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I always had an interest for recipes from ancient ages (ancient Greece, Roman empire) and middle ages (i.e. after the fall of the Roman empire until the Renaissance). It's nice to experience what people who lived hundreds of years ago ate daily, or in special circumstances.

Does anyone know books or similar resources to propose on this regard ?

Thank you!

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This should be closed since it is about recipes. Please refer to the FAQ. –  Zombies Mar 8 '11 at 15:22
    
@Zombies: Questions on cookbooks and recipe resources (web sites, etc.) are fine in principle and we have a few of them, and this is certainly an obscure enough cooking topic to justify it being separate from the general cookbook list. The criteria for a recipe request is fairly straightforward; a question is considered to be one when the expected (or only) answers would be recipes. See also: What types of recipe questions are allowed? –  Aaronut Mar 8 '11 at 15:44

7 Answers 7

up vote 12 down vote accepted

If you're looking for books, you could try "Roman Cookery" by Mark Grant or "The Classical Cookbook" by Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger for ancient Roman food, or "The Philosopher's Kitchen" by Francine Segan, which combines ancient Greek and Roman cuisine. Many of these recipes are derived from the works of Apicius, but are not solely based on his writings. "Roman Cookery" has been praised for getting beyond just Apicius (the best known resource on Ancient Roman cuisine), but also may be harder to find than the other two.

For Medieval cooking you might try "The Medieval Cookbook" by Maggie Black, which focuses on English and French recipes, or "Pleyn Delit" by Butler, Heiatt, and Hosington. Black's book was inspired by "Pleyn Delit" and the two books are somewhat similar, so you might want to only choose one, depending on your interest. Another good choice might be "The Medieval Kitchen" by Redon, Sabban, and Serventi (translated to English by Edward Schneider), which focuses on French and Italian cuisine in the era before New World ingredients were introduced, which sounds like what you're looking for.

All of these books include a lot of history and discussion of ingredients and cooking techniques of these eras, and often include original texts so you can judge for yourself how close the interpretations are to the original recipes.

On the web there are a number of sites devoted to Apicius and ancient ingredients and recipes.
For Roman you might browse this page:

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~mjw/recipes/ethnic/historical/ant-rom-coll.html

or for Medieval recipes you might try these:

http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/medieval.html

http://www.medievalcookery.com/recipes/

http://www.godecookery.com/godeboke/godeboke.htm

Medieval Cookery also makes it easy to browse by category or country.

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Have you ever visited Gode Cookery?

From the site:

Many of the recipes in this site originate from true medieval & Renaissance sources, are fully documented, and have been adapted for use in the modern kitchen. Original sources & bibliographies are featured whenever possible; historical authenticity and research are our main concerns, along with producing viands that are enjoyable & good to eat. Those recipes that are neither authentic nor documented are clearly defined as being so, and are included for those who wish to prepare modern foods with a medieval flavor. Whether it's a small repast for two or an entire medieval feast, a documented period dinner or a party with a medieval theme, Gode Cookery can provide authentic and delicious dishes with which to please and satisfy your guests.

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A Roman by the name of Apicius is credited with one of the earliest printed cookbooks called "De Re Coquineria". As of a few years English versions of it were still be printed under the name "Food and Dining in Ancient Rome" I believe (I have a copy at home but am currently at work).

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I realized I gave the same recommendation! It's a cool resource to have online. –  Spice Sherpa Mar 10 '11 at 21:36

Besides the stuff that other people have already mentioned, you might check to see if there's an SCA group near you. Most of them focus on different aspects of historical recreation (combat, clothing, dancing, etc), but they also tend to do banquets and such, so they might not only have recipes, but also advice on how to deal with changes in cooking techniques and materials.

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Ahhh, happy memories... I have my (very pretty) AOA still around somewhere. –  sdg Aug 15 '10 at 17:35

I was thrilled to see this question. I've always been fascinated with ancient recipes. There's a great online resource of thousands of Ancient Roman recipes. It's called De Re Coquineria by Marcus Apcius. The recipes have been translated from Latin. I covered the information and the links in a post called Eat Like a Roman: http://www.spicesherpa.com/2009/10/14/eat-like-a-roman/ Good luck and have fun!

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If you would also like to try out prehistoric recipes and cooking techniques, then Jacqui Wood, an environmental and experimental archaeologist is a great source. Her book "prehistoric cooking" and "Tasting the Past: Recipes from the Stone Age to the Present" are brilliant. for medieval cooking there is a website http://www.godecookery.com/mtrans/mtrans.htm which has translations of medieval recipes

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you might be able to find this Italian title: "Notae de coquina. Manuale di cucina italiana medievale" about Italian medieval kitchen. This wikipedia page is also worth looking:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liber_de_Coquina

It lists two links where one can download the digital version of this medieval cooking book. Have fun!

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Oooops ... the two links are to the original latin! –  user5186 Mar 8 '11 at 12:23

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