, food seems nothing more than a normal tradable good, although it has unique qualities that differentiate it from the others products. Foodstuffs have, for example, a limited life cycle during which they evolve, changing their looks and even more their taste. Additionally, they normally required some special care during transport – a fact that the medieval merchants knew well – in order to keep their quality and edibility. Therefore, it would be necessary to reserve special attention on foods not so much as a merely “tradable goods on the road”, but rather as “eno-gastronomic products on the road”. Freeing foodstuffs from a narrow economic view, would allow us to reinterpret foodstuffs transport as a real “vector of gastronomic culture”. The analysis of economic sources, in this way, would help to find out about aspects such as what were the main problems related to food transport, what was the most suitable shipment period, what were the foods preservation techniques during the journey and in what condition and quality did these food arrive at their destination?

Following the most important medieval international trade routes from the origin of certain ingredients to their final destinations at European households will shade light on the market demand of certain foods and spices.  Furthermore, in this way, it would be possible to figure out how the interest about these ingredients grew up from the consumers and how they became a part of several European gastronomical traditions. This journey will even be more exciting with a detailed focus on the conditions of food and implications of food transport. In particular it would be interesting to find out how and where foods were stored during the journey and how merchants could tell if they have kept their freshness and quality or not. Moreover, as has been said before, one other fascinating aspect will be that relating to the evolution of food during the journey, especially for those products that were used to be carried in different evolutionary stage, like wine, that could be shipped in the form of must or soon after the end of fermentation process, or even later, if the wine typology allowed it.


  • Giagnacovo Maria, Appunti di metrologia commerciale genovese: un contributo della documentazione aziendale Datini. Firenze: Firenze University Press, 2015.
  • Tucci Zug Hannelore, Un aspetto trascurato del commercio medievale del vino, Studi in memoria di Federigo Melis, III. Napoli, 1978. 311-348.
  • Pini Ivan Antonio, Alimentazione, trasporti, fiscalità. I “containers” medievali, in Archeologia Medievale, VIII/198, 1985: 173-182.
  • Ognibene Daniele, Prima della tavola il viaggio: vie di uomini e di cibo dal registro di Nello di ser Bartolomeo (1391-1392), In Bologna e il cibo. Percorsi archivistici nel Medioevo della “Grassa”, Antonella Campanini (a cura di), 73-97. Bra: Slowfood editore, 2016.
  • Arn Mary-Jo, The emendation of wine: wine recipes from Beinecke MS 163 (“The Wagstaff Miscellany, The Yale University Library Gazette, Vol 64, No. 3/4, 1990: 109-123.
  • Varanini Gian Maria, Le strade del vino. Note sul commercio vinicolo nel tardo Medioevo (con particolare riferimento all’Italia settentrionale), in La civiltà del vino. Fonti, temi e produzioni vitivinicole dal Medioevo al Novecento, Brescia, Centro culturale artistico di Franciacorta e del Sebino, 2003. 635-663.
  • Lombardi, Daniele, Dalla dogana alla taverna. Il vino a Roma alla fine del Medioevo e gli inediti Statuta comunitatis artis tabernorum Alme Urbis Rome (1481-1482), Roma, Roma nel Rinascimento, 2018.


Ingredients of the Medieval Cookery (2): A session of the CoReMA program (Cooking Recipes of the Middle Ages / Corpus des Recettes culinaires du Moyen Âge)

11:45 – 13:15

Organisateur: KLUG Helmut W. (University of Graz, Austria)
Modérateur : LAURIOUX Bruno (Université de Tours, France)

Pfeffer Wendy (University of Louisville, USA)

Medieval Regionalism: Ingredients in the Modus

The Modus viaticorum preparandorum et salsarum (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, latin 8435, ff. 24v-28v) is found in a manuscript copied on paper, whose watermarks permit a dating of 1380-1390 and a localization in the Languedoc, more specifically, the Toulousain region. The text itself was written in Latin, though with an Occitan flavor. This paper considers specific Occitan vocabulary in the Modus to fix more firmly the text’s legitimacy as a sample of Occitan medieval culinary literature. I conclude that some ingredients in the recipes suggest a text composed close to the Mediterranean; the text’s use of a somewhat rare word, fromatgade, ‘cheesecake,’ makes clear that the Modus has to come from southern France.

Müllers, Fabian (chercheur indépendant, France)

Compter et décompter les recettes médiévales

The cookbooks have multiple interest. Although the lack of cooking time and dosages is a real obstacle to understand or to interpret these recipes. Nevertheless their analysis allows, by counting, to constitute classifications of ingredients or cooking methods. Metadata banks are created to better understand the cooking method and the use of ingredients. It is possible to work on cookbook and to question their content differently, thanks to chronological or geographical classifications. This approach allows toraise innovative questionings to understand the aristocratic diet during the late middle ages. The presentation is in French.

Steiner Cristian (University of Graz, Austria)

Representing historical knowledge on food as Linked Open Data

The core of the digital research strategy within the CoReMa project we is the Semantic Web and its possibilities to link data and thus produce knowledge. Once the collected data is processed and implemented in an appropriate environment, it becomes Linked Open Data (LOD). We are in the comfortable position within the Humanities that we are mainly dealing with food ingredients i.e. animals, plants and fungi, all fields of research that are provided with a sophisticated amount of already established ontologies and Linked Data[1] including the general knowledge bases of Wikidata and DBPedia. Ontologies are also already being successfully used to represent (Dooley et al., 2018, Sam et al., 2014, Ribeiro et al., 2006) and analyze (Hammad and Hassouna, 2011, Vadivu and Waheeta Hopper, 2010) cooking recipes, albeit with different focuses and granularity of data. In our digital research-approach, we partly rely on text similarities but largely on the occurrence of ingredients, preparation instructions and time, tools, serving suggestions and medicinal, cultural as well as religious implications in the texts. The sheer quantity of semantics within one historic recipe shows how complex a semantic annotation of these texts is, leaving apart all philological observations that can be found in the material. Besides the ability to find links between resources that were not known before, a main argument for the decision to put Semantic Web technologies at the core of the project, was to ability to work outside of language barriers. Using concepts in the sense of a notion, an idea rather than a term, we are trying to overcome historical and language constraints. For this reason, we needed to introduce a workflow that reflects the recipes’ philological and semantic complexity. However, as stated above, a crucial point of this process is the human interpretation of the enriched entities and the decision for a concept. Therefore, the auto alignment procedure can only be viewed as a means to an end.


  • Dooley, D. M., Griffiths, E. J., Gosal, G. S., Buttigieg, P. L., Hoehndorf, R., Lange, M. C., Schriml, L. M., Brinkman, F. S. L. and Hsiao, W. W. L. (2018). FoodOn: a harmonized food ontology to increase global food traceability, quality control and data integration. Npj Science of Food, 2(1): 23 doi:10.1038/s41538-018-0032-6.
  • Hammad, R. and Hassouna, M. (2011). Multi-Language Semantic Search Engine. : 6.
  • Ribeiro, R., Batista, F., Pardal, J. P., Mamede, N. J. and Pinto, H. S. (2006). Cooking an Ontology. In Euzenat, J. and Domingue, J. (eds), Artificial Intelligence: Methodology, Systems, and Applications. (Lecture Notes in Computer Science). Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 213–21.
  • Sam, M., Krisnadhi, A. A., Wang, C., Gallagher, J. and Hitzler, P. (2014). An Ontology Design Pattern for Cooking Recipes – Classroom Created.
  • Vadivu, G. and Hopper, S. W. (2010). Semantic Linking and Querying of Natural Food, Chemicals and Diseases. International Journal of Computer Applications, 11(4): 35–38 doi:10.5120/1567-2093


From medieval recipes to cooking : A session of the CoReMA program (Cooking Recipes of the Middle Ages / Corpus des Recettes culinaires du Moyen Âge)


Organisateur: LAURIOUX Bruno (Université de Tours, France)
Modératrice: Pfeffer Wendy (University of Louisville, USA)

KLUG Helmut W. (University of Graz, Austria)

German cooking recipes as part of the medieval medical tradition of the Middle Ages

Medieval medicine incorporates theoretics (theorica: res naturales and res praeter naturam – physiology and pathology) as well as practice (practica: chirurgia and materia medica – surgery and pharmacy). The grounding for both are the so called res non naturales, which in general terms include various aspects of hygiene and dietetics – factors that have a preemptive effect on human health. Thus, medical theory revolved around the preventive maintaining of personal health on the basis of external influences. The combining link between both the aspects of personal health and external influences is the theory of humors, which also has its origin in antiquity. Especially Galenos’ systematization of humors based on their primary qualities and their attribution to the four elements made this medical system popular throughout the Middle Ages. It provides a theoretical construct that bears the potential of explaining all aspects of man, mankind, their environment as well as the interrelation between them all. And above all, it corresponds to the main driving force of these times: christian religion.

    One aspect of these sex res non naturales that influences a person’s health is food and drink (cibus et potus). The interconnection of food and health is convincingly demonstrated in our historical sources. Since Galenos various physicians have commented on the health aspects of foodstuffs. Alimentation is a major aspect of medieval regimen literature. German medieval cooking recipes are generally handed down in composite manuscripts that predominantly contain medical texts and treatises of various sorts for both man and beast.

    The presentation will mainly focus on the latter sources and aims at demonstrating the connection of medieval health awareness and alimentation. German cooking recipe collections before 1500, that make up part of the corpus of the French-Austrian CoReMA project (Cooking Recipes of the Middle Ages: Corpus, Analysis, Visualisation) hint at a close relation of medical theory and food preparation. The collection attributed to a certain Meister Eberhard of Landshut (Augsburg, Universitätsbibliothek, Cod. III.1.2° 43) is a homogeneous blend of cooking and medical recipes as well as dietetic portraits of foodstuff. Anthimus De Observatione Ciborum has been translated into the German vernacular and is handed down in two manuscripts (Salzburg, Stiftsbibliothek St. Peter, Cod. a VI 10 and Vienna, Nationalbibliothek, cod. 2898). Closing comments and explicit references in cooking recipes as well as the combination of ingredients and cooking techniques imply a close relation to the medical theory of that time. Finally, in the turn towards Early New Times the self-perception of cooks starts to reflect their role in the preventive maintaining of personal health through alimentation. Thematic recipe collections and pertinent statements in the introductions to recipe collections can be seen as the written manifestation of a traditional role.


  • Adamson, Melitta Weiss (1995), Medieval dietetics food and drink in “regimen sanitatis” literature from 800 to 1400, ed. Adamson, Melitta Weiss, (German studies in Canada. 5., Frankfurt am Main [u.a.]: Lang) 231.
  • Ehlert, Trude (1990), ‘Wissensvermittlung in deutschsprachiger Fachliteratur des Mittelalters oder: Wie kam die Diätetik in die Kochbücher?’, (Würzburger medizinhistorische Mitteilungen, 8), 137-59.
  • Hirth, Wolfgang (1982), ‘Die Diätetik im Kochbuch des Küchenmeisters Eberhard von Landshut und eine deutsche Regel der Gesundheit nach Arnald de Villanova, in Baader, Gerhard and Gundolf Keil (eds.), Medizin im mittelalterlichen Abendland (Wege der Forschung. 363., Darmstadt: WBG), 275-92.
  • Hofmeister-Winter, Andrea, Helmut W. Klug, and Karin Kranich (eds.) (2014), Der Koch ist der bessere Arzt. Zum Verhältnis von historischer Diätetik und Kulinarik im Mittelalter und in der Frühen Neuzeit. Frankfurt am Main [u.a.]: Lang.

Poirier Corentin (Université de Tours, France)

Ecrire les procédés culinaires en latin au Moyen Âge
Writing culinary process in latin during the middle ages

The culinary recipe formalizes the sequence of steps in the preparation of the ingredients that is required for the elaboration of a dish. The medieval cookbooks that contain them are privileged evidences to apprehend them. The first known cookbook of the Middle Ages entitled Diversa genera pictaviensium salsamentorum, dates from 12th century and is written in Latin. Others latin cookbooks will follow until the 15th century at least and spread in the medieval West, revealing textual traditions well identified today. The Liber de coquina, the Tractatus de modo preparandi et condiendi omnia cibaria or the Registrum coquina emerge alongside the cookbooks more numerous in vernacular languages. In this context, the main point of my phd dissertation is to understand how cookery is written in Latin in the Middle Ages through the identification by specific terms of the gestures and techniques used by the cooks. I analyze them in order to grasp the setting up of the writing of culinary processes and terms that translate them and their evolution.  I underline the writing of the recipes themselves both in their syntax, in their rhetoric and in their content. This communication will be in French, with a presentation support in English.


LAURIOUX Bruno (Université de Tours, France)

From recipes to banquet and vice-versa. A research project on a diner given by

 Gaston de Foix to Hungarian ambassadors (Tours, 1457)

On 1457, at the abbey of Saint Julien in Tours, Gaston IV, Count of Foix and one of the main counselors of king Charles the VIIth gave a diner to honor the Hungarian Ambassadors who came in Tours to negotiate the marriage of their king, Ladislas, with Madeleine, the daughter of French king. Thanks to the crossed relations written by chroniclers from French and Hungarian as well as Burgundian and Foix courts, we know the menu and have a precise description of the musical and theatrical entremets that was offered to the guests. This banquet was indeed a “total feast”, which required using of view and hearing as well as taste: its study links political and food history with sensory studies. To understand the multiple dimensions of this event, a multidisciplinary team was created in the CESR research laboratory. The first workshop, which was recently organized, highlighted an unexpected development: the concrete restitution of the dishes that had been served during the 1457 banquet. Through a controlled process of reenactment, the historians and other scientists are able not only to resurrect some culinary and food practices but to integrate these practices to the academic research itself.     


Le Banquet: Manger, boire et parler ensemble (XIIe-XVIIe siècles), éd. Bruno Laurioux, Agostino Paravicini Bagliani & Eva Pibiri,  Firenze, SISMEL-Galluzzo (Micrologus’ Library), 2018

Emile Haraszti, « Une fête de paon à Saint-Julien de Tours en 1457 », dans Mélanges d’histoire et d’esthétique musicales offerts à Paul-Marie Masson, t. I, Paris, 1955, p. 127-145

[1] For an overview of ontologies covering these topics see,,,, all of which are connected to the Linked Open Date Cloud by proving its data in one or more serializations of OWL and/or RDF(S). 

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