A Spring Celebration of Platina's On Right Pleasure and Good Health

Lady Andrea MacIntyre

"There is an order to be observed in taking food, since everything that moves the bowels and whatever is of light and slight nourishment, like apples and pears, is more safely eaten in the first course. I even add lettuce and whatever is served with vinegar and oil, raw or cooked. Then there are the eggs, especially the soft cooked kind, and certain sweets which we call bellaria, seasoned with spices and pine nuts, or honey, or sugar. These are served very appropriately to guests."

Primo:

De Lactucis Conditis Seasoned Salad
De Cucumeribus Cucumbers
De Persico et De Cerasis Peaches and Cherries
Bellaria Pine nut Candy

"But now it is time to pass on to that course which I call the second and more important for it concerns meats which nourish better and more healthfully than other food... Not only fowl and wild animals keep the palate busy, but even certain non animal things, such as pulse, mushrooms, and truffles, likewise some herbs, both garden variety and wild, which are placed among the vegetables by philosophers."

Secundus:

Crusta ex Cicuribus Chicken Pie
Succidia in Came Cuts of Pork
Esicium Romanum Roman Noodles
De Fungis Mushrooms
Torta Bononiensis Bolognese Pie
De Placentis Fennel Buns

"A bit of very hard cheese is thought to seal the stomach and stop vapors from seeking the head and brain. Also it easily takes away squeamishness arising from too fat or sweet a meal.... In addition, the eating of quince, pomegranate, especially the sour, and of all things which are astringent, like pulse and pistachios, is not frowned upon. Either almonds or hazelnuts or other nuts ought to be eaten after fish because they are thought to repress the cold and damp force of fish with their dryness."

Tertia:

De Caseo Cheese
Pistaciorum Pistachios
Amygdalae Almonds

The recipes

  1. Seasoned Lettuce

    "They say the divine Augustus was preserved in the time of ill health by the use of lettuce, and no wonder, because it aids digestion and generates better blood than other vegetables. It is eaten cooked or raw. You season raw lettuce this way if it does not need washing, for that is more healthful than what has been washed in water; put it in a dish, sprinkle with ground salt, pour in a little oil and more vinegar and eat at once."

  2. Cucumbers

    "The two previous varieties are eaten cut up in pieces with salt, oil and vinegar, once the rind has been removed and the seeds dug out. Some sprinkle spices on them after they have been cut up in pieces to repress their chill."

    * I sprinkled them with dill to "repress their chill".

  3. Peaches

    "Eaten ripe, however, and as a first course they induce appetite, move the urine, lubricate the bowels, and remedy bad breath."

    Cherries

    "Tart ones cut phlegm, repress yellow bile, quench thirst, and stimulate the appetite."

  4. Bellaria

    "Certain sweets which we call bellaria, seasoned with spices and pine nuts, or honey, or sugar."

    I used raisins as well, taken from another recipe found in this book.

  5. Chicken Pie

    "If you want a crust with chicks and any sort of bird, first boil them. When they are almost cooked, take them out of the kettle, and when they are out, cut them in pieces, and fry in a frying pan with plenty of lard. Then pour them out into a pan or well oiled earthen pot lined with a crust. Add plums and cherries or sour fruit to this mixture without harm. Then beat with a paddle verjuice and eight eggs, if you are having more guests, or fewer, with a few, with a moderate amount of juice. With this mix parsley, marjoram, and mint chopped as fine as possible with a knife, and place on a fire but far from the flame, for it must boil slowly. Meanwhile it ought to be stirred with a spoon as long as needed until it cover the spoon with a thick coating. Finally, pour this juice over the crust and put it on the fire, even if it is a meat pie. When it is cooked, serve to your guests. It will be very nourishing, digest slowly, and leave little indigestible residue, repress bile, and irritate the chest."

    * I plan to liquefy this mixture and then add to chicken next time.

  6. Cuts of Pork

    "Cut in pieces salt meat layered with lard. When it is cut up, fry in a frying pan, but not too much. Once fried, sprinkle it with vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, and finely cut parsley. The same can even be done for ham and sowbelly..."

    * Used a less salted cut of pork and cut into slices

  7. Roman Noodles

    "Blend meal which has been separated from chaff with water in the best way. When it has been blended, spread it out on a board and roll it with a rounded and oblong piece of wood such as bakers are accustomed to use in such a trade. Then when it has been drawn out to the width of a finger, cut it. It is so long you would call it a fillet. It ought to be cooked in rich and continually boiling broth, but if, at the same time, it must be cooked in water, put in butter and salt. When it is cooked, it ought to be put in a pan with cheese, butter, sugar, and sweet spices."

    * Used thinner noodles today. Will use lasagna style next time.

  8. Mushrooms

    "It is allowed in cooking, when it please the gluttonous, to use certain recipes. They have to be cooked with that juicy part of the stalk by which they cling to earth, first in water with bread crumbs and then with pears and the shoots and stems of pears. Some put in garlic, which is thought to counteract poisons."

  9. Bolognese Pie

    "Cut up and grind as much rich cheese as I suggested for a white pie. When it is ground, add chard, parsley, marjoram, washed and cut up, four well beaten eggs, crushed pepper, a little saffron, a lot of fat or fresh butter, and mix with your hands until it almost makes a single mass. Put this on the hearth, similarly in an earthenware pot with an under crust. When it is semi cooked, put in an egg beaten with saffron so it seems more colored. Consider it cooked when it raises the upper crust."

  10. Fennel Buns

    "The same baker should mix as much flour with warm water as is enough to make a bun and then put into the mixture fennel seeds and chopped bits of lard, or butter, and mix again as long as necessary to bring it all into a single mass, Then he should press it into a round shape with his hands and put it in the oven with the bread, or he may bake it on a hearth under a lid covered with ashes and coals."

    * I plan to use this recipe in a cooking class I am teaching to children at this Pennsic.

  11. Cheese

    "They say a small amount, whatever you want, taken after a meal, when it seals the opening of the stomach, both takes away the squeamishness of fatty dishes and benefits digestion and head."

  12. Pistachios

    "Pistachios are similar to filberts. Doctors use them in drugs. They have almost the same uses as pine kernels, especially for snake bite, for they are bitter and astringent in quality and are for that reason believed to be good for the stomach."

All recipes and direct quotes are taken from Platina: On Right Pleasure and Good Health, 1468. Page and recipe numbers can be provided if interested.

I received this book recently and having the time, the inclination, and the Ostgardr Commons meeting at my house, I decided to have those attending Commons taste-test some of these recipes for future events. As I usually cook in the manner of 15th century French and English cooking, it was a new experience. I look forward to upgrading these to larger groups at an appropriate event in the future.

In service to my art,
Andrea MacIntyre


This page was selected as the Gode Cookery Site of the Month for August, 2000.