The book is one of 40 rare manuscripts that are being digitally photographed and put on the internet
A 14th-century recipe book compiled by King Richard II’s master cooks is to put online for the first time to give modern-day chefs an insight into the delicacies of the Middle Ages.
Forme of Cury, which was written in 1390 in Middle English, details more than 200 recipes that were cooked in the royal household, including blank mang (a sweet dish of meat, milk, sugar and almonds) and mortrews (ground and spiced pork).
The recipe book is one of 40 rare manuscripts that are being digitally photographed and put on the internet by the University of Manchester’s John Rylands University Library.
Other Middle English manuscripts include one of the earliest existing editions of the complete Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, John Lydgate’s two major poems Troy Book and Fall of Princes, and 500-year-old translations of the Bible into English.
The work, which will be carried out using a state-of-the-art high-definition camera, will begin next month and is due to be completed by late 2009.
Jan Wilkinson, the director of the John Rylands library, described the library’s manuscripts as “a research resource of immense significance”.
“Yet the manuscripts are inherently fragile, and until now access to them has been restricted by the lack of digital copies. Digitisation will make them available to everyone,” she said.
“For the first time it will be possible to compare our manuscripts directly with other versions of the texts in libraries located across the world, opening up opportunities for new areas of research. We hope that this will be the beginning of a wider digitisation programme, which will unlock the tremendous potential of our medieval manuscripts and printed books for the benefit of the academic community and the wider public.”