Earlier in February, the evening of the 9th to be precise, Giles Gasper gave a talk about the collection of sauces from 12th century Durham to the Hexham Local History Society. The ‘Sauces from Poitou’ collection was discovered by Professor Faith Wallis of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, analysed by her and Giles in an academic paper (the link requires library access), and has proved a fertile area for working with Andy Hook and the Blackfriars Team. As things stand this is the earliest culinary collection in the medieval European canon. Although a short collection, and with a close relation to contemporary medical thought, some of the most popular sauces of medieval cuisine can already be seen here in the second half of the 12th century.
The audience of 70 provided a very hospitable welcome, and a very stimulating question and answer session afterwards. Hexham is steeped in medieval history, an historic liberty of the Archdiocese of York, a 7th century crypt under the 12th century abbey, and an important part of the development of English cookery collections in the 18th century with the works of Hannah Glasse and Ann Cook. So, a big thank you for the invitation and to those who attended. And these sauces do form the basis for an Eat Medieval course which we will be running later in 2021 – so watch this space!