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Seven spices in Lebkuchen and Biscuits/Cookies in Rumpolt

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  • Anastasia
    Hello! I am a new member, both the Cooking Rumpolt and to groups such as this. I am researching a book for Reaktion Press called Biscuit: A Global History (it
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 4, 2011
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      Hello!

      I am a new member, both the Cooking Rumpolt and to groups such as this. I am researching a book for Reaktion Press called Biscuit: A Global History (it will be called Cookie in the US). I am not a German speaker, and have struggled to find many English-language sources on German biscuits. Sarah Kelly's book, "Festive Bakery in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland" has been a terrific start, and your group has been an amazing find as well.

      I would be very grateful for any suggestions about where to find further information about German biscuits/cookies and their history in English. I would also be grateful if any one can confirm/cite a reference to the contention I have come across in a couple of places that traditionally there were seven spices used in Lebkuchen to reflect the seven days of creation.

      With many thanks and kind regards,

      Anastasia Edwards
    • Sharon Palmer
      Welcome to the list, Anastasia, I m glad we are useful. If you haven t already, look at the Gebackens chapter, a few of those might be considered cookies.
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 4, 2011
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        Welcome to the list, Anastasia, I'm glad we are useful. If you
        haven't already, look at the Gebackens chapter, a few of those might
        be considered cookies.

        Since you are planning to publish, please let me gently remind you
        that everything here is copyrighted: the transcriptions,
        translations, and discussions; and should not be used without
        permission and acknowledgement. Thank you.

        Ranvaig (Sharon Palmer)



        >Hello!
        >
        >I am a new member, both the Cooking Rumpolt and to groups such as
        >this. I am researching a book for Reaktion Press called Biscuit: A
        >Global History (it will be called Cookie in the US). I am not a
        >German speaker, and have struggled to find many English-language
        >sources on German biscuits. Sarah Kelly's book, "Festive Bakery in
        >Austria, Germany, and Switzerland" has been a terrific start, and
        >your group has been an amazing find as well.
        >
        >I would be very grateful for any suggestions about where to find
        >further information about German biscuits/cookies and their history
        >in English. I would also be grateful if any one can confirm/cite a
        >reference to the contention I have come across in a couple of places
        >that traditionally there were seven spices used in Lebkuchen to
        >reflect the seven days of creation.
        >
        >With many thanks and kind regards,
        >
        >Anastasia Edwards
      • Sharon Palmer
        ... Please, where did you find that reference, and what date is it? What do you consider traditional There is a big difference between pre-1600 (which this
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 4, 2011
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          > I would also be grateful if any one can
          >confirm/cite a reference to the contention I
          >have come across in a couple of places that
          >traditionally there were seven spices used in
          >Lebkuchen to reflect the seven days of creation.

          Please, where did you find that reference, and
          what date is it? What do you consider
          "traditional" There is a big difference between
          pre-1600 (which this list is about) and 1700 or
          even 1900. Which seven spices? Are they known
          at the time you are considering? Old world or
          new world origin? What word was used for each
          spice in the original reference?

          I think it would be more likely to refer an
          existing seven of something to creation days,
          than to add spices to the recipe to make up the
          seven days. But who knows?

          I've gone through the Rumpolt Gebackens chapter
          (pastry and fried things) and the spices
          mentioned are cinnamon, anise, coriander, cloves,
          bisem (which possibly means musk).

          In other chapters, fennel, mace, mustard, and
          juniper are mentioned. Saffron might also be
          considered a spice.


          Sabina Welserin has a recipe for Lebkuchen with
          cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and ginger.
          http://www.uni-giessen.de/gloning/tx/sawe.htm
          http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Sabrina_Welserin.html
          (In spite of the typo, the author's name is Sabina, not Sabrina).

          151 To bake good Lebkuchen
          Take first a pound of sugar, a quart of clear
          honey, not quite a third quart of flour, take two
          and a half ounces of cinnamon, one and a half
          ounces of cloves, two ounces of cardamom. Cut the
          other spices as small as possible, the cinnamon
          sticks are ground as coarsely as possible. Also
          put ginger therein and put the sugar into the
          honey, let it cook together, put the flour in a
          trough, pour the cardamom into it first,
          afterwards the ginger and the other spices.

          Gút lezelten zú bachen
          Nim am ersten ain pfúnd zúcker, ain qúertlin geleúterts
          honig, nit gar ain fiertellin mell/ nim 5 lot rerlen, 3 lott negellen,
          4 lott kerner/ gestossen, die andere wirtz schneid
          aúffs klainest, die rerlen aúfs grebest gestosen, thú jmber
          aúch darein/ vnnd thú zúcker in das honig, lasß es mitainander
          sieden, thús mell jn ain múolter, geúsß die kerner am
          ersten ein, darnach den jmber vnnd dan die andern wirtzen.


          Here is a good reference for information about spices.
          http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/

          Ranvaig
        • wheezul@canby.com
          Hi Anastasia, Please allow me to introduce myself - my name is Katherine and I am a cookieholic. I really do love cookies. I ve been a member of the Society
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 4, 2011
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            Hi Anastasia,

            Please allow me to introduce myself - my name is Katherine and I am a
            cookieholic. I really do love cookies.

            I've been a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism for nigh on 30
            years - many of the fellow members of the group are also in the 'SCA' (for
            short). I research 15th and 16th century German Cookbooks as part of what
            I do for this hobby. I would be called an independent scholar, as are
            many other 'SCAdians', while some have pursued multiple degrees in these
            fields of interest. We're a usually a polite, passionate and slightly
            nerdy (or more) group. Some folk you may encounter can very well be the
            world authority on a particular matter, so asking SCAdians may be very
            worthwhile on medieval and renaissance subjects.

            I do not claim to be any sort of authority on German cooking or baking -
            my interest is fairly recent - but when I find an area of that I want to
            know more about my first inclination is to read everything I can find on a
            subject and treat in an encyclopedic manner rather than a microscopic one.


            Some of my experimenting with renaissance era recipes can be found on my
            blog:

            http://jillwheezul.livejournal.com/tag/lebkuchen
            other cookie-like things:
            http://jillwheezul.livejournal.com/tag/cookies

            I especially enjoyed the experience with the hammer and makes for a great
            story in telling people new to the experience of trying to recreate old
            recipes about the thought process. I have a couple of other recipes from
            a 16th century German cook book that are very cookie like that I shall
            post there including kringle and a German recipe for what is called a
            biscuit.

            I was lucky enough to find a copy of Festive Baking last year in a thrift
            (or should I call it charity) shop. It was an exciting find. I do not
            know about the 7 spices, but certainly the renaissance era
            lebkuchen/lebzelten recipes are not in accord with the spice mixtures. It
            does sound a bit like an advertising thing to me.

            If you are looking for an in-depth history of lebkuchen, may I suggest
            'Chronik bildschöner Backwerke' by Irene Krauss?
            http://www.amazon.de/Chronik-bildsch%C3%B6ner-Backwerke-Irene-Krau%C3%9F/dp/3875162927
            Lovely photos and the subject of lebkuchen is treated extensively. It is
            a history, not a recipe book. Perhaps the author could be contacted and
            questioned if she is conversant in English? I just read through the
            several pages on lebkuchen history and didn't see anything about the 7
            spices, however there are at least 20 more references throughout the book
            which I'll continue to check for you.

            Another reference work that may inspire is "Model. Geschnitzte Formen für
            Lebkuchen, Spekulatius und Springerle" by Edit Horander (umlaut over the
            o). I recall that there is history of lebkuchen in this book as well
            which I'll also check for the 7 spice question. It has interesting facts
            and photos about modern production as well.
            http://www.amazon.de/Model-Geschnitzte-Lebkuchen-Spekulatius-Springerle/dp/3766706098/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317768202&sr=1-1

            I am sure there are other specialist publications on Springerle and
            Lebkuchen out there in German. It seems from the Chronik article on
            lebkuchen that the description in Festive Baking is accurate, but there
            is much more history out there if one wants it. If you hit a dead-end and
            want a synopsis of lebkuchen history from these sources compiled, please
            write to me off list. I do "work" for cookies (and the love of them) :)

            Katherine

            > Hello!
            >
            > I am a new member, both the Cooking Rumpolt and to groups such as this. I
            > am researching a book for Reaktion Press called Biscuit: A Global History
            > (it will be called Cookie in the US). I am not a German speaker, and have
            > struggled to find many English-language sources on German biscuits. Sarah
            > Kelly's book, "Festive Bakery in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland" has
            > been a terrific start, and your group has been an amazing find as well.
            >
            > I would be very grateful for any suggestions about where to find further
            > information about German biscuits/cookies and their history in English. I
            > would also be grateful if any one can confirm/cite a reference to the
            > contention I have come across in a couple of places that traditionally
            > there were seven spices used in Lebkuchen to reflect the seven days of
            > creation.
            >
            > With many thanks and kind regards,
            >
            > Anastasia Edwards
            >
            >
          • Johnna Holloway
            It appears in a number of places online. They then had a religious aspect, being often prepared in monasteries (where bees to provide both wax and honey were
            Message 5 of 6 , Oct 4, 2011
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              It appears in a number of places online.

              They then had a religious aspect, being often prepared in monasteries
              (where bees to provide both wax and honey were kept), and including
              seven spices in memory of the seven days in which God created the world.

              Read more: http://www.kitchendaily.com/encyclopedia/definition/lebkuchen/1396/#ixzz1ZrCcOl97

              http://www.kitchendaily.com/encyclopedia/definition/lebkuchen/1396/

              Johnna

              Sent from my iPad

              On Oct 4, 2011, at 6:36 PM, Sharon Palmer <ranvaig@...>
              wrote
              >
              > Please, where did you find that reference, and
              > what date is it? What do you consider
              > "traditional" There is a big difference between
              > pre-1600 (which this list is about) and 1700 or
              > even 1900. Which seven spices? Are they known
              > at the time you are considering? Old world or
              > new world origin? What word was used for each
              > spice in the original reference?
              >



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Sharon Palmer
              I probably should have introduced myself too. I ve been a member of the SCA for 20 some years, and am interested in medieval cookery, but am by no means a
              Message 6 of 6 , Oct 4, 2011
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                I probably should have introduced myself too. I've been a member of
                the SCA for 20 some years, and am interested in medieval cookery, but
                am by no means a German scholar.

                I started translating Rumpolt for my own use, with only High School
                German and some dictionaries. That was nearly 8 years ago, and I've
                continued through sheer obstinacy. In the process I've learned a bit
                about the medieval kitchen vocabulary used by Rumpolt. I'm still by
                no means fluent in German.

                I've made my translation available, because Rumpolt is a hugely
                important work, and before this only a few small parts were available
                in English.

                We've had a number of new members lately, this might be a good time
                to have a general round of introductions.

                Sharon Palmer, known as Ranvaig in the SCA.
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