A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents


PERIOD: England, 14th century | SOURCE: Forme of Cury | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Fruits and vegetables pickled in honey & wine


103. Compost. Take rote of persel, of pasternak, of rafens, scrape hem and waische hem clene. Take rapes & caboches, ypared and icorue. Take an erthen panne with clene water & set it on the fire; cast alle þise þerinne. Whan þey buth boiled cast þerto peeres, & parboile hem wel. Take alle þise thynges vp & lat it kele on a faire cloth. Do þerto salt; whan it is colde, do hit in a vessel; take vyneger & powdour & safroun & do þerto, & lat alle þise thynges lye þerin al nyyt, oþer al day. Take wyne greke & hony, clarified togider; take lumbarde mustard & raisons coraunce, al hoole, & grynde powdour of canel, powdour douce & aneys hole, & fenell seed. Take alle þise thynges & cast togyder in a pot of erthe, & take þerof whan þou wilt & serue forth.

- Hieatt, Constance B. and Sharon Butler. Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century (Including the Forme of Cury). New York: for The Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, 1985.


Pickled Salad. Take parsley, carrots, radishes; scrape and clean them. Take white radishes & cabbages, pared and cored. Take an earthen pan with clean water & set it on the fire; and put all these in. When they've boiled, add pears and parboil well. Take all these things out and let cool on a clean cloth. Add salt. When cooled, place in a container; add vinegar, powder, and saffron, and let sit overnight. Take Greek wine & honey, clarified together; take "lumbarde" mustard and whole currants, and cinnamon, "powdour douce" & whole anise seed, & fennel seed. Take all these things and place together in an earthen pot, and take from it when you need to, and serve.


  • 2 lbs. carrots, sliced
  • ½ head cabbage, in small pieces
  • 3-4 pears, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbs. vinegar
  • 2 tsp. ginger
  • few threads saffron
  • 1 bottle (750 ml.) white wine
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 Tbs. ground mustard
  • 3/4 cup currants
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ Tbs. each anise seed & fennel seed
Boil the carrots and cabbage for several minutes, then add the pears. Cook until tender; drain well. Lay vegetables and pears on a clean cloth. Sprinkle on the salt. Let cool, then place in a large dish or container and add the vinegar, ginger, and saffron. Cover (the cloth works fine for this) and let stand for several hours or overnight. When ready, mix the vegetables with the currants and the seeds. Place in a non-metallic sealable container and set aside. In a separate pot, bring the honey, cinnamon, and wine to a boil, skimming off the scum until clear. Remove from heat and pour over the vegetable mixture. Let cool and seal. May be stored for a week or more. Serves 12 - 15. 

This is a delicious marinated and pickled salad, and tastes nothing like the images the name suggests! The modern recipe is a modified (but just as tasty) version of the medieval receipt, containing only the "pasternak" (carrots - from the Latin "pastinaca"), "caboches" (cabbage), "raisons of coraunce" (currants), and "peeres" (pears). The other medieval ingredients are "rote of persel" (parsley root), "rafens" (radishes), and "rapes" (white turnip).

"Lumbarde" (or "Lumbard") mustard was a mixture of ground mustard seed mixed with honey, wine, & vinegar. "Pouder douce" was a mild concoction of ground spices, often containing sugar, though not always; in general, pouder douce usually included cinnamon but not pepper.

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

A Boke of Gode CookeryA Boke of Gode Cookery Recipes

Compost © 2000 James L. Matterer

A Boke of Gode Cookery Recipes

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