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Porpoise Porridge, Sir? World's Eldest Meal Book Reveals Dishes Fit to your King

 

DISHES of chicken blancmange then porpoise porridge are unlikely inside whet the appetite on most modern food lovers.

 

But such recipes were seemingly fit for king 600 years ago.

 

Written by just chefs employed by Richard II, they are included in what is thought to be the world's oldest cookbook

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The unusual dishes rival modern masterpieces by British TV chef Heston Blumenthal, whos greatest for his snail porridge.

 

Experts from Manchester University's John Rylands Library, who discovered the manuscript, have translated a handful of its 150 recipes, which are written in Middle English and date back to 1390.

 

They include frumenty, the porridge-type dish made of bulghar wheat, fowl stock and saffron, and payn puff, a dish involving boiled fruits wrapped in pastry.

 

The unusual thepaleorecipebook, called the Forme of Cury, is believed to have contained dishes to feed aides plus the royal family alike. It gives a fascinating insight into the delicacies of the time, including dishes of swan and peacock. After translating the recipes, historians wanted to try each dishes themselves.

 

However, without any ingredient quantities or even instructions, earning the dishes proved tricky. John Hodgson, who looks after the library's manuscripts and archives, claimed: 'One of the difficulties was that many of the recipes were very vague.

 

'It wasn't like Delia Smith or Gordon Ramsay books during all. The book doesn't specify quantities of ingredients or cooking times, so that it was a situation of experiment to get the recipes towards suit modern tastes.'

 

Several dinners are being added to the library's canteen menu for visitors to try. Debbie Fletcher, supervisor of their library's cafe, said: 'It had been a real difficult task to find a couple ingredients. Trying to find a porpoise - it's not something you can pop down to the supermarket for.'

 

Student George Arnett, 20, claimed: 'I was shocked how nice the food was. It's difficult to believe they were eaten 600 years ago.'

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