Roasted Swan for Dinner? Oldest English Cookbook Reveals 200 Meals Fit for a King

Roasted Swan for Dinner? Oldest English Cookbook Reveals 200 Meals Fit for a King

(Read the article on one page)

Richard II King of England

Richard II King of England

Pears in Confection

 6 large firm cooking pears, peeled, cut in half, and cored

2 cups water or red wine

½ teaspoon red sandalwood powder [turns pears dark read and gives them a pleasant flavor]

1 1/8 cups good-quality Muscatel, Vernaccia, or any sweet heavy wine

½ - ¾ teaspoon powdered ginger

2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar (or more for a thicker syrup)

garnish: pomegranate seeds


1.            Boil pears in the water or red wine and sandalwood in a covered pot about 15 minutes or until soft but still firm.  Drain.

2.            Combine sweet wine, ginger, and sugar.  Bring to a boil and cook until syrup is slightly reduced and thickened.

3.            Pour syrup over pears.  Serve warm or cold, garnished with pomegranate seeds.

Serves 6.

Top image: King Richard II, enjoying a grand meal. (

By Kerry Sullivan


Bailey, Ian, and Leah Hunt. "Oldcook: Forme of Cury and Cookery Books in English." Medieval Cookery Books. Medieval Cookery Books, 2016. Web. 02 Oct. 2016.

Glynn, Fred. "To The King's Taste (The Forme of Cury)." Cookbooks A La Carte. Cookbooks A La Carte, 2009. Web. 02 Oct. 2016.

The Master-Cook of King Richard II. "The Forme of Cury - Pygg in Sawse Sawge." The British Library. The British Library Board, 14 Aug. 2006. Web. 02 Oct. 2016.

The Master-Cooks of King Richard II. "The Forme of Cury." Forme of Cury. Project Gutenberg, 1390. Web. 02 Oct. 2016.


Cindy Renfrew published a pair of cookbooks for people interested in this type of cooking called 'Take A Thousand Eggs' and there has been a group of people online working with these recipes since way back in the USENET days, many of the email conversations are archived at which is also searchable.

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

 “Big Foot”
The Maero is a creature found in the mythology of the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. This mythological creature may be described as a type of wildman, like the Yeti of the Himalayas, or the Sasquatch of Native American folklore. Like these more well-known creatures, the Maero are described as large, hairy, human-like creatures.

Myths & Legends

An illustration of Vasilisa the Beautiful, by Ivan Bilibin.
[…] In the evening the girl laid the table and began waiting for Baba-Yaga. It grew dark. The black horseman swept by and it was night. The skulls’ eyes began to shine. The trees creaked, the dead leaves crunched, the earth trembled, and there was Baba-Yaga…

Human Origins

Silhouettes (Public Domain) in front of blood cells (Public Domain) and a gene.
Most people who have the Rh blood type are Rh-positive. There are also instances, however, where people are Rh-Negative. Health problems may occur for the unborn child of a mother with Rh-Negative blood when the baby is Rh-Positive.

Ancient Technology

Mammoth in the Royal BC Museum in Victoria (Canada). The display is from 1979, and the fur is musk ox hair.
In Sivershchina, close to the village of Mizyn in Ukraine is one of the oldest and most unique settlements of humans – and it was discovered in a parking lot. The now well-known archaeological site, known plainly as the Mizyn parking lot, dates back 18-20 thousand years.

Ancient Places

The highly-decorated tomb is built in a distinctive ‘L’ shape
A mysterious ancient tomb with “unusual and rare” wall paintings has been discovered in Egypt. Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany told BBC reporters the discovery of a 4,400-year-old tomb found during excavation work in Giza’s western cemetery “likely belonged to Hetpet, a priestess to Hathor, the goddess of fertility, who assisted women in childbirth.”

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article