Le Viandier (often called Le Viandier de Taillevent, pronounced: [lə vjɑ̃dje də tajvɑ̃]) is a recipe collection generally credited to Guillaume Tirel, alias Taillevent. However, the earliest version of the work has been dated to around 1300, about 10 years before the birth of Tirel. The original author is unknown, but it was not uncommon for medieval and early modern recipe collections to be plagiarized, complemented with additional material and presented as the work of later authors.
There are four extant manuscripts of Le Viandier. The oldest, found in the Archives cantonales du Valais (Sion, Switzerland), was written in the late 13th or very early 14th century, and was largely overlooked until the 1950s. It is this manuscript that calls into question the authorship of Tirel, but a portion of it is missing at the beginning, so the title and author given for this earlier work are unknown. A manuscript from the 14th century housed in the Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris), was formerly thought to be the oldest. The version in the Biblioteca Vaticana (Vatican City), is from the early 15th century. The fourth extant version is in the Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris) and also dates to the 15th century.
A fifth version from the 15th century is known to have existed in St. Lo, in the Archives de la Manche. It was referenced by Jerome Pichon and Georges Vicaire in their 1892 monograph, Le Viandier; however, the St. Lo manuscript was destroyed by fire June 6, 1944 during the invasion of Normandy.
In the Valais manuscript there are about 130 recipes. There are variations from manuscript to manuscript, both in their original form and in what has been preserved or lost over the centuries.
About 1486, Le Viandier went into print without a title-page date or place but doubtless at Paris. The 1486 version contained an additional 142 recipes not found in the manuscripts. Twenty-four editions were produced between 1486 and 1615.
Le Viandier is one of the earliest and best-known recipe collections of the Middle Ages, along with the Latin Liber de Coquina and the English Forme of Cury. Among other things, it contains the first detailed description of an entremet.
- Scully, Terence, ed. (1988). "Introduction". Le viandier de Guillaume Tirel dit Taillevent. University of Ottawa Press. ISBN 0-7766-0174-1.; Scully 1988 is the first edition to collate all four extant manuscripts; an English translation of the 220 recipes is included..
- Hyman, Mary and Philip Hyman, ed. (2003). "Preface". Le Viandier d'apres l'edition de 1486 (in French). Editions Manucius. ISBN 978-2845780248.
- Pichon, Jerome; Vicaire, Georges (1892). "Introduction". Le Viandier de Guillaume Tirel dit Taillevent (in French). p. iv.
- Vatican Manuscript text at the University of Giessen
- James Prescott's translation of the Vatican Manuscript
- samples from "How to Cook a Peacock" – a translation of the fifteenth-century version
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