Take eggs and break them, with oranges, as many as you like; squeeze
their juice and add to it the eggs with sugar; then take olive oil or fat,
and heat it in the pan and add the eggs. This was for ruffians and brazen
Johannes Bockenheim (or Buckehen) was cook to Pope Martin V and in the 1430s wrote a brief but highly original cookbook recently edited by Bruno Laurioux (see bibliography). This German, who lived at Rome, wrote as a professional, with telegraphic terseness and little detail; yet he was careful to specify the destined consumer of each recipe, pigeon-holed by social class—from prostitutes to princes—or by nationality: Italian, French, German from any of various provinces, and so forth.
We cannot see why this omelette, which contains no meat and no seasoning other than sugar, should be particularly well suited to debauchees. Surely, it is flesh (further fired by spices) that enflames the flesh. This omelette can be safely tasted without running the risk of moral turpitude.
Since medieval oranges were bitter, we suggest a blend of oranges and lemons. The sugar and the acidity of the juice prevent the eggs from completely setting, so this is more of a custardy cream that makes an unusual and very pleasant dessert.
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice the oranges and the lemon. Beat the eggs, add the juice, the sugar, and salt to taste, and cook the omelette in olive oil. Serve warm.
The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy
by Odile Redon, Françoise Sabban, & Silvano Serventi
Translated by Edward Schneider