An index of books on hand spanning different regions and periods with the pro’s and con’s of each book as per my opinion.

At Gulfwars XXV, I found a few small pamphlets of cooking recipes I liked.  The ones I had the most interest in were not as well documented as a one I had only a passing interest in but new a few people who would want more.  I started looking at the sources for the recipes going “I’ve got that one, and that one…Oh!  I don’t have this one!  I need to find it.”  Yeah.  De Nola’s book has one found translation and it’s only on line (That I can find).

The recipes are interesting including the use of cat fat as a way to reduce asthma…  I don’t ask I just find.  Nope, not going to make this recipe…just no.  The more useful find is that this book is the first and only book I have found that actually lists orange water.  I have not found any other listings in period cookbooks with this.  So this is a pretty big thing for period cooking!

Here is the link for those interested.

March 20, 2016 | No comments

To the King’s Taste


So this book was gifted to me over Yule.  I have to admit I was a bit surprised only because the woman who gifted me with the book no longer plays in the SCA but as far as I knew had no interest when she was in the SCA for medieval cooking.  I didn’t even know she had the book in her library.  I guess stranger things happen.

So the book is actually a thin cookbook with a bit of history and Lorna Sass own take on the recipes.  There is an original recipe, a translation and then her redactions.  I like the first two portions; however I always prefer to do my own redactions.  If mine are truly horrible…then I might go back and go “Hmm…maybe this would be a better idea instead.”

An A for historic information included and an A for the recipes included.  There aren’t many (less than 50) but the ones included are tasty and/or informative.  I suggest this book for those who adore English Cookery.


December 29, 2015 | No comments

I am a big fan of good Roman cookbooks (or any good period cookbook) however Mark Grant is abusing that level of interest in a big way with his books.

Don’t get me wrong, Mark Grant’s cookbook Roman Cookery should be in any person’s repertoire for good Roman cooking but not both books.

Book #1

Mark Grant 1st book This is a good book.  Do NOT use his redactions.  He uses American cheese(s) instead of feta and sort of vaguely suggests other period food sources.  Buy the book for the recipes and the research NOT for his redactions.


Book#2Mark Grabt 2nd book

Looks different.  Possibly MORE new recipes…must buy.  Right?  Wrong!!  This book is recycled information as the first book.  There is nothing new.  I was very sad to find this out the hard way after buying book #2 and really salivating over the prospect of new recipes from cooks other than Apicus.  I was severely disappointed.


Buy one or the other but not both.

September 24, 2015 | No comments

The latest addition to my library was bought for a very specific recipe.  I didn’t actually use the recipe I bought the book for; however I found many many more (including period ME Sausage recipes which are rarer then hens teeth to find!) that I am very excited to try out.



Overall the book is divided into many chapters with each chapter a certain type of recipe i.e. sausages and nothing but sausages.  The usual rule for period recipes holds true still.  The recipes have few if any regular measurements or cooking instructions, you’re just suppose to know how it works.

This book is a definite must have.  A for great recipes A- for cooking instructions.  So yes, if you have the chance to get this book, do!


I bought mine from the evil empire called Amazon.  Unfortunately I haven’t seen any “inexpensive” copies on any site listed so far.  This one will set you back a fair bit of gold!


June 15, 2015 | No comments

The Sweets of Araby

book cover


This book took a little to warm up to.  It’s not that the recipes aren’t good (or period) but the presentation is far more modern then I am use to.  The original translations with documentation is on the side in a very cute keyhole panel and the stories that accompany them are cute.  This book was made for a modern day cook.

If you want a book on medieval Middle Eastern sweets this is a very good book.  Multiple recipes from multiple sources with original recipes and redactions for those who need.  The stories are also helpful but unknown if truly historic or…  A for period recipes and a B+ only because it’s cutsy.  Yes I get to call a book cutsy!  It’s in the rules…some where.

August 23, 2014 | No comments

Scheherazade’s Feast:

Scheherazade's Feasts: Foods of the Medieval Arab World


I’ve had this book for a little bit and I really like the feel and flow of the recipes.  The book has great original translated recipes and there are are also redactions for those who want/need a little extra help.   The book is not as extensive in recipes as other books nor as inclusive on historical facts as I would like.  Hence an A for cooking but a C+ for historical facts.  This is a great starting book or an additional supplement for new recipes.

August 23, 2014 | No comments

I didn’t get to go to Pennsic this year, but I did get to indulge in one of my favorite Pennsic past times. Book shopping. Namely cookbook shopping. I must admit I prefer being able to actually look at the books so I can see if they have period recipes for redacting. The ones I prefer and promote do. I stumbled across the Arabian Nights Cookbook on Amazon promoted as a book based on period recipes.


I like the cookbook, but it is NOT period. The dishes are modern without historical input. I was very sad to find this out when I received the book. I do like the recipes, but if you are looking for historical recipes, this is NOT the book to get. Get this book if you want modern cookbook though.

I have to admit I like this book, Meals and Recipes from Ancient Greece.

Product Details

The reason I like it, other then a very good write up on meals, menu’s and historic features is that the recipes are based on other gourmets rather then just another Apicius reproduction.  Of course the measurements are sparse but the recipes are from many sources.  The fish section alone is amazing!  More fish recipes then I have seen in any other Roman/Greek cookbook yet.  Very very interesting to read. Can not wait to try 2 or 3 of these.

The bread section is a fascinating read.  The author does give his own version of each recipe; however every one should feel free to add or subtract as they feel they are comfortable with. I have at least a couple of the bread recipes marked for my experimental to do list.

I could wish for about another 80 pages or so in both information and recipes but for the pricing it’s pretty good.  A great addition to any Roman cooking library.  Overall I give this book an A-. 

Apicius has been translated numerous times.  It is THE roman cookbook.  The translations though have varied from very good to blech!  I have to say that the newest edition for Apicius is very good.

What I like about the book is that the original Latin is on the left page while the English translation is to the right. I also think that the research done for Roman cooking is in depth and very well written.  There are no redactions to the translated recipes, which I really like.  This gives the reader a chance to form their own opinion.  I do wonder though as S. Grainger is one of the authors if this is not the book from which she uses as her primary source to her cookbook on Roman cuisine “Cooking Apicius”.  If this is the case then both books would be a very good compliment to each other.

Cooking wise, this is NOT for beginners.  Apicius expected a person to know their way around a kitchen and not need hand holding.  Overall I think this is one of the top 3 Roman books to have.  I give this an A+ for original recipes, information and a great format for reading/researching. 

For my birthday, I received a few books.  One of which was a cooking/court life book.  I was a little hesitant as cookbooks and court books are usually separated into different books.  I am pleasantly surprised, my first run through on recipes yielded at least 8 recipes I want to try this weekend!

The Nimatnuma Manuscript of the Sultans of Mandu

The Sultans Book of Delights

I enjoy this book quite a bit.  There are recipes for different meat dishes, soups, and birds.  There are also recipes for perfumes and what we would call body splashes (which have been rare as hens teeth to find information on).  There are recipes on drinks and sweets.

As for the hunting portions, I really enjoy these sections as well.  The details are not so much as stories but a list of what to bring and why.  Not only favorite dishes/drinks and perfumes are included for the Sultan but on ways to reward his generals with tokens of gold/silver as well as food and drink.  There is also an account on how to to cook at a camp site with skewers, meat and bread.

The book also contains quiet a few pictures of hunting scenes and camping scenes as well as pages and pages of manuscripts.  There is also a section on measurements and a section with period words and their English definition.  A real bonus!

The down side is that all the hunting and cooking scenes are in not in color.  The cooking section (and hunting portions) are roughly 1/4 of the entire text.  My feelings are that while the manuscripts in the original writings are pretty…the book could probably have benefited from a good pruning of pages.

This is not a beginners book.  The recipes have some measurements for spices.  Each “section” or paragraph can have 2-4 recipes so a weathered eye on which ingredients need to go with which recipes in these sections.  Overall I give the book an A for period recipes, definitions, pictures and calligraphy.  For cooking an B, for multiple recipes and some measurements.


« Older entries