Thursday, November 27, 2014

Etiquette and Turkey for a 17th Century Princely House

The first known turkey depicted in Marx Rumpolt’s, 1604 "Ein New Kochbuch" cookbook. The cookbook had about 20 recipes for the "Indianishen henn" 

Turkeys, native to the Americas, most likely arrived in Germany by 1530 and quickly became an important food. Marx Rumpolt’s Ein New Kochbuch includes about twenty recipes for Indianishen henn in the section on birds, which includes recipes for eagle, ostrich, peacock, ducks, geese, starlings, swallows, and other sorts of small birds.

What is notable here is the woodcut illustration of the bird itself, attributed to Virgil Solis, believed to be the first known image of a turkey in any cookbook. It is interesting that in this, and many other early cookbooks, the illustrations are of the actual, “raw” ingredient, and not of the finished dish, as they appear in most modern cookbooks.

The recipes using turkey are relatively simple, such as turkey dumplings (basically meat-balls), turkey meat in pastry, and turkey broth. Rumpolt advises a cook to use all parts of the bird, including the gizzard, liver, intestines, and blood.
Johann Adam von Bicken was the Prince Elector of Mainz from 1601 to 1604. In the Roman Catholic hierarchy, the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz was the Primate of Germany (primas Germaniae), a purely honorary dignity that was unsuccessfully claimed from time to time by other Archbishops. There were only two other ecclesiastical Prince-electors in the Empire: the Electorate of Cologne and the Electorate of Trier."Kurfürstentum Mainz," (also known by its French name, Mayence), was the most prestigious of the most influential states of the Holy Roman Empire from the time of its creation to the dissolution of the HRE in the early years of the 19th century.
Little is known about the book’s author,other than what he wrote about himself in the cookbook. Rumpolt claimed to be Hungarian by birth and to have worked as a chef in many countries; on the title page, he is identified as a private cook to the Prince Elect of Mainz.

The volume begins with a description of the different tasks for servants, including the cook, in a princely house, followed by a section of banquet menus for royalty, different levels of nobility, the bourgeois, and farmers. The recipe section contains about 2000 recipes arranged into chapters for meat from domestic and wild animals, poultry, fish, side dishes, pastry, soups, and conserves.

Source ~ Cabinet of Culinary Curiosities:  Books & 
Manuscripts from the Mortimer Rare Book Room