A Dutch translation of Bartolomeo Scappi’s Opera (1612)

Magirus clearly knew the work of Puteanus and even implicitly refers to passages in the Comus. In his foreword, which is titled “seyndtbrief”, a word that in early modern Dutch had the double meaning of “sermon”, he triesto find the middle ground in the often heated discussions that were taking place in the early Spanish Netherlands between the seekers of unbounded pleasure and the proponents of Contra-Reformatorian temperance. Do not overdo it, Magirus tells his readers, but keep yourself informed. People should know how to cook delicious meals, but they shouldn’t lose themselves in intemperate guzzling and sozzling1:

“This is the real reason that brought me, even compelled me to devise and write this little cookery-book, so that with little effort … and loss of time everyone would be able to find soups, sauces, sausages, and foods to his useless craving, lust or taste. If you really want to guzzle and eat too much, in the name of God do it, but don’t loose your valuable and unrecoverable time in a disgraceful searching [for good food]. Look, it is written here, so you don’t have to worry about it. It is written here: dear [reader], what pleases you?”2

Magirus’ comments on moral standards are most explicit in the foreword, but return time and again in little asides throughout his Koocboec. He vehemently opposes drunkenness and writes that he rather would eat “seven times merry and good” then get drunk once3

To call the Koocboec oft Familieren Keukenboec a cookery-book does injustice to a text that is so much more and of which in this article we have only touched a small amount of its complexity and meaning.

  1. See Schama, Simon [1987] The Embarrassment of Riches. An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age. London: Fontana Press, 1991, 150-188, for similar discussions taking place in the United Provinces. He uses the words “guzzlers and sozzlers” on page 151. []
  2. “… ende dit is de reden welcke my ghebrocht ooc gedwonghen heeft tot het beworpen [ontwerpen] ende schryven van dit Kooc-boecxken, op dat met minder moete [moeite], met minder beslommeringe, minder tyt verlies jegelijyc [ieder] soude connen vinden eenighe pottagikens, sauskens, sauciskens ende kokettiens [kooksels] naer synen verbrilden [nutteloze] sin, lust oft smaeck. Wiltmen dan ommers [immers] slempen of slampampen [overdadig eten], doet het in Godts naeme: maer en verslyt allen uwen costelycken ende onkeerbaren tijdt soo schandelycken niet in het ondersoeck der selve. Siet, het staet hier plat, en breckt [breekt] u hooft daer soo seer niet mede: hier staet in: herteken [hartje] wat lust u?” Magirus (1612: 3r-3v). []
  3. Ibid., 4v. []

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