The cookery of the late middle ages deserves to be better known. A variety of sources exist to help us understand what food was normally eaten across Europe in the grander households, but is only recently that intensive scholarly research has extracted a large number of recipes from manuscripts of the period and made them generally available. These seven thousand or so extant recipes from the period show just how rich and varied a choice of dishes the wealthy gastronome enjoyed on his dining board. The master cook who laboured in the noble kitchens of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was a culinary savant. Trained by apprenticeship under other masters, he had acquired a wide range of culinary skills that let him use the standard facilities „Ÿ the open fire, the mortar and the bolting cloth „Ÿto the best advantage. As a master himself his craft required that he possess a very large repertoire of preparations; he had as well to know how to accommodate the seasonal scarcity of certain foods and the lean-day strictures of the Church. Furthermore, when he put together meals he had to be guided in his menus not only by convention but by physiological reason: above all, the cook had to understand thoroughly the inherent qualities of all of the foodstuffs he handled, a body of knowledge which had evolved in the western world through centuries of learned medical dogma. The lore and logic of the medieval kitchen is very fully explored by Terence Scully in this book. He confirms current scholarly suspicion that the science of cookery was far more advanced than has previously been thought to be the case, and he shows in his study of the marriage of method with materials that food in the middle ages was then, as now, generally something to look forward to.