Renaissance Village Cooking Guide: Gulf Wars Cookbook

This year at Gulf Wars we will have a cooking demo on Monday from 10am until around lunch when the demo participants can feast on the things they made. In compiling recipes to make over a fire at camp I’ve made a few posts. In this one I’m putting the top recipes I hope we can attempt.

Cooking Demo Menu ecru

I’m so excited that Doug from Tosten’s Pots will join us to teach how to cook in a clay pot!

giata serving at gulf wars lunch salon dupont
Gulf Wars Feasting!

There was no country called Italy in the Middle Ages. There was a peninsula, divided into small counties and duchies, and the Vatican of course. But the Italian (regional) kitchen had already those characteristics it still has today. Sources for these recipes are linked throughout the post and also listed at the end.

cadoro 17


[55] Another preparation.  Set lentils to cook with fresh or salted pork, and serve them, but in this case without eggs and cheese. (Libro della Cocina)

Sage Sauce (for meat)

LXXXII – Sauce good for meat of mutton or of kid. The best sauce that you can make if this meat is boiled or roasted. Take the fat meat well cooked and well beaten and mash in a mortar with enough leaves of parsley and mint and sage and rosemary and other good herbs that you may have and mix with this meat and put cinnamon and cloves and pepper and temper this sauce with the most fine vinegar that you have. (Libro de Cucina, Anonimo Veneziano)

Cold Sage [Sauce for chicken] – Take your chicken, cook it in water, and put it to cool. Crush ginger, cassia flowers, grains of paradise and cloves, without sieving. Crush bread, parsley and sage, with a bit of saffron in the greens (if you wish it to be bright green), and strain through cheesecloth. Some sieve into it hard cooked egg yolks steeped in vinegar. Cut your chicken into halves, quarters or limbs, and put them on plates with the sauce on top. If there were hard cooked eggs, cut them into bits with a knife and not with the hand. (Medieval Cookery [Le Viandier de Taillevent])

Cormarye (Roast Pork Loin)

Take Colyandre, Caraway smale grounden, Powdour of Peper and garlec ygrounde in rede wyne, medle alle þise togyder and salt it, take loynes of Pork rawe and fle of the skyn, and pryk it wel with a knyf and lay it in the sawse, roost þerof what þou wilt, & kepe þat þat fallith þerfro in the rosting and seeþ it in a possynet with faire broth, & serue it forth witþ þe roost anoon. (Forme of Cury)

Scappi 2.14. Steak and Sour Orange Juice.

(Redaction of my friend Billy Ginocchio) The recipe is #14 In Book 2. It calls for loin. I use tenderloin. Sirloin would work well too. It’s not loin, but a flat iron steak would work too. Pound out the beef to about 1/2″ thick. Sprinkle with white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and ground cinnamon. Stack them in a plastic bag to marinate for about 2-3 hours. Grill them, let them rest, then drizzle them with juice of bitter oranges. (Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi)

Pasta Tagliatelle.

Work two pounds of flour, three eggs and warm water into a dough, kneading it on a table for a quarter of an hour. Roll it out thin with a pin and let the sheet of dough dry a little. With a cutting wheel trim away the irregular parts, the fringes. When it has dried, though not too much because it would break up, sprinkle it with flour through the sifter so it will not stick. Then take the rolling pin and, beginning at one end, wrap the whole sheet loosely onto the pin, draw the pin out and cut the rolled-up dough crosswise with a broad, thin knife. When they are cut, broaden them. Let them dry out a little… (Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi at Coquinaria)


[147] Take good, white flour; dilute it with warm water, and make it thick; then roll it out thin and let it dry: it must be cooked in capon or other fat meat broth: then put it on a platter with grated rich cheese, layer by layer, as you like. (Libro della Cocina XIV, Anonimo Toscano)

Salat of Greens.

In a redaction of the recipe  you take assorted greens (kale, spinach, etc.), leeks, parsley, herbs such as sage and thyme, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Wash the greens separately then mix together. Dress with oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. (Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi)

Salat of Asparagus.

In three ways have I seen asparagus eaten. First boiled then chopped into pieces and beaten with eggs, and made into omelets with oil or lard. Eaten in broth with fat broth, but dressed with cheese and eggs. And put to cook in water and leaves it in a space, but little boiling give it, and divide it with care from water [dry it well] and serve it as a salad dressed, either with the ordinary condiments (i.e. vinegar, oil and salt) or in the place of vinegar with sour orange juice or lemon juice and with pepper, and it will be more flavorful, and this is the ordinary way one eats the asparagus. (Archidipno overo dell’insalata e dell’vso di essa, Salvatore Massoni)


Get broccoli between February and the end of March, with its leaves removed. Take the tenderest part of it that has not flowered. Boil salted water. With the broccoli done up into little bunches, put it into that boiling water. Do not overcook it but take it out and put it into dishes. Then get boiling oil and drip it hot with a spoon over the broccoli, adding oange juice, pepper and a little of the broth in which it was cooked. Serve it hot because otherwise it is no good. You can also sauté a crushed clove of garlic in the oil to flavour the broccoli.
Whenever you need to hold it back for an hour or two, put it into cold water after it was parboiled and leave it there until you want to recook it. Green broccoli is kept the same way and it will not take on a bad smell. It is served in the above way.

Elderflower Fritters.

XXVIITake elder flowers and put them to soak in water and let them become very soft, then take out the flowers and grind them well.  Add a little bit of wheat flour and temper with eggs and with the milk in which you soaked the flowers.  Then have a frying pan with enough oil inside and fry them.  When they are cooked cover them with a trivet (to keep in the heat) and they are good. (Libro de Cucina, Anonimo Veneziano)



Boiled noodles do appear in the Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century, proving the introduction of pasta in Spain. Forme of Cury, the seminal 14th Century English text, contains several recipes for lasagne variants. There are several mentions of buckwheat or rye flour noodles in 14th Century Polish cuisine. At least one recipe appears in the 15th Century Spanish cookbooks (deNola), and many different kinds of pasta are included in various Italian works, including Epulario, Platina, and the Neapolitan Collection. Platina lists numerous recipes, including Roman noodles, grain noodles, Sicilian macaroni, and vermicelli, noting that once dried, “they will last two or more years”!

Pasta was a… specialty of Mediterranean regions, a natural product of a wheat-based agriculture. It was used both dried and fresh – the dried pasta was generally bought from a merchant, the fresh pasta prepared at home. Pasta was known in Sicily from at least the 11th Century, and by the 14th Century was commercially available in several forms. Macaroni and lasagne were made from semolina, the less expensive versions from wheat flour. In medieval Florence, pasta makers (lasagnati) had their own guild; their product came in sheets 3 to 4 cm. wide (about 1.5 inches), with one edge crinckled. Even the Medieval era, Italy seems to have had more forms of pasta than its neighbors, and the terminology reflected this variety. The term “lasagne” was applied principally to fresh pasta, while commercial pasta was known as vermicelli, macaroni, fidelli, and tria… In one of the tales of the Decameron, Boccaccio describes the mythical land of Bengodi, where people do nothing but cook macaroni and ravioli in chicken stock, and dig into the nearby mountain of grated parmesan when they want to eat.”

Weird Pasta Fact #1: it may have led directly to the popularity of the fork. According to The Medieval Kitchen, the fork was in use from the 14th Century in taverns and manors alike, for eating pasta. Eating food with the fingers and a knife had been common practice, but eating pasta this way is difficult. Initially, a pointed stick was used to eat hot pasta, but the fork was eminently more practical.

These might also be ones you are interested in for your own camp: 

The following recipes are from Libro Della Cocina – Anonimo Toscano translated by Ariane Helou at



[1] To make white cabbages, well cooked.  Take stalks of cabbage, and clean them well, so that nothing is left of the leaves; and cut them at the softest part of the head: and when the pot has come to a boil, with oil and water inside, add said stalks, or rather the white parts of the cabbages, and add fennel bulbs, and let all of it boil until it is rather thick.  And if you want, you can put in oil, or meat or capon broth, pepper, ground spices, beaten eggs, saffron for color; and give it to your Lord.


[15] Take mustard greens and boil them in water; and throw away the water, fry them in a pan with oil and salt, or rather set them to cook with meat.


[22] Take onions sliced and washed well in hot water, and set them to cook with meat and cheese, pepper, and saffron; and then add beaten eggs, pepper and saffron, if you like, and spices on the plate.


[36] Take red or white chickpeas; and, when they are softened, cook them with pepper, and with saffron, and with savory herbs.  And when these things are cooked, put part of it in a mortar and grind it to make it thick, and add some flavorful broth, and then add whole roasted chestnuts, and parsley roots and meat broth; or instead of this preparation, you can cook them with meat, if you like.

Chicken in lemon sauce.

[97] Fry chickens with lard and onions, and grind some unrefined starch (amido non mondo) and dilute it with pork broth, and strain it, and cook it with said chickens and spices.  And if you do not have starch, thicken the broth with egg yolks; and when it is near the time to serve it, put in lemon juice, bitter orange or citron juice.


[147] Take good, white flour; dilute it with warm water, and make it thick; then roll it out thin and let it dry: it must be cooked in capon or other fat meat broth: then put it on a platter with grated rich cheese, layer by layer, as you like. (Libro della Cocina XIV, Anonimo Toscano)

Dulcamine, that is, fritters not for Lent.

[145] Take flour diluted with eggs and water and roll it out thin; cut it in the shape of leaves or figs, or as you like, and fry in plenty of lard or oil; and once cooked put boiled honey on it, and eat.

To cook a roast quickly and well.

[178] Take coals and cook with these; and when they are burning well pour some wine on them, and they will last more and more fiery.  And also take oil and lard well ground and chopped, mix them together and baste the meat with this.

To make verjuice or alligar.

[184] Take tartar, that is the lees of white wine: grind it well, cook it with wine or water, and it will be verjuice.



Anonimo Toscano XIV Original Text –


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