Medieval Soup with Pork and Onions

Italiano

Johannes Bockenheim’s Registrum Coquine is a fascinating cookbook written in the 15th century and collected into two manuscripts clearly written by two copyists, with variations and some different recipes. The author was a German cook who worked in Italy for Pope Martin V. The peculiarity of this book is that the recipes are dedicated to specific groups of people, social classes, and nationalities. Bockenheim’s recommendations are colorful and funny: there are recipes for pimps and prostitutes, priests and laics, princes and peasants.
The recipe that we are preparing today is suggested for women. Though it is not always clear the logic followed by the author, in this case, we can find a plausible explanation in humoral medicine, according to which all things are characterized by various degrees of hotness, coolness, dryness, and humidity. To maintain good health, it is necessary to eat foods that balance the natural temperament of someone, which is naturally characterized by these elements.
The complexion of women is generally considered akin to water, humid and cool, and as a consequence, a suitable food should be dry and hot. This is clearly a simplification: the complexion is not only determined by sex, but also by age, time of the year, and even hour of the day and place in which someone lives. In addition, there are differences in the complexion that are completely personal and may be due to the condition of health and other factors.
In any case, analyzing the ingredients for this recipe, we find out that we obtain a plate more hot and dry than cool and humid, despite the cooking method tending toward humidity. According to De Flore Dietarum (11th century), for instance, pork is hot and humid, vinegar is cool and dry, and onions are hot and dry. The medieval physician Michele Savonarola (between the 14th and the 15th centuries) believes that saffron is hot, and Ugo Benzi, who lived in the same period, writes that it is also dry, whereas the eggs are temperate.
Bockenheim’s recipe is short and a bit unclear. We decided to simmer the onions with the cooked meat, but another option is adding some scallions, finely minced, to the plated dish. We used two onions and 300 grams of meat, but if you prefer to use scallions or raw onions, reduce the quantity to prevent their pungent flavor from overpowering the dish.

Our translation of the Registrum Coquine, accompanied by an introduction, notes about the recipes, and a glossary, is available on Amazon. To know more about medieval food, we recommend Libro de la Cocina. Medieval Tuscan recipes and De Observatione Ciborum. Early-medieval recipes at the court of the Frank. You find further articles and translations of historical sources, among which De Flore Dietarum, on our Patreon page.
For more historical recipes with vegetables, check out Early Italian Recipes. Vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers, which collects many recipes from the Antiquity to the early Modern Era. If you are interested in ancient food, we recommend reading Ancient Roman Cooking. Ingredients, Recipes, Sources.
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Ingredients
300 gr pork collar
2 onions
1 egg
saffron
vinegar
salt

Method
Soak the saffron in warm water. Cut the meat into small pieces and simmer it in salted water for about 40 minutes. Mince the onions and add them to the meat, cooking for another 20 minutes. Beat the egg adding the saffron diluted in water and a bit of vinegar, then add this mixture to the onions and meat. Cook for two minutes and plate the soup.

Original text
Pro mulieribus. Sic prepara carnes porcinas. Recipe eas, et lava bene et mitte ad ignem. Et cum fuerint cocte, mitte superius ova cruda cum croco et cepis et aceto. Et erit bonum pro mulieribus.

Translation
For women. Prepare pork in this way. Wash the meat well, then place it on the fire. Once it is cooked, add on top raw eggs, saffron, onions, and vinegar. It will be good for women.

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Books
Libro de la Cocina by Anonimo Toscano. Medieval Tuscan Recipes
Early Italian Recipes. Vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers
De Observatione Ciborum by Anthimus. Early-medieval recipes at the court of the Franks.
Registrum Coquine by Johannes Bockenheim. A medieval cookbook
Ancient Roman Cooking. Ingredients, Sources, Recipes

Translations of Historical Sources
De Re Coquinaria by Apicius – books 1-9
De Observatione Ciborum by Anthimus (6th century)
Appendicula de Condituris Variis by Johannes Damascenus (8th-9th century)
De Flore Dietarum (11th century)
Tractatus de Modo Preparandi et Condiendi Omnia Cibaria (13th-14th century)
Opusculum de Saporibus by Mainus de Maineris (14th century)
Libro de la Cocina by Anonimo Toscano (14th century)
Anonimo Veneziano (14th century)
Registrum Coquine by Johannes von Bockenheim (15th century)
Libro de Arte Coquinaria by Maestro Martino – first and second part (15th century)

Recipes
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Renaissance Fried Tomatoes
Herbolata
The diet of the Franks – Beef Stew
Fried Chicken Soup
Beef Roast with Garlic Sauce
Bread Soup
Salted Meat and Peas
Baghdadi Rice Cream
Chicken with White-Pepper Sauce – Piperatum Album
Indian Chickpeas and Meat
The Diet of the Franks – Pork Stew
Chestnut and Mushrooms
Lentils with Oregano and Watermint
Egyptian Bread with Pistachios and Almonds
Veal with Fennel-Flower Sauce
Pork Roast with Green Sauce
Eggs Poached in Wine
Brodium Theutonicum
Crispellae – Pancakes with Saffron and Honey
Brodium Sarracenium – Chicken Stew
Fava Beans and Pork
Erbe Minute – Meatballs with Herbs
Lettuce and Pork Soup
Zanzarelli – Egg and Cheese Soup
Turnip and Beef Soup for Servants
Cheese Pasta – Vivanda Bona
Gratonata – Chicken Stew
Chickpea Soup with Poached Eggs
Apple Fritters
Hippocras and Claretum – Mulled Wine
Pastero – Pork Pie
10th-century Goat Roast – A Langobard at the Court of the Byzantine Emperor
Romania – A Recipe Between Arabic and Italian Tradition – Medieval Chicken with Pomegranates
Emperor’s Fritters
Medieval Pizza – The Origin of Pizza
Roast Chicken with Salsa Camellina
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Afrutum or Spumeum – 6th-century Byzantine recipe
A Medieval Breakfast – Wine, Carbonata, and Millet Bread
Salviata – Eggs and Sage
Tria di Vermicelli
Cabbage Soup
Frittelle Ubaldine – Pancakes with Flowers and Herbs
Saffron Cheesecake
Drunken Pork – Early Medieval Pork Stew
Medieval Monk’s Stuffed-Egg Soup
Apple Pie
Onion Soup
Gnocchi
Lentils and Mustard Greens
Chicken soup – Brodo Granato
Turnip Soup
Beans and Bacon – Black-Eyed Peas
Prawn Pie – Pastello de Gambari
Foxtail Millet Polenta and Spit-Roasted Goose
Beef Stew
Blancmange
Leek Soup
Quail Stew with Coconut
Chicken Pie
Ravioli
Almond Cream
Red Mullet Soup
Spit Roast Beef with Arugula Seeds
Walnut Bread
Lasagna
Tripe
Fried Fish
Roast Lamb with Green Sauce
Clams
Sweet and Sour Sardines
Trouts with Green Sauce
Lamb Stew
Quails with Sumac
Chicken with Fennel Flowers
Sea Bream

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