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Frumenty is a thick wheat porridge that was traditionally served with venison. It was often made with meat broth or almond milk instead of regular milk, depending on whether it was to be served on a meat or meatless day.

While the traditional method is faster and more historically accurate, it does not lend itself to making large quantities in a modern kitchen, where there is too much heat at the bottom of a large pot, which will cause it to burn easily. For such situations, the alternate method is better suited (though it takes much longer).


1 cup cracked wheat
2 cups water
2/3 cup milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch saffron


Traditional method:
Bring water to a boil and add wheat. Return to a full boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until water water is absorbed and wheat is tender. In a separate bowl mix egg yolks and milk. Add to wheat along with remaining ingredients and stir well. Serve hot - sprinkle with sugar and/or cinnamon if desired.

Alternate method:
Put water and wheat in a deep baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F for two hours, or until the water is absorbed. In a separate bowl mix egg yolks and milk. Add to wheat along with remaining ingredients and stir well. Serve hot - sprinkle with sugar and/or cinnamon if desired.

Source [Le Viandier de Taillevent, J. Prescott (trans.)]: Frumenty. Take wheat, prepare it, wash it very well, and cook it in water. When it is cooked, drain it. Take cow's milk boiled for an instant, add the wheat, and boil it for an instant. Move it to the back of the fire, stir often, and thread in plenty of egg yolks. Some add spices, saffron and venison stock. It should be yellowish and well thickened.

Source [Forme of Cury, S. Pegge (ed.)]: I - FOR TO MAKE FURMENTY. Nym clene Wete and bray it in a morter wel that the holys gon al of and seyt yt til it breste and nym yt up. and lat it kele and nym fayre fresch broth and swete mylk of Almandys or swete mylk of kyne and temper yt al. and nym the yolkys of eyryn. boyle it a lityl and set yt adoun and messe yt forthe wyth fat venyson and fresh moton.

Source [Liber cure cocorum, R. Morris (ed.)]: Furmente. Take wete, and pyke hit fayre and clene And do hit in a morter shene. Bray hit a lytelle, with water hit spryng Tyl hit hulle, with-oute lesyng. Þen wyndo hit wele, nede þou mot. Wasshe hit fayre, put hit in pot. Boyle hit tylle hit brest, þen Let hit doun, as I þe kenne. Take know mylke, and play hit up To hit be thykkerede to sup. Lye hit up with 3olkes of eyren, And kepe hit wele, lest hit berne. Coloure hit with safron and salt hit wele, And servyd hit forthe, Syr, at þe mele. With sugur candy, þou may hit dowce, If hit be served in grete lordys howce. Take black sugur for mener menne. Be ware þer with, for hit wylle brenne.

Source [Libro di cucina / Libro per cuoco, L. Smithson (trans.)]: XXIV - Maize dish (Frumenty) good and perfectly useful. If you want to make a frumenty, take the wheat and beat it well to when it leaves the shell / husk, then wash it well, then put it to boil not much, then throw away the water, then put into it that fat of the meat that you choose, and it needs to be not too much, and mix spices sweet and strong and saffron, and if you do not have wheat take rice; it will be good.

Published: March 20, 2003

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