Zeldzaam 17de-eeuws handgeschreven Brabants kookboek

Brabants kookboek Erfgoed Bibliotheek Antwerpen - pagina 4
Brabants kookboek Erfgoed Bibliotheek Antwerpen - pagina 4

The Heritage Library Hendrik Conscience in Antwerp received a rare 17th-century handwritten cookbook as a gift from her friends association. On the website of the Heritage Library you can find the digital version of the book in pdf format.

Cookbooks from that period are extremely rare. From the seventeenth century only a dozen culinary manuscripts have survived in the Dutch language, together with only two printed cookbooks. That’s because cookbooks are used daily. They were not kept in the library but in the kitchen, to be consulted every day until they fell apart and were discarded.

The quarto manuscript has 56 folios, including 7 blank pages, and comes from the estate of Flemish folklore and culinary historian W. L. Braekman (1931-2006). It contains culinary and medicinal recipes. It also contains a number of French letters of copies of letters. The text is written by at least two different hands. On the first page, “Anvers” is mentioned, together with a name we can decipher as “Elvere Cob”. Based on the dialect used, we can surmise that the manuscript originated in the Duchy of Brabant, possibly from the vicinity of Antwerp. The manuscript probably dates from the second half of the 17th century, possibly even from the last decades. Below is a brief description, based on our own observations and on handwritten notes by Prof. Braekman:

fols 1-36v: Cookbook in the same hand (first hand) with a hundred recipes.

fols 37r-42v: Medical recipes, mostly in Dutch, some in French.

fols 43r-49v: Blank pages.

fols 50r: Three cooking recipes in Dutch (Brabants).

fol 51r-56: Letters in French by a woman (second, possibly third hand) to her mother and sister stating “le cloistre de Muizen”, “ducasse” and “la ducasse d’Anvers”. Possibly these are letters from a girl from Antwerp in a boarding school in Brussels.

We modernized a waffle recipe from the manuscript for the newsletter of the Friends of the Heritage Library. We will publish this recipe and its modern interpretation shortly on this web site.

Click here for the description in the online catalog of the Heritage Library. Click here for an electronic version (PDF) of the cookbook.

Third copy of first print of the Koocboec discovered

Magirus druk 1612 exemplaar Etienne Coudeville titelpagina
Title page

A third complete copy of the first edition of the Koocboec oft Familieren Keukenboec van Antonius Magirus from 1612 was discovered in a Belgian private collection.

The discovery was made by Etienne Coudeville, jury president of the Silver Ladle , an annual culinary competition organized in cooperation with the West Flemish edition of the local newspaper Streekkrant. Coincidently, this contest celebrates this year (2010) its 35th anniversary.

I have now seen the copy and can confirm its authenticity. Only one copy of the first edition of the Koocboec exists in a public library, namely the Royal Library in Brussels. The other remaining copy is kept in a Dutch private collection.

Origin of the copy

The current owner bought his copy of the 1612 edition of the Koocboec in Bonn during his vacation in Germany in the beginning of the seventies. He bought it in a small shop run by an elderly lady who also collected cookbooks, but only in German. Because she could not read the book and didn’t know in which language it was written, she decided to sell it. The current owner paid 25 German marks.

Condition of the new copy

Magirus druk 1612 exemplaar Etienne Coudeville band

The copy is in reasonable condition. Probable water damaged the paper slightly, but the type area is everywhere intact. The model looks complete, although we still have to examine it in detail. The paper is fragile. The book is bound in a light brown parchment binding with no inscription. It is not clear whether this is the original band. In the blank final pages are handwritten notes from previous owners. We still have to decipher these. It is already clear that this copy was in the possession of someone from Oostmalle in Antwerp on May 28, 1844.

Other copies of the Koocboec

So far only five complete copies of the Koocboec were known: two copies of the first Leuven edition from 1612 , two of the Antwerp reprint from 1655 and one of the Antwerp reprint of 1663. Only three public libraries have a copy: the Royal Library in Brussels (first edition 1612), the Heritage Library in Antwerp (reprint of 1663) and the Library of the University of Amsterdam (reprint of 1655). In a Dutch private collection there are two additional copies: one of the first edition and one of the second edition.

Nvdr.: On October 10, 2015 the Library of the University of Louvain acquirend this copy of the first edition.

Lezing over Vlaamse kookboeken in het Musée Départemental de Flandre, Hazebrouck

Nature morte door Jacob Van Es, Museum Oudheidkunde Kortrijk (copyright Kikirpa.be)On Thursday 5 June I gave a presentation on ‘L’Histoire des livres de recettes en Flandre à l’époque moderne’ during the conference ‘Plateau Gourmand’ in the Musée Municipal d’Hazebrouck in France. The ‘Plateau Gourmand’ conference is part of the exposition ‘Gourmandise’ which takes place from 4 April until 6 Juli in the Musée Départemental de Flandre, temporarily housed in the municipal museum of Hazebrouck in the north of France (the Hôtel de la Noble-Cour in Cassel is undergoing repairs). More information on this exposition, the conference day and other activities you’ll find on the website of the Conseil Général du Nord of France. (Illustratie: ‘Nature morte’ by Jacob Van Es, of of the paintings exhibited.)

Vlaamse kookboeken tot 1800

In 1984 I wrote an article on Flemish cookery books from 1500-1800 for the now defunct French language monthly Belgia2000. The electronic version of that article is printed below. The full reference is:

HILDE SELS “Les livres de cuisine flamands des temps modernes” in: Belgia2000. Toute l’histoire de Belgique. Décembre 1984, no. 13, pp. 34-42.

P. 34

Le livre de cuisine flamand est une source peu étudiée dans (le domaine de) l’histoire de l’alimentation. Les livres culinaires illustrent pourtant de façon appropriée l’histoire de la gastronomie. Ils donnent un aperçu des recettes que certaines gens ont trouvées assez intéressantes à noter, à rassembler et – finalement – à éditer. En ce qui concerne la Flandre, 8 manuscrits et 7 ouvrages imprimés des Temps Modernes sont parvenus jusqu’à nous (Lire en fin d’article la liste détaillée de ces sources et les références concernant leur conservation). Continue reading “Vlaamse kookboeken tot 1800”