Books on culinary history

One of my bookcasesOn this page are descriptions of some of the books I have used for the historical recipes on this site, with short reviews. Each book also has links to the recipes where they are mentioned. You can also visit my webshop.

Ordering books online
If a book is still available, I have provided links to and the These links are to available editions, these are not always the same as the ones in my posession.

You can also borrow books!
Some books are long out of print, or cost their weight in gold. Try the library of a nearby university, or other well assorted libraries (The British Library  in England, La Bibliothèque National in France, De Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Netherlands are just some examples). There you can read, borrow or copy the book you want, or try to order the book from another library.

Ttiles and descriptions of books on culinary history and cooking

The order is alphabetical, but not consequent. Sometimes it is the name of the modern author, sometimes of the original author that determines the positioning in the list.

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 -A- Back to top
Apicius, The roman cookery book. A critical translation of "The art of cooking" by Apicius, for use in the study and kitchen. Barbara Flower and Elizabeth Rosenbaum (London, 1980, reprint edition 1958)
I love books that look good. This is such a book.
The edition presents the Latin version as edited by C.Giarratano and F.Volmer in 1922, with a translation into English. Nearly half a century later this is still one of the best translations of Apicius. For someone inexperienced in preparing historical recipes this edition may be too difficult. I suggest starting with the book of Patrick Faas.
This is not the only edition of De Re Coquinaria. The critical edition by Mary Ellen Milham (Teubner, 1969) is excellent, but present only the Latin text without translation. There is also an online edition of the Latin text, without notes and translation, and without specification of the source of the Latin text.
See the recipes for Mussels with lovage sauce and cumin sauce, Omelette with asparagus and Omelette with quail.
Christopher Grocok en Sally Grainger, Apicius. A critical edition with an introduction and an English translation of the Latin recipe text Apicius Prospect Books, 2006.
Available at Amazon and the Bookdepository.
Another lovely book by Prospect Books. A joy to look at and feel it in your hand. But more important than that is the content of the book, which is invaluable. The Latin text is presented with the readings in different manuscripts, the translation is accompanied by notes on the practical side of the recipes, there's a glossary, a concordance of the recipes with earlier editions, and the edition of the Vinidarius text, which seems to be an independent colllection of recipes. This is not a cheap book, but it's worth every penny.
See the recipes for Broad beans à la Vitellius, Mussels with lovage sauce and cumin sauce, Omelette with asparagus, Omelette with quail, Roman apricots, Roman broccoli.
L'art de la cuisine française au XVIIe siècle. (Payot, Parijs, 1995).
Three works are collected in this volume: L.S.R., L'Art de bien traiter; Pierre de Lune, Le cuisinier; Audiger, La maison réglée. There is a short introduction, then the texts are presented without comment or notes. There is a  "Dossier" with s concise glossary, measures, and short overview of the developments in the French cuisine from the Middle Ages to the present, and six adapted recipes that are presented complete with picture.  
The three historic texts are not just cookbooks. You'll find directions on how to organize several kinds of dinners, suppers, picnics. If you wonder what the tasks were for a groom or parlour maid look in La maison réglée
See the recipes for Salmon in red winesauce, Petit pois à la crème, Potage au Jacobine en Tourte d'épinards, Stock for lent.
T. Austin, Two fifteenth-century Cookery Books Reprint Oxford University Press, 2000 (oorspr. 1888)
Available as digital edition and Amazon and the Bookdepository.
A very civilized brown linen cover with simple gold lettering. A library filled with books like this would have a very sophisticated look! A pity that the paper used is too white, it looks like ordinary copying paper.
This is a reprint from the 1888 edition of two complete cookbooks from the fifteenth century, extended with some recipes from other related  manuscripts.
The introduction describes the historical background of the banquets mentioned in the manuscripts. For example you can read how the coronation of Henry IV took place in 1399 and what was eaten at the feast. In the back of the book is a glossary which also serves as index. For Dutch-speaking people it is interesting to see how much fifteenth-century English resembles modern Dutch, such as "conyng" (rabbit, Dutch konijn), "eiren" (eggs, Dutch eieren), and "neme" (take, Dutch nemen). See also Cindy Renfrow, Take a thousand eggs.
See the recipes for Apple fritters, Strawberry pudding, Yrchouns ('hedgehogs'), Mallard with onion sauceAppel sauce, Blancmanger with crayfish, Pike in Galentyne.
 -B-Back to top
Phyllis Pray Bober, Art, culture and cuisine (Un. of Chicago Press, 1999)
Available at Amazon and the Bookdepository.
The hardcover version of this book is very soigné, a joy to handle. In this richly illustrated book Bober follows the evolution of the art of cooking through the ages, from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages, using archeological and art-historical sources. The book concludes with a section of selected recipes for each period. Thus, when you have become curious you can prepare a prehistoric meal, a meal from ancient Greece or mesopotamy, a Greek 'deipnon', a Roman 'convivium', or a meal from the Middle Ages.
There is an extensive biography, as well as notes and an index. The recipes were not indexed, but that is the only small flaw in an otherwise great book.
See the recipe for Roman Mussels.
 -C-Back to top
Antonin Carême, Le Pâtissier Pittoresque. Extraits choisis et presentés par Allen S. Weiss. Ed. Mercure de France, 2003.
Available at
Funny little picture book, but no use in the kitchen. The introduction is very concise, and the size of the booklet is rather small for the pictures. However, it isn't expensive either, less than four euro. 
See the recipe for Soufflés.
Andrew Dalby, Cato: On Farming / De Agricultura, Prospect Books, 1998
Available at Amazon and the Bookdepository.
Affordable edition of Cato's instructions on how to run a farm in the vicinity of Rome during the second century before Christ. Bilingual: Latin on the left, English on the right.
See the recipe for Roman broccoli
Terence Scully, 'Du fait de cuisine, par Maistre Chiquart 1420. In: Vallesia. Bulletin annuel de la Bibliothèque et des Archives cantonales du Valais, des Musées de Valère et de la Majorie[...] vol. XL (1985), pp.101/231.
This is the edition of the only extant manuscript of this delightful cookbook (S 103 of the library Supersaxo, in the Bibliothèque cantonale of Wallis, in Sion). The French edition contains the original text, with notes and glossary. One year later Scully published an English translation, Chiquart's "On Cookery". A fifteenth century Savoyard culinary treatise.(American University Studies Series, IX : History, Vol 22). Another English translation (without notes or glossary) by Elizabeth Cook can be found here.
See recipe for Jacobin sops.
Nicole Crossley-Holland, Living and dining in medieval Paris, Cardiff, 1996.
Available at Amazon.
Based on the old-French Le Ménagier de Paris Crossley-Holland describes extensively all the culinary ins and outs of a well-to-do fourteenth century Parisian household. It is well written (and illustrated in bl&w). In one of the appendices she actually manges to put a name to the up til now anonymous 'goodman of Paris'. I also love the appendix on the street cries of Parisian salesmen and women that are incorporated in the song 'Voulez ouyr les cris de Paris' by Clément Janequin (c.1485-1558). I love this book.
See the recipe for Mustard and Hypocras.
 -D-Back to top
Henriëtte Davidis, Keukenboek. 1868, 2nd impr.(1st edition 1867). Free Dutch adaptation of the eleventh edition of the Praktisches Kochbuch (1844)
Available online an edition of the German orginal and of the American edition of 1897.
My volume has been rebound by a previous owner. It has lost not only its oroginal cover, but also the title page. On the picture see what the book looks like now. The contents of the cook book are definitely worthwhile. It has recipes and directions for almost everything, including a detailed description on how to prepare your table for a dinner party, with the differences between service à la Française and service à la Russe, 
You can find an edition of the German original (1844) of this cook book, as well as an The first American edition (1897).
See the recipe for Capon à la braise with caper sauce and Herb soup with potato balls.
Alan Davidson, The Oxford Companion to Food, Oxford University Press, 1999, 2006.
Available at Amazon, and the Bookdepository.
A standard work of great value. Davidson devoted twenty years of his life to it, and 80% of the work is written by himself. Who nowadays still has the erudition and devotion to compose an encyclopaedic work such as this practically by himself? It contains not only entries on ingrediënts, but also in regiobnal and international cuisines, persons of culinary-historical interest and other subjects on culinary history. Also information on non-western ingrediënts.
I prefer this work to the Larousse Gastronomique. The Larousse is VERY French-centered, and contains too many recipes imo. In an encyclopaedia I want information. If I want recipes I'll grab a cookbook.
The second edition of the Oxford Companion to Food appeared in 2006. Since Alan Davidson passed away, Tom Jaine continues the good work. New lemmata are added, some information has been updated, but the OCF is still very much Davidson's.
 -E-Back to top
Auguste Escoffier, Ma Cuisine. Escoffier voor iedereen. H&S, Utrecht, 1988 (oorspr. 1934).
"Escoffier for everybody" is the subtitle of the Dutch edition. Well, that is rather optimistic. The instructions are clearly for experienced cooks, beginners may have trouble interpretating the recipes. And not everybody will be able to afford some of the ingredients used. On p.652 three of the four recipes require truffles, two of them in great quantities (Salade Jockey-Club: Mix equal parts asparagus tips, truffle- and chicken-julienne. Make the vinaigrette and add 1 or 2 tablespoons mayonnaise just before serving)
The Dutch edition is from nearly 25 years ago. There is an English edition from 2000 that is out of print (ed. John Wiley & Sons Inc.), and a recent French edition I have yet to find. The other, more well-known cookbook of  Escoffier, The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery or Guide Culinaire, is still easily available in various editions, at least in French.  ( ).
See the recipes for Soufflés and Scorzonera
 -F-Back to top
P.C.P. Faas, Around the Table of the Romans: Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome (Palgrave McMillan, 2002) Originally published in Dutch as Rond de tafel der Romeinen (Domus, Diemen, 1994) - the cover on the left is from this edition.
I haven't seen the English translation, so I can't say much about that or the book as an object. In Dutch it has nice pendrawings, but some pictures of Roman kitchens, utensils etc. would have been nice. 
The book offers information on the development of the Roman kitchen, meal, utensils, ingredients, and a lot of recipes. Many recipes are from Apicius, but there are also other sources. What is great is that Faas offers the recipes in the original Latin, a translation, and a modern adaptation. That is exactly how it should be.
See the recipes for Patina with quail and asparagus, The sacred bean.
 -G-Back to top
Hannah Glasse, "First catch your hare". The art of cookery made plain and easy. Prospect Books, 1995.
Available at Amazon and the and the Bookdepository.( Newest edition, July 2012)
A facsimile edition, supplemented by the recipes which the author added up to the fifth edition and furnished with a Preface, Introductory Essays by Jennifer Stead and Priscilla Bain, a Glossary by Alan Davidson, Notes, and an Index. The edition used is the first, from 1747. Online edition of the edition from 1774.
Another one of Prospect Books' beautiful editions, a large book (apparently the original was large too). Although eighteenth century English is fairly easy to understand, it is not easy to reproduce some of the recipes. The glossary is not always enough. But on the whole this is a gem of a book.
See the recipes for Marzipan Hedgehog, Apple Pie and Puff Pastry.
The Goodman of Paris (Woodbridge, 2006. Reprint of the edition of 1928, English translation by Eileen Power)
Available at Amazon and the Bookdepository
This edition of the ménagier de Paris is not the best ever. First of all, it is based upon the first 'modern' edition of the Oldfrench text from 1846 by Pichon. But Pichon based his edition on the manuscripts of the Ménagier creating an amalgam of readings and forms from all three. Moreover that edition is full of misreadings and 'corrections'. And Power has also left out or shortened parts of the text, including many recipes (242 of the 380 recipes are missing), thus getting even further removed from the original Oldfrench text. (See also Le mesnagier de Paris).
On the other hand, this edition presents some recipes that are missing in the edition of Brereton en Ferrier. It concerns recipes that can be found in a later addition to one of the manuscripts of the Ménagier, so they are not part of the original.
But this edition is cheap, and if you don't read French it is better than nothing. There is a more recent translation of the edition of Pichon in English online, but it's incomplete, just the recipes.
See the recipe for Mustard and Hypocras, Mushroom pasty.
Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa, A Taste of Ancient Rome (Transl. from Italian, University of Chicago Press, 1992).
Available at Amazon and the Bookdpository.
Like Faas' book this is a book with Roman recipes, mainly from Apicius, presented in Latin, English translation and modern adaptation. Little over half the recipes are the same as in Faas' Around the Table of the Romans, but the adaptations are sometimes quite different. Interesting to compare. Illustrated with a few pen drawings and 16 pages in colour with prints from Roman art and pictures of some of the prepared dishes.
See the recipe for Sacred Beans
 -H-Back to top
Maria Haezebroek, De hedendaagsche kookkunst, of de wetenschap van lekker en goedkoop te eten en te drinken [...], Gouda, z.j. (1892), 9de, verbeterde en vermeerderde druk. ('The art of contemporary cooking or the science of eating and drinking good and cheap [...]')
There is a modern facsimile edition of the 2nd impression from 1851 that you can find easily on the net (modern editor Van Goor & Zonen, 1975). They appear to be almost two completely different books. Not only has the 9th impr. more than double the amount of pages (384 to 155), but the whole setup is completely changed. The 9th impr. leans heavily on the Keukenboek from Henriette Davidis. Having both versions enables to see the development in cooking techniques in four decennia. Just compare the recipe for lemon jelly, that is prepared with fish glue (isinglass) in the 2nd impr. (p.91), but with gelatine in the 9th impr. (p.131).
See the recipe for Herb soup with potato balls.
Jean-Claude Hein, Deux siècle de cuisine. Héritage de l'Isle de France, Mauritius, 2001.
Available at Livranoo, an online bookstore on Réunion, an isle in the Indian Ocean.
The book as an object is large and heavy (418 pp in small letter font), with two bookmarkers. And you'll use those markers, because there is so much information in this book that you'll easily forget where you found something. There's an introduction with an extensive description of all kinds of ingredients (with some interesting glossaries in French, English, Creole and occasionally Hindi), a history of spices, and of curry (the spice mixture and the dish), and lots, lots more. A real treasure trove of information that is not just interesting for those who want to know about Maurician cuisine. And of course there are many, many recipes.
See the recipes for Vindaye en Moutayes.
Constance B. Hieatt and Sharon Butler, Curye on Inglysch. English culinary manuscripts of the fourteenth century (Including the 'Forme of Cury'). Oxford, 1985.
Available at Amazon and the Bookdepository
Beautiful book, but the cover is a bit boring. However, it's what inside that counts, and that is very worthwhile. No less than five fourteenth century cookbooks are described and edited here, including the well-known 'Forme of cury'. 'Cury' is not to be mistaken for 'curry', it means 'to prepare, to cook'. With five manuscripts there are a lot of duplicate (or even 'multiplicate') recipes, because no one had problems with plagiarism in those days. For those of you who understand Dutch it is amusing to see how English in those days had in common with Dutch. Examples: In Diuersa Cibaria 'cinnamon' is called 'kanel' (Dutch: 'kaneel'), 'it tastes' is 'hit smacche' (Dutch: 'het smaakt'), and 'take' is 'nym' (Dutch: 'neem'). This book contains editions of the original cookbooks with a glossary. There are no adapted recipes. Those can be found in another book from Hieatt, Butler and Hosington, Pleyn Delit. Medieval cookery for modern cooks.(Amazon , Bookdepository)
See the recipes for Roasted Xmas-goose, Apple sauce, Turk's head, Blancmange with crayfish.Nepegeltjes
 -J-Back to top
Ria Jansen-Sieben and Johanna Maria van Winter, De keuken van de late Middeleeuwen. Een kookboek uit de Lage Landen (Thecuisine of the late Middle Ages. A cookery book from the Low Countries, Bert Bakker, Amsterdam, 1998, 2nd, revised edition).
This edition of the Gent manuscript UB 476 is very nice. After a short introduction on cooking around 1500 the Middledutch text is presented with modern Dutch words between brackets where confusion could arise. There are also some adapted recipes one of which is Soppijn Jacopijn.
See the recipes for Cake with quinces, Marrow pasties, Roast chicken with redcurrant sauce, Stuffed quinces.
 -K-Back to top
Ian Kelly, Cooking for Kings, The life of Antonin Carême, the first celebrity chef Short Books, 2003.
Available at Amazon and the Bookdepository
I haven't seen the more recent editions, but this first edition has been designed with care, although not entirely to my taste. This biography of the "first celebrity chef" of France is very readable and nicely illustrated. In the biography of cook there aught to be some recipes, and indeed, there are! The author mentions where and when the dishes were prepared, but not in what cookbook of Carême these recipes have been printed. Nor does he present us with the original recipe (in French or as a translation). Some of the recipes: the four classic sauces on which according to Carême all other sauces are based (Sauce Béchamel, Velouté, Allemande en Espagnol), a soup of puréed garden peas, salmon à la Rothschild, of course with lots of champagne and truffles, and a bavarois with walnuts. The book has a bibliography, but not an index.
See the recipe for Soufflés.
Barbara Ketcham Wheaton, Savouring the Past. The French kitchen and table from 1300 to 1789 (reprint 1996.
Available at Amazon and the Bookdepository.
The picture of the cover is from my Dutch edition, I haven't seen the English one. 
An interesting volume on the development of the French "haute cuisine" and sociological and historical aspects from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution. Well written, aptly illustrated in black and white, and an extensive bibliography. A nice extra are the recipes at the end of the book (original texts without translations but with modern adaptations). Suggestion: prepare a period dish to eat while reading each chapter.
See the recipe for Crème brûlée.
 -L-Back to top
François Pierre La Varenne, Le cuisinier françois d'apres l'édition de 1651, Facsimile editie of the first edition with an introduction by Philip and Mary Hyman. (Houilles, 2002).
Facsimile edition of the first edition, with preface by Philip en Mary Hyman. (Houilles, 2002).
A book from Manucius Publishers, from a series of facsimiles of French cookbooks. To be perfectly honest: the books aren't much to look at. The leaves are glued, not bound, the cover is too thin and pliable, prefaces in the series are very concise. But be that as it is, the merits are that thanks to these editions we have several old cookbooks at our disposal, some editions even have an index and a glossary.
Le cuisinier françois
was a bestseller, the first really innovative cookbook since the Middle Ages. The contents are ordered systematically: soups, entrées, roasts, side dishes, al this repeated thrice for meat days, fish days and lean days. A lot of dishes can be found in more than one section, with varieties for meat or fish days, or for fish and lean days. A few years after publication it received a lot of criticism, but it was this book that started the avalanche of cookbooks in the second half of the seventeenth century.
See the recipes for Royal Peas, Meat stock and Stock for Lent.
François Pierre La Varenne, The French Cook, Englished by I.D.G., 1653 Edition of the English translation of Le cuisinier françois from 1653 in modernised English with a preface by Philip and Mary Hyman. (2001)
Available at Amazon and the Bookdepository
This is a lovely book to hold in your hand, beautiful type page too. The English translation appeared very early, just one year after the French original was firstpublished (in 1651). The translation was based on the second French edition from 1652 that had been augmented by an alphabetical index and a treatise on preserving fruit. The anonymous translator kept close to the original text.
See the recipes for Royal Peas, Meat stock and Stock for Lent.
François Pierre La Varenne, The French Cook; The French Pastry Chef; The French Confectioner. A modern English translation and commentary by Terence Scully. (Prospect Books, 2006) Based on the 2nd (French) edition, from 1652.
Available at Amazon and the Bookdepository.
This most recent edition of La Varenne is a work of art. It is a translation into modern English from the French originals. Bound in blue linen, nice dustcover. Just one little thing (just to grumble about something): the head- and footbands are slightly askew. Pity, that.
First there's an introduction on La Varenne, his three books and French cuisine in the seventeenth century. Then follow the translations of the French Cook, Pastry Chef and Confectioner, with commentary, and numerous references to Escoffier. Then there are six appendices, five glossaries and one treatise on folding napkins by Mattia Gieger, translates from Italian, to clarify La Varennes instructions.
See the recipes for Royal Peas, Meat stock and Stock for Lent.
Livres en Bouche. Cinq siècles d'art culinaire francais, du quatorzième au dix-huitième siècle (Paris,2001)
This is the catalogue of an exhibition in the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal in Paris from November 21 2001 to February 17 2002. Here you could admire the famous recipe-roll of the Viandier, and many other manuscripts, incunabula and other original volumes of famous cookbooks and treatises on food. Let me tell you, as medievalist and codicologist I was absolutely drooling at the sight of these volumes (a good thing they were behind glass). The richly illustrated catalogue also has some essays by  Philip and Mary Hyman, Jean-Louis Flandrin and Silvano Serventi.
See the recipes for Fillet of salmon in red wine sauce and Crème brûlée.
 -M-Back to top
Maestro Martino, Libro de Arte Coquinaria. Octavo Editions, 2005.
Verkrijgbaar bij AAmazon, Not a paper edition, but a cd-rom.
There are introductory articles by Alice Waters (on Martino), Gilian Riley (on the Renaissance cuisine), Bruno Laurioux (on the manuscripts) and Paul Shaw (on the writing). The Italian text is in facsimile, the writing is
fairly readable. The English translation is oppisite the Italian original, with no explanatory footnotes. There's a concise glossary). A nice edition, but I still prefer a printed edition.
See the recipes for Chickenbreast with blackberry sauce and Mortadella.
(Maestro Martino) L. Ballerini and J. Parzen, The Art of Cooking. The first modern cookery book. (Libro de arte coquinaria from Maestro Martino). Unversity of California Press, 2005.
Available at Amazon and the Bookdepository
This edition only offers an English translation, not the Italian original, but it does offer several recipes from the Cuoco Napoletano and the Libro de cosina that can't be found in the Libro de arte coquinaria. There are also fifty adapted recipes that sometimes deviate significantly from the original (like the egg dish that is changed from sweet to savoury because that is more "in keeping with modern tastes" p.181). But thanks to the translation one can check the original recipe, even though the adapted versions do not refer to the translated text.
See the recipes for Chickenbreast with blackberry sauce and Mortadella.
Harold McGee, On Food and Cooking: The science and lore of the kitchen. 2004 (2nd, improved edition)
Available at Amazon and the Bookdepository.
I have the Dutch translation from the first edition, from 1992 (see the cover on the left), and the 2nd edition in English. It is a standard reference book on culinary science. You should buy it, really. Not only for the information, I find this encyclopaedic work is just a plaesure to read.
Jennifer McLagan, Bones. Recipes, History, and Lore, New York, 2005.
Verkrijgbaar bij Bol en de Bookdepository
Some bookcovers make my mouth water, this is one of them. The material inside (slopy lay-out, cheep looking paper) does not live up to the cover, but the content does. Lots and lots of information and recipes of bones of al kinds of animals.
See the recipes for Marrow pasties and Stuffed quinces.
Le Mesnagier de Paris. Teksteditie Georgina E. Brereton en Janet M. Ferrier, vertaling (in modern Frans) Karin Ueltschi. Parijs, 1994.
Available at the French Amazon
A book with small pages, but a lot of them, no less than 860 to be exact. It contains the original Oldfrench edition by Brereton and Ferrier (from 1981) and a parallel translation in modern French. If you don't read French this won't be of any help, but if you do, you'll have a very affordable edition of one of the nicest non-literary works from the Middle Ages. (And if you don't, there's an English translation). The introduction is short and to the point. There's a limited glossary (Oldfrench/French) and alphabetical indeices of recipes (but not of ingredients)  and names. The original edition by Brereton and Ferrier (Le Menagier de Paris, Oxford, 1981) has a comprehensive introduction in English and a glossary (Oldfrench/English) that also functions as index. So I'll keep my photocopied copy of that edition. (more on the Ménagier). See also The Goodman of Paris.
See the recipes for Hypocras, Mushroom pasty, Mustard and Verjuice.
 -N-Back to top
Nawal Nasrallah, Annals of the Caliphs'Kitchens. Ibn Sayyār al-Warrāq's Tenth-Century Baghdadi Cookbook. English translation with introduction and glossary. Brill, Leiden/Boston, 2007.
Available at Amazon.
A beautiful, but very expensive book. However, you get value for your money. Including the indices the book has 867 pages, of which over 250 contain an Arab-English glossary with lots of information on culinary and medical terms. Just one flaw: this glossary is dived into categories. If you do not know the meaning of an Arabic word, you'll have to search in all categories. The translation of the tenth century cookbook of al-Warrāq is provided with explanatory notes, the introduction gives a solid background on the textual and culinary history of the Abbassid cuisine. There are 35 beautiful colour plates.
See the recipe for Mulahwaja
R. Jansen-Sieben en M. van der Molen Willebrands, Een notabel boecxken van cokeryen. Het eerste gedrukte Nederlandstalige kookboek circa 1514 uitgegeven te Brussel door Thomas Vander Noot. Bezorgd en van commentaar voorzien door [...].  Amsterdam,  1994. 
This edition is available on the Internet, complete with English introduction. I have a photocopy of the edition, not the original. The glossary is only in Dutch. There is also a facsimile-edition, from Martinus Nijhoff in 1925, which I am happy to have on my bookshelves.
See the recipes for Stuffed eggs and Clareit.
 -P-Back to top
Platina, On Right Pleasure and Good Health. Critical edition and translation of De Honesta Voluptate et Valetudine by Mary Ella Milham. Med.&Ren. Texts & Studies vol.168, Tempe/Arizona, 1998.
This robust book is an excellent critical edition and translation of De honeste voluptate [...]. The author has attempted to reconstruct the lost autograph (ca. 1465), using the oldest extant manuscript from 1468. The reconstructed version is presented in Latin with the translation in English on the opposite pages.
The introduction to the edition starts with a decription of Platina's life and works, and continues with an analysis of De honesta voluptate and its textual history.
See the recipe for Heavenly blue sauce, Mortadella and Verjuice.
 -R-Back to top
O. Redon, F. Sabban and S.Serventi, The medieval kitchen. Recipes from France and Italy (Original French title La Gastronomie au Moyen Age. 150 recettes de France et d'Italie 1991, 1995). Un. of Chicago Press 1998.
Available at Amazon and the Bookdepository.
This volume has also been translated into English . 
The recipes are for the most part taken from two sources, the Ménagier de Paris and the Libro de arte coquinaria (69 of the 150 recipes), but there are also recipes from other sources. The presentation is as it should be: original recipe, translation in modern French (or English), commentary and modern adaptation. There are three sections with full colour illustrations.
This book is great for everyone who wants to get started on preparing  medieval meals seriously.
See the recipe for Heavenly blue sauce.
Cindy Renfrow, Take a thousand eggs or more A translation of medieval recipes from Harleian MS.279, Harleian MS. 4016, and extracts of Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, and Douce MS. 55, with over 100 recipes adapted for modern cookery.  2nd edition, 1998. Two volumes.
Available at Amazon
Two volumes, with spiralled backs, filled to the rim with English recipes from the fifteenth century and richly illustrated with fragments of' black and white engravings and drawings. The book is very popular, if you look at the prices some sellers dare to ask: 300 to 400 dollars. I think that is way too much, especially when you realise that all these recipes are also published in the still available edition of Thomas Austin, Two fifteenth century cookery books. However, that edition has no translation or commentary, and also no pictures.
Renfrows edition does not describe the manuscripts, the manu's mentioned in these manuscripts are left out, and the recipes are all regrouped according to Renfrows categorization: sops & pottages, eggs & cheese, vegetables, fish & shellfish, fowl, meat, fruits, breads, desserts, sauces, caudles, spectacle foods and miscellaneous recipes.
See the recipes for Mallard with onion sauce, Apple fritters, Strawberry pudding, Yrchouns ('hedgehogs').
Maxime Rodinson, A.J. Arberry, Charles Perry, Medieval Arab Cookery. Essays and Translations. Prospect Books, 2001.
Available at Amazon and the Bookdepository.
According to my edition this is the first edition, but when I look online I see editions with the same ISBN code from 1998. I wonder how this is possible. However, this is a beautiful book, solid cover and binding, designed with taste. And the content! If -like me-  you have no knowledge of the Arab language or alphabet, you are 100% dependent on what has been translated. In this collection of articles there are editions of several Arab cookbooks from the thirteenth to fifteenth century, and several interesting essays. Most of these have been published before, but is great to have them all in one cover.
Do not expect to be able to start cooking with this book on the kitchen top. The recipes are translated, but not adapted. But if you are persistent enough, you'll be surprised at the culinary delights hidden in this book.
See the recipes for Arab meatballs and pasties, and Murri.
Peter G. Rose The Sensible Cook. Dutch foodways in the old and the new world (a translation from a 1683 edition) Syracuse University Press, 1998.
Available at Amazon and the Bookdepository
This edition of the Verstandige Kock does not offer the original Dutch text, just a translation. But there's an introduction which provides insight in the seventeenth century cuisine in the Netherlands as well as that of Dutch settlers in North-America. There also 24 bw illustrations, mainly of Dutch genre paintings, and several adapted recipes from the Sensible Cook and a few other sources. There is a new edition in modern Dutch of this book: Marleen Willebrands, De verstandige kok. De rijke keuken van de Gouden Eeuw. (The sensible cook. The rich cuisine of the golden age) Bussum, 2006.
See the recipe for Meatballs in head lettuce.
 -S-Back to top
F. Sabban en S. Serventi, La gastronomie au Grand Siècle. 100 recettes de France et d'Italie Ed. Stock, (1998).
The last book from the series La gastronomie au ..., with recipes from the seventeenth century, the period in which great changes took place in French cuisine. Until the middle of this century the cookbooks were mainly filled with adapted medieval recipes, but in the second half the pace was so great that cookbooks of merely ten years old were already considered obsolete. 
As is the case in the other volumes the recipes are presented in their original form, as translation in modern French, and as a modern adaptation. As far as I know there is no English version of this book available.
For some reason there aren't many modern editions of aeventeenth century cookbooks, which makes this volume so valuable. There is just one draw back: it is out of print.
See the recipe for Petit pois à la crème and Crème brûlée.
Bartolomeo Scappi, Opera dell'arte del cucinare. Facsimile of edition 1570, Arnaldo Forni, Roma, 1981, 2002 (2 vol.).
Link to the original Italians text online (facsimile)
Great facsimile edition, in two volumes. Of course, if your grasp of modern Italian is as tenuous as mine, reading sixteenth century Italian poses an even bigger challenge. There are more than thousand recipes in here, and also 28 lovely engravings showing several kitchens and kitchen utensils, plus a very interesting engraving of the serving of food to cardinals during a conclave. The dishes were scrutinized, then passed through rotating cupboards, because the cardinals were forbidden all contact with the outside world until the new pope was chosen. This facsimile edition is hard to find.
See the recipes for Tortellini in brodo, Broccoli, Fresh pasta doughfor tagliatelle, lasagne and ravioli and
Soup of broad beans with saffron and herbs.
Terence Scully The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570): L'arte et prudenza d'un maestro cuoco University of Toronto press, 2008.
Available at and the Bookdepository.
I am so happy! At last there is an English translation of this Italian masterpiece, by Terence Scully (who also translated the three books of François La Varenne). The introduction gives us the historical background for the person and cook Bartolomeo Scappi. There are explanatory notes to the translation, and as appendix the description by Scappi of the funeral of pope Paul III and the following conclave in 1549. The engravings for which this book is especially famous are also reproduced, in a slightly smaller size than in the facsimile edition. The book ends with an extensive biography and several thematic indices. Only (small) drawback is that the original Italian was not printed side by side to the translation. But that's where the facsimile edition has its use.
See the recipes for Tortellini in brodo, Broccoli, Fresh pasta doughfor tagliatelle, lasagne and ravioli and
Soup of broad beans with saffron and herbs.
 -V-Back to top
De verstandige kock, of sorghvuldige huys houdster (anonymous) from 1668. Facsimile edition with an introduction by Joop Witteveen. De KAN, Amsterdam, 1993.
A modest booklet. De text of the Verstandige kock has been reproduced as it was printed in 1668, complete with gothic alphabet. This will make it difficult to read for most people, but don't give up, after a while you'll find it getting more and more easy to read, including the "long s". The text is presented without any comment. However, if you ever come across a volume, it is worth acquiring. There is an English translation by Peter G. Rose. This edition does not offer the original 17th century Dutch text, but it does contain a complete translation, and two dozen adapted recipes (.
See the recipes for Meatballs in head lettuce and Garden Salad
Terence Scully, The Viandier of Taillevent. An edition of all extant manuscripts Ottawa, 1988.
A very good, hardcover edition of all still extant manuscripts of the Viandier. Not only does this edition offer the recipes in Oldfrench (in all manuscript-versions) with philological and explanatory notes, but also an English translation and a modern menu with adapted recipes from the Viandier. And of course there is a glossary. For those of you who want to be able to adapt your own medieval recipes from scratch, this is a great edition. If you are inexperienced in (historical) cooking, it is better to start with a book with adapted recipes.
See the recipe for Fried eggs with mustard.
Gherard Vorselman, Eenen nyeuwen coock boeck. Kookboek samengesteld door Gheeraert Vorselman en gedrukt te Antwerpen in 1560, Wiesbaden, 1971, editie verzorgd door E. Cockx-Indestege. 
For years all I had was a copied version of this edition, but finally I have acquired the book itself. It has been designed with great taste, and the book is a real pleasure to handle. The colophon states that only 750 copies were printed and it will not be reprinted.
Of the original Nyeuwen cock boeck ('New cookbook') only one copy has been preserved. In the introduction to the edition of this unique text you'll find a history of the woodcarving that is used as frontispiece, and a valuable chapter with descriptions of words that are missing in the Middelnederlandsch Woordenboek and the Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal. Then there's the concordance of sources; mainly Platina, but also Taillevent, Martino, Vander Noot, Wel ende Edelike Spise. Later Braekman will add another source: the first part of the convolute KANTL Gent 15. The glossary/index is extensive and full of information. It is a great pity that this edition is so hard to find.
See the recipes for Heavenly blue sauce, Bread, Salad with parsnip and Verjuice.
 -W-Back to top
Anne Willan, Great cooks and their recipes. From Taillevent to Escoffier  Bulfinch Press (first Am. edition), 1992.
Beautiful book. In fourteen chapters fourteen cooks are described. Indeed, from fourteenth century Taillevent to twentieth century Escoffier. Each chapter starts with a short biography and a characterization of the cook and his/her signifance, and presents enough recipes to be enable serving a complete meal with recipes à la Varenne or Isabella Beeton. Willan presents all recipes in a sometimes slightly adapted translation of the original recipe, but does not specify the source of the recipe. However, the adaptations are very workable.
The book is richly illustrated, mostly in full colour. The pictures of some of the prepared dishes are moutwatering. In short: absolutely worthwhile. The book was reprinted in 2000.
See the recipe for Soufflés.
Joop Witteveen en Bart Cuperus, Bibliotheca Gastronomica. Eten en drinken in Nederland en België 1474-1960 (Food and drink in the Netherlands and Belgium 1474-1960) Amsterdam, 1998. (2 vols.). Amsterdam, 1998. (2 dln)
This beautiful standard work (with cd-rom) is a real treasure trove on every and any publication concerning food and beverages that have been publicized in the Netherlands and Belgium from the end of the Middle Ages until 1960. The BG has introducions in Dutch, English, French and German, and has registries on subject matter, land of origin, editors by location and by name, and language. The cd-rom contains not only the BG, but also 2206 images of covers and frontispieces.
The Bibliotheca Gastronomica is not cheap, but worth every penny.
Wynkyn de Worde, The Boke Of Keruynge (Book Of Carving) 1508, with introduction, translation, illustrations and glossary by Peter Brears. Southover Press, 2003.
Available at Amazon and the Bookdepository
Wynkyn de Worde (died around 1535) was the successor of the first English printer Caxton (1422-1491). He did not write the Book of Carving, an earlier version already existed in 1430. This modern edition has the facsimile on the right-hand page, on the left a modern translation. After the text are twenty pages with drawings and explanations by Peter Brears, who also wrote the introduction and made the glossary and translation.
The text provides an insight in the rituals around the meal in England at the end of the Middle Ages. And for those of you who wrestle with the question whether or not to eat the skin of chicken is here the medieval answer: because chickens eat 'foule thynges' from the ground, their skin is not to be eaten. But the skin of mallard, goose and swan can be eaten, because although they too eat 'foul things;, their skin is cleansed by swimming in water. This is exactly contrary to the modern viewpoint: because wild birds swim in polluted waters, their skin is not to be eaten.
See the recipe for Mallard with onion sauce.