Potage Dyvers - Contents

This contents page for the Kalendare de Potages Dyuers lists a wide range of recipes including 'creme de coloure' (coloured cream), 'a gos in higepotte' (goose hotchpotch), and 'bruet of almayne' (sauce of almonds).

About Potage Dyvers


This cookery book is estimated to have been written between 1430 and 1440. It is divided into three parts, the first headed Kalendare de Potages dyuers (diverse directory/ guide/ list of dishes) ; the second part headed Kalendare de Leche Metys (guide to sliced meats) ; and the third part headed 'Dyuerse bake metis' (Diverse baked meats). The book includes bills of fare for a number of extravagant banquets.

Many of the words used in these recipes are altered forms of the French, for example 'let' rather than 'lait' for milk, or 'fryit' instead of 'froid' for cold. In comparison to more modern cookery books, the recipes contained in this manuscript are quite imprecise. They do not provide the reader with quantities or cooking times. However, they do contain a some detailed instructions, such as how to grind, chop, boil, strain or scald your ingredients.

It is unlikely that the reader would have to learned to cook from the book. What is more probable, is that trained chefs working in grand households would have used the book to remind themselves of the kinds of dishes served at royal tables. The book may also have been used by those servants responsible for keeping kitchen supplies well stocked, and for ensuring that there was as little waste (and theft) as possible. These members of staff would have been expected to know exactly what ingredients were necessary for each meal. The descriptions of grand and indulgent feasts suggest that the book may also have been used to heighten the prestige of the owner.

Potage Dyvers is one of over fifty medieval recipe manuscripts still in existence  - and this does not include the manuscripts of medical recipes, many of which contain culinary recipes.


Taken from: Potage Dyvers
Author / Creator: Unknown
Date: c. 1430
Copyright: By permission of the British Library
Shelfmark: Harley MS 279