A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

Frumente yn lentyn

PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: An Ordinance of Pottage | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Barley cooked in Almond Milk


16. Frumente yn lentyn. Take clene pykyd whete. Bray hit yn a morter, and fanne it clene, & seth hit tyl hit be brokyn. Than grynd blanchid almondys yn a morter; draw therof a mylke. Do hit togedyr & boyle hit tyl hit be resonabull thykke: than loke thy whete be tendyr. Colour hit up with safferyn. Lech thy purpas when hit ys sodyn, than ley hit on disches by hitsylfe, and serve hit forth with frumente.

- Hieatt, Constance B. An Ordinance of Pottage. An Edition of the Fifteenth Century Culinary Recipes in Yale University's MS Beinecke 163. London: Prospect Books Ltd, 1988.


Frumenty in Lent. Take clean picked wheat. Pound it in a morter, and remove the hull, & boil it until it cracks. Then grind blanched almonds in a morter; make an almond milk. Add the wheat to the almond milk & boil until reasonably thick; make sure the wheat is tender. Color it with saffron. Cut your porpoise after it's boiled, then set it in dishes with nothing else, and serve it with frumenty.


  • 1 cup cooked cracked or bulgur wheat
  • 3 cups Almond Milk
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
Stir together all the ingredients. Bring to a soft boil, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for approx. 45 minutes, or until the mixture becomes thick. Be careful not to scorch. Serve as a soup or as a sauce for meat.

Frumenty was one the most popular foods of the Middle Ages, used as an accompaniment to roast meat, venison being particularly favored. However, this particular recipe was intended for Lent and was meant to be served with boiled porpoise! Frumenty recipes appear throughout surviving period cookbooks & manuscripts, proving that its preparation was wide-spread and common. Apparently, any cook worth his or her salt could prepare this dish.

For additional information on the popularity of frumenty served with venison, please read In the Pursuit of Venison.

This translation, along with notes, has been published as a related reading in the Glencoe Literature Series (Glencoe/McGraw-Hill) edition of The Mayor of Casterbridge (Thomas Hardy).

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Frumente yn lentyn © 2000 James L. Matterer

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