Le Viandier de Taillevent - French Glossary


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French Glossary

This section discusses the translations of selected medieval French words or phrases, including all those where there was some difficulty, or where Pichon et al. were silent or seem to have been wrong. For scientific Latin names, see the English Glossary.

affaire   To clean, to prepare (in context it could mean clean, skin, gut, scale, or any combination).

affiner   To grind (in a mortar), to clean (a fish) (from context and OED. The literal meaning is 'refine'. Pichon et al. suggest 'peel', but this is surely wrong.).

aigrefin   Haddock (fish) (Montagne).

alainne   Steam (the literal meaning is 'breath').

alose   Shad (fish).

alouyau   Olive (that is, veal roll, bird or paupiette) (Black, OED. Trésor suggests a derivation from aloel or alouette, meaning 'lark', which would match an alternate English word for the dish, namely 'bird'. The medieval English spelling was 'alow' for the dish (Black), later spelt 'olave' (Aresty). This was presumably corrupted over the years to 'olive'. I have chosen 'paupiette' since it appears in Montagne and Webster.).

alozees   Shad-like (if 'shad-like carp' simply means 'carp'. It might instead be a mis-writing (the recipe for carpes directly follows that for aloze in the text). It might even be a new fish, belonging to the second paragraph of the recipe for 'shad'.).

andoylle   Sausage (in context this seems more likely than 'large intestine').




appareillier   To prepare, to clean (from context).

archal   Brass wire (Huguet).

arconner   To bard (from context, and probably from 'arson', meaning 'saddle-bow' or 'saddle' (OED). This is exactly parallel to 'bard', meaning 'horse armour' or 'pack saddle' (OED). Pichon et al. and Godefroy suggest "to attach to the spit with the aid of little skewers retaining the roast", but this is surely wrong.).

arrouser   To baste (the literal meaning is 'sprinkle').

c'est assavoir   To wit (from context, and from "il est fait assavoir que", meaning "be it known that").

atout   Including.

aubun   White (of egg).

baciner   To baste (from context, not 'marinate' as Pichon et al. suggest).

baye   Berry (bay or juniper) (used in the treatment of wines) ('bay' alone may mean the berries of the bay tree (OED). Pichon et al. suggest the juniper berry. Crushed juniper berry is used to remove unpleasant flavours from game birds (Rombauer et al.). Scully (1988) suggests bay leaves, but this is surely wrong.).

baien   Burst (of swelling grain) (Pichon et al.).

bescuit   Pike (fish) (Pichon et al., Tobler. Power and Flandrin et al. have 'salmon'.).

bete   Chard (Pichon et al., Montagne, OED).

bien pou   Just a little (Huguet. Other dictionaries suggest 'very little' and similar meanings, but the recipes involved seem to call for the use of more than is suggested by 'very little'.).




blanc mengier   White dish (the literal meaning is 'white to eat'. A translation as the modern 'blancmange' would be misleading.).

boe   Mud (a thick black sauce) (Pichon et al.).

bourblier   Not translated. It might be a particular cut of the wild boar (Godefroy suggests 'shoulder', Power has 'umbles' and Scully (1986) has 'breast'). Scully (1988) very reasonably suggests that it might instead be the name of the sauce described in the recipe, or (less likely) of the entire dish.

boussac   Bisque (OED, Montagne. Modern 'bisques' are exclusively shellfish dishes.).

bousture   Boiled dish.

boute   Ropy (of wine) (Pichon et al., Montagne).

bouter   To insert, to attach, to touch.

brahon   Dark meat (muscle) (OED under 'brawn'. This differs from the conjecture of Pichon et al. that it was a mis-writing for 'brown' meat. They were right for the wrong reason. Power has 'guts'.).

brete   Small dogfish (Pichon et al. OED under 'bret' suggests brill or turbot, but these already appear, and are flat fish.).

brosser   To curdle (from context. It may mean 'thicken'. Pichon et al. say they could not understand the meaning of the word).

brouet   Soup (Montagne, OED under 'brewis'. The common translation as 'broth' is misleading, as many of these soups are thick.).

bruler   To grill (of bread, browned as a sauce thickener).

cameline   Not translated. The name may come from the ingredient canelle (Santich private communication, Scully), from its camel colour (Scully 1986), or from a herb (cameline) that may have formerly been an ingredient (OED, Sass 1975).



† Later note for blanc mengier: I have learned that the literal meaning should be 'white food', not 'white to eat'. JP 2014-August-13.



canelle   Cassia (canelle, fleur de canelle, and cynamome appear in Le Viandier. 'Cassia buds' were used in the Middle Ages (Grieve), so I think the identification is easy. Rosengarten similarly identifies canelle with 'cassia', and cynamome with 'cinnamon'.).

carreletz   Small plaice. See also pleiz.

cerf   Red deer. See also chevrel.

cervoison   Deer hunting season (Pichon et al., Huguet. Scully (1988) suggests 'young stags'.).

chair   Meat (the literal meaning is 'flesh', but this would be less natural for the modern reader).

charpie   Shreds (from charpir, meaning 'to shred').

chaudeau   Caudle.

chaudumel   Chowder (OED).

chaudun   Intestine (Pichon et al., Montagne).

chevesneau   Chub (fish) (Montagne, OED).

chevrel   Roe deer. See also cerf.

ciboule   Scallion (OED).

citail   Turmeric (Pichon et al., Grieve, OED).

cive   Ragout or stew (derived from a word meaning 'onion' (Plouvier)).

cochu   Quiche (a conjecture guided by Montagne and OED).

colz   Tails (of crayfish) (from cul meaning 'bottom').

comminee   Cumin dish (Pichon et al.).

compettement   Appropriately, sufficiently (Huguet).




convy   Banquet (Pichon et al., Godefroy).

coq   Costmary (Pichon et al., Grieve).

couleiz   Mash (from context. Even the bones in these dishes are pounded up. OED under 'cullis'.).

couler   To sieve (Pichon et al. OED under 'colander', and Sass (1975) "cole the broth thurgh a cloth".).

crespe   Crisp (this is the literal meaning, and accurately describes the dish. A translation as the modern 'crepe' or 'pancake' would be misleading. I apologize to all those for whom 'crisp' means what is called in North America the 'potato chip'.).

cresson   Watercress (Montagne says that watercress is the cress most commonly used in cooking).

cretonnee   Cretone (not further translated) (OED).

cynamome   Cinnamon (see the English Glossary under 'cassia').

daintiers   Testicles of the red deer (but can mean all of the dainty bits) (Pichon et al., Godefroy).

dalle   Steak (of fish) (Montagne under darne).

dariole   Pie crust (from context, and OED).

deffaire   To sprinkle (something dry) (from context, where the meaning of 'moisten' does not fit).

deffaire de   To steep in (seems the most accurate sense of this word for the manuscript. The literal meaning is 'undo'. Pichon et al. suggest 'thin down' or 'wet', and others such as Hieatt et al., Power, and Scully have made choices like 'moisten' and 'dilute'.).

demourer   To linger (OED).

denree   A denier's worth of the indicated ingredient (Trésor, von Wartburg).




destremper de   To soak with (from context).

doree   John Dory (fish) (OED).

dorer   To gild, to glaze, to coat, to brown.

droiz   Giblets (OED. The literal meaning is 'rights'.).

eaue grasse   Stock (of some meat) (literally 'fatty water').

eaue rose   Dew water (a free translation based on context. A more literal translation as 'rose water' would be misleading, as the recipe contains no rose water.).

engoulle   Decorated (Godefroy. Power has 'savoury'.).

entremetz   Subtlety (OED. The literal meaning is 'between courses'.).

eschaude   Hot water pastry (Montagne).

eschauder   To scald.

eschine   Chine (cut of meat) (Montagne).

eslisier   To pick over.

espic   Spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia) (OED. Others suggest 'spikenard' (Nardostachys jatamansi), but I think this less likely. For that there was a separate word, spicanarde.).

estamine   Cheesecloth (Godefroy. It is just possible that this word might have two meanings, 'cheesecloth' and 'metal sieve'. English cook books of this date frequently mention a strainer in similar contexts. In Le Viandier the contexts that indicate which is meant all unambiguously imply a cloth, so that is the translation that I have used throughout. Godefroy mentions a sieve of silk for flour. Tobler mentions straining through "cloth, towel or cheesecloth". Hartley mentions sieves made of horsehair stretched over hoops.).




faulx grenon   A kind of stew (not further translated) (Godefroy. Literally 'mock grenon'. OED under 'gravy' suggests 'gravy bastard'.). See also grane.

fichier   To fix, to attach.

fiens   Dung (OED under 'fiants').

filler   To thread in (eggs into hot liquid) (from context).

flamment   Flemish.

fleur   Flower; fine flour.

flez   Flounder (fish) (OED).

fons   Bottom (of a pot).

franc meurier   Wild mulberry.

frase   Mesentery (Montagne).

frian   Epicure (OED).

fricture   Fried fish.

frioler   To brown (by frying) (Pichon et al.).

fromage de gain   Harvest cheese.

fuccus   Fry (a conjecture guided by OED. Spelt fruites in other recipes. Pichon et al. could not identify this fish. There is an edible seaweed called 'fucus', and a goatfish (Phycis furcatus). Scully (1988) suggests phoque meaning 'seal'.).

gardon   Roach (fish).

gaymel   Gudgeon (fish) (OED, Baldinger).

geline   Young female chicken.

georgie   Not translated. Power has 'garnished'.

gourneau   Red (?) gurnard (fish) (Montagne, OED. The species of gurnard is not certain.). See also grimondin.




grain   Meat (Pichon et al. The literal meaning is 'solid matter'.).

grane   Ragout (from context and Godefroy. The medieval English spelling was 'grave' (OED under 'gravy'). Scully has 'gravy', but this is misleading as it is not a modern gravy.).

grappois   Grampus (marine mammal) (OED).

gras   Ropy (of wine) (Montagne. The literal meaning is 'greasy'.).

grimondin   Grey (?) gurnard (fish) (Montagne, OED. The species of gurnard is not certain.). See also gourneau.

guede   Woad (a dye) (Grieve).

haller   To brown (on a grill).

hannon   Scallop (Pichon et al. Brereton et al. and Scully suggest 'cockle', and Montagne says that in Picardy cockles are called henons. However, the actual recipe calls for frying (as in modern recipes for scallops) rather than boiling (as in modern recipes for cockles). The cockle shell and the scallop shell are quite similar in appearance, and the same name in different localities for different shellfish is quite possible.).

haulte gresse   Fatted (of an animal) (conjectured from context).

hericoc   Haricot (not further translated) (OED. Plouvier suggests that it is derived from a word meaning 'cut into bits'.).

hettoudeau   Young male chicken (prior to becoming a capon) (Flandrin et al.).

hochepot   Hotchpotch (OED).

hostie   Wafer (Godefroy).

jours masles   Meat days (Santich private communication, Scully 1988. The literal meaning is 'butchering days'.).

laictue   Lettuce (a pastry) (not further translated). See also oreillette.




lamproyon   Small lamprey (OED under 'lamprel').

lart   Pork fat (Montagne). See also sain de lart.

lassis   Laces.

limon   The slimy protective coating on fish (Scully 1988).

lores   The most obvious guess would be 'bay leaf', but this already appears in the list of spices. Pichon et al. could not identify it. Lores is not actually used in any recipe in Le Viandier. One possibility is laurin, meaning 'wild thyme' (Godefroy, Montagne, Grieve). Another possibility is luce, short for fleur de luce, meaning 'orris root' (Grieve). An early English spelling for orris root is 'ireos' or 'yreos' (OED), so perhaps a mis-writing is involved.

lorez   Lorey (not further translated) (OED. Elsewhere spelt lorais.).

luz   Large or fully-grown pike (Pichon et al., OED).

mangonneau   Mangonel. See the English Glossary.

marc   Residue (Montagne).

mastic   Mastic thyme (Thymus mastichina) (Scully and Brereton et al. suggest the resin 'mastic' (Pistachia lentiscus), and Scully suggests a mis-writing of macis meaning 'mace'.).

mauvil   Thrush (OED under 'mavis').

meinuise   Minnows (fish) (OED, Stone et al.).

menue haste   Spleen or other offal (The literal meaning is 'small roast (on a spit)'. Le Menagier de Paris explicitly identified it as the spleen (Tobler). OED under 'haslet', Montagne under hatereau, and von Wartburg identify it variously as the loin, liver, lungs, spleen, kidneys, tripe or other innards of pork.).

merluz   Stockfish (originally dried hake, that is, the sea pike or mer-luz) (OED, Montagne).




mesche   Mecca (for Mecca ginger) (Pichon et al. were unable to identify this. The Encyclopedia Britannica, Grieve, Rosengarten, OED and many other books were unable to shed additional light. Godefroy mentioned "gengenbre de Mech" (1401) and "gigiembras Alixandrin" (1377). A common alternate spelling of mesche at the time would have been mesque, which is close to the modern Mecque, meaning 'Mecca'. Power translates it as 'string ginger', but this is surely wrong. Labarge, presumably misled by Power, gets it almost right in "there was also a superior variety which was sold in the market of Mecca and came to Europe by way of Alexandria ... that from Mecca was 'string' ginger ... the Goodman felt that Mecca ginger was far superior to the other". Von Wartburg correctly identifies it as "ginger coming from the merchants of Mecca". I should have started with von Wartburg.).

missier   To chop or slice (Pichon et al., OED).

mistion   Mixture (Huguet).

moruau   Codling (fish) (from context and morue meaning 'cod'. Godefroy.).

mote   Motte. See the English Glossary.

moyeu   Yolk (of egg).

mugue   Musky (of wine) (OED).

mulet   Grey mullet (fish) (Montagne).

nourroys   Norse (OED).

orcanet   Alkanets (Grieve).

oreille   Gill (of fish).

oreillette   Small ear (a pastry) (not further translated) (Godefroy, Montagne under roussette). See also laictue.

paelle   Pan (frying pan or saucepan).




par devers   On (from context, although Godefroy suggests 'towards').

parmerienne   Parma (the Italian city) (the more usual translation of 'Parmesan' would mislead by suggesting the cheese).

pignolet   Pine nut paste (Pichon et al. Huguet suggests pine nut kernels.).

pinperneau   A small kind of eel (Pichon et al., OED under 'pimpernol').

pique   Soured (of wine) (Montagne).

pleiz   Plaice (fish) (OED). See also carreletz.

pommeau   Quenelle (a dumpling of forcemeat (stuffing)) (from context and Montagne).

poree   Greens (from context and Power).

pot d'Espaigne   Spanish pot (OED under 'potew').

potaige   Pottage (OED).

poucin   Chick (Montagne).

poullet   Pullet (Montagne).

pourcel   Piglet (in the recipe "Soux de pourcel") (Scully 1988, Tobler. A mis-writing for persil meaning 'parsley' is possible, since the recipe as it appears mentions parsley but not piglet.).

se prendre   To set (of jelly).

prins   Set (of jelly).

purer   To drain (from context. The literal meaning is 'purify' or 'strain', but it is clear in these contexts that it is the solid matter that is important. This is not conveyed by 'strain', so I have translated it as 'drain'.).




rappe   Grape dish, grape sauce (a conjecture, from the ingredients, and from rape, meaning 'grape stalk' and possibly 'grapes' (OED). The recipes in Le Viandier do not match the usual suggested translation of 'grated dish' (OED). Scully (1988) suggests that the grapes are mashed, but this seems unlikely.).

ratiz   Mesentery (Guilbert).

reffaire   To refresh (meat) (from context).

reprendre   To spread out (in context).

ressuyer   To dry again.

se retraire   To shrivel, to shrink.

ribelete   Cracklings (a conjecture from context, guided by Rombauer et al., Montagne under rillettes, and OED under 'greaves').

rossaille   Rudd (fish) (OED under 'red-eye', discovered by analogy with setaille meaning 'seven-eye').

rouget   Red mullet (fish) (Montagne).

roussir   To brown (by frying).

roye   Striped.

roze   Rosy.

sade   Solid (OED, Grandsaignes. Not 'agreeable' as Pichon et al. and Godefroy suggest.).

sain de lart   Lard (Montagne). See also lart.

salmonde   Avens (Pichon et al., Montagne, Grieve).

sancte   Not translated. Pichon et al. could not identify this fish. The literal meaning is 'holy' or 'saint'. The John Dory is called also the Saint Peter fish (Scully 1988, OED, Montagne).




setaille   River lamprey (Pichon et al., Godefroy, Montagne, OED under 'seven-eye' and under 'lampern').

souffrire   To fry lightly (from modern Italian soffriggere. Pichon et al. quote Le Menagier as specifying that frire meant frying in an iron pan, and souffrire meant frying in a pot. Sabban rejects Le Menagier's explanation, and notes that it is always used as a pre-cooking step preparatory to the final cooking.).

soustil   Subtle (OED).

soux   Souse (a pickling mixture) (OED).

sur   Rather (as in "sur jaune" and "sur le jaune" meaning "rather yellow") (from context, and by analogy with "Mectes dedans du succre et non pas tant qu'il oste le gust du verjust, car il ne doibt pas estre sur le doulx" meaning "Add some sugar and not so much that it removes the taste of the verjuice, for it should not be overly sweet" quoted from Chiquart by Scully (1988)).

surmontain   Bastard lovage (Godefroy, OED).

taille   Not translated. The word as it appears means 'sliced'. The recipe itself is for meat days, the next recipe is for fish days, and the one after that is for Lent ("Lenten slices"). Scully reads this word as tuille meaning 'tile-coloured' or 'tiled' (from the colour or overlapped appearance of analogous dishes). On the other hand, the table of contents entry for the recipe "Slices" is mis-written as tuilleiz. OED under 'tailye'.

taillis   Slices.

se tenir   To hold together.

tostee   Toast (OED).

tourne   To curdle (in some contexts).

troncon   Section.

troussant   Stiff (of sauce) (Pichon et al., but I am not entirely convinced).




vendoise   Dace (a fish) (OED).

verjus en grain   Verjuice grapes (whole) (from context, and Flandrin et al.).

vertgay   Bright green (the literal meaning is 'gay green', referring to a mixture of green herbs and saffron used to colour a dish. Also 'yellowish green' or 'clear green' (von Wartburg).).

vertocher   To tap the bung in (a conjecture from context, from comparison with the remedies for wines in Montagne, and possibly from verge, cognate with Spanish vara (rod), and toquer (to rap or tap). OED under 'verement' has c. 1440 "Buschement, or verement". This implies that busche and vere mean the same. Bouchement is the action of corking. Bouchon means 'bung'. In addition, verrou means 'bolt' or 'stopper'. Godefroy suggests 'make a barrel ready for serving' and cites a passage dated 1387. Pichon et al. don't think that fits but confess themselves unable to give any satisfactory explanation.).

viande   Food (not just meat) (OED).

viandier   Food provider (cook or host) (OED. King Richard II of England was referred to in 1390 as "the best and royallest viander of all Christian kings" (Sass 1975). It might instead mean 'a collection of foods', 'a recipe book' (Cornell et al. private communication).).

vinaigrete   Vinegar dish.

yssues   Pluck (Montagne).





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