Measures in Medieval English Recipes --Culinary vs. Medical

By Bator, Magdalena; Sylwanowicz, Marta | Studia Anglica Posnaniensia: international review of English Studies, March 2017 | Go to article overview

Measures in Medieval English Recipes --Culinary vs. Medical


Bator, Magdalena, Sylwanowicz, Marta, Studia Anglica Posnaniensia: international review of English Studies


1. Introduction

Middle English recipes, both culinary and medical, have received attention of many scholars. In these studies recipes have often been analysed from the point of view of a genre and/or a text type. (2) Taavitsainen (2004: 75) defines the former "according to language-external evidence" (i.e., function, audience, and occasion); whilst the latter on the basis of linguistic criteria. Thus, a genre is usually identified by the function it fulfils in society (cf. Swales 1990; Taavitsainen 2012). In this functional view, the recipe is a genre whose main function is to give "instructions on how to prepare medicine, a dish, or some household utility like ink" (3) (Taavitsainen 2001a: 86). As regards the recipe as a text type, it is usually examined according to its formal, linguistic features (4). The typical recipe features include "a set form of a title, imperative forms of verbs, short paratactical sentences following temporal sequence of instructions to be carried out, object deletion, measurement specifications, and formulaic endings" (Taavitsainen 2001b: 142). Gorlach (2004: 124) adds "full sentences or telegram style", "use of possessive pronouns with ingredients and implements", "complexity of sentences", and "marked use of loanwords and of genteel diction".

The present paper deals with Middle English recipes from the 14th and 15th centuries. Two coexisting types of recipes will be analysed and compared, i.e., culinary and medical recipes. The main aim of this paper is to examine the use and distribution of measurement specifications (5) in the analysed texts. In doing so, we will attempt to answer the following questions: (i) what measure units (if any) were used in the recipes? (ii) did the recipes (culinary and medical) coincide in the use of measure terms? (iii) was the use of measure terms conditioned by the type of a recipe? Also, we will propose a classification of measurement specifications used in culinary and medical recipes.

In what follows, the two types of recipes will be briefly characterised, and the major metrical systems used in the British Isles will be illustrated. Next, the measure terminology found in the analysed corpus will be discussed and a comparison between the culinary and medical material will be offered.

1.1. The culinary recipe

Medieval culinary recipes have been categorised as "texts where the instructional function has not been made explicit by the producer. (...) In terms of their language, however, the recipes represent an almost prototypical example of texts employing instructional features" (Tanskanen, Skaffari & Peikola 2009: 7). Their function was to consult rather than to teach, which, following Carroll (2009: 79), could be accounted for by "the amount of common ground that can be assumed to exist between the original author of the recipe and the reader". The recipes were more like lists of ingredients defining the order of adding them and not detailed instructions guiding the cook step by step how to prepare a particular dish. Food historians, such as Hammond (2005) or Scully (1995), claim that the recipes must have functioned as aids for the chief cook rather than for those working in the kitchen, who must have worked by memory and experience. They might have been written down in order to remind the cook of the ingredients needed to prepare a feast, so that when a menu was chosen, the recipes were used to prepare a certain type of a "shopping list". They might also have been of help for the cook in order not to forget about any ingredient or about the order of adding particular ingredients. Following Brears (2008), the cook's memory had to be refreshed, i.e., they remembered the frequently prepared dishes, such as pastries or bread, and most basic processes, such as plain boiling or roasting (6), but details concerning food which was not in everyday use might have been forgotten. On the other hand, Scully (1995) points out that recipes were not written for the cook, who was a professional and knew well enough how to prepare particular dishes, but by the cook (as some archival material). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Measures in Medieval English Recipes --Culinary vs. Medical
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.