The very first recipe in the very first cookbook in Dutch is for stuffed eggs. The book Eenen seer excellenten gheexperimenteerden nieuwen Cocboeck (which would translate into something like A very excellent new cookbook with full proof recipes) was written by medical doctor Carolus Battus and published in 1593. The book contains some 300 recipes for a range of food and drink. It was published as an annex to his Medecijn Boec.
The term ‘full proof’ in the title is slightly inaccurate: Carolus Battus doesn’t mention quantities and it’s also unlikely that he, as a very important doctor in Antwerp and later Dordrecht and Amsterdam, would have had sufficient time to actually prepare the dishes mentioned in his book.
In 2021 Marleen Willebrands and Christianne Muusers published a book on the life of Carolus Battus, his books and his recipes. The book was awarded with the prestigious Joop Witteveenprijs. It’s beautifully illustrated, well written and it contains a wealth of background information plus photo’s that show the facsimile of the 1593 publication. Historian Alexandra van Dongen contributed with a chapter on 16th century ceramics and etiquette.
Their book gives a wonderful insight in 16th century food, which obviously is very different from today’s food. Sugar is often used (see for example the recipe below for stuffed eggs) as are raisins and fruit preserves. The focus is on meat, obviously. Vegetables (other than asparagus and artichokes) are seldom on the menu.
The book also includes suggestions how we, in the 21st century, could use the recipes from 1593. The book offers modern versions of recipes for onion soup, for sausages with pork meat and fennel seeds, for chicken with bitter orange, for buttermilk cheese etcetera. The fun of this section of the book is that it enables you to taste the flavours of the 16th century, without having to search for alternative ingredients.
Use a fork to combine the egg yolk, rosemary, marjoram, sugar, cinnamon, mace and ginger
Stuff the eggs
Fry the eggs in brown butter (!)
Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
We enjoyed the stuffed eggs with a glass of rosé. The taste was very pleasant and the combination of the herbs and spices worked very well. Frying the eggs was a bit tricky but 3 minutes in a non stick pan worked well.
Our 2022 version:
Boil the eggs
Remove the yolk
Finely chop fresh rosemary and marjoram
Grate some fresh ginger
Use a fork to combine egg yolk, rosemary, marjoram, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
Stuff the eggs
Fry the eggs in butter and serve.
Het excellente kookboek van doctor Carolus Battus uit 1593 (Dutch only) is available via the usual channels and your local bookstore for € 29,95.
Today the program of the 7th Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food closed with the Prize-giving ceremony of the 2022 Johannes van Dam Prize and the 2022 Joop Witteveen Prize. Previous winners of the prestigious Johannes van Dam Prize include Yotam Ottolenghi, John Halvemaan, Carlo Petrini, Alice Waters, Claudia Roden and Alain Passard.
Joop Witteveen Prize
The Joop Witteveen prize was awarded to Marleen Willebrands, Christianne Muusers and Alexandra van Dongen, authors of Het Excellente Kookboek van doctor Carolus Battus. This book focus on the culinary world of doctor Battus, who lived from 1539 until 1619. His cookbook was published in 1593.
Two publications were shortlisted: Dirk-Jan Verdonk, Dierloos: Een geschiedenis van vegetariërs en veganisten in Nederland and Ingrid de Zwarte, Hongerwinter.
Johannes van Dam prize
The 2022 Johannes van Dam prize was awarded to Belgian Chef Jeroen Meus. He is well known for his inspiring daily TV program Dagelijkse Kost (Daily Food). In this 15 minutes program he shares the fun of preparing food, for instance crumble pie with pears and raisins, monkfish with a mustard crust or penne with chorizo and red bell pepper. His aim is not to cook on Michelin Star level, his aim is to help everyone prepare tasty, good food, every day of the week. His books and website (in Dutch only) support this goal in a very helpful way.
Professor Louise O. Fresco, President of the Executive Board of Wageningen University & Research and chair of the jury, emphasised that Jeroen has a true talent to bring food and people together. She also highlighted his passion to prepare good food, and the fact that he shares that passion not only through cookbooks, but also via social media and a daily show on television. She mentioned he is an inspiration to all of us who love to cook and enjoy food.
Jeroen thanked the jury and all those who supported him over the years. He mentioned that he shared the love for meatballs with potato mash and endive (Chicorium endivia) with culinary journalist and food expert Johannes van Dam. He promised to prepare this dish next week on television, as a tribute to good food and to the prize.
Next year on February 11th and 12th, the 7th Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food will take place in Amsterdam. You can also join online, for € 40,00 only. Lunch not included of course. This year’s theme is Food and the Environment: The Dynamic Relationship Between Food Practices and Nature.
The key note will be delivered by Ewout Frankema, Professor of Rural and Environmental History at the Dutch Wageningen University and research fellow of the UK Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). Amongst the speaker are Christian Reynolds on The evolution of “sustainable” and vegetarian recipes from manuscripts and cookbooks to online and Amber Striekwold on The Dutch Alternative Food Movement.
On Friday 11th the program will close with the Prize-giving ceremony of the 2022 Johannes van Dam Prize and the 2022 Joop Witteveen Prize. Previous winners of the prestigious Johannes van Dam Prize include Yotam Ottolenghi, John Halvemaan, Carlo Petrini, Alice Waters, Claudia Roden and Alain Passard (see picture).
On Friday November 15th and Saturday 16th 2019 the annual Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food took place at the main auditorium of the University of Amsterdam. Such a pleasure to listen to great papers presented, discussing (post-) colonial foodways; creating, negotiating, and resisting transnational food systems. Two award ceremonies are part of the symposium.
Joop Witteveen Prize
Maarten Hell, author of De Amsterdamse herberg 1450-1800: geestrijk centrum van het openbare leven (published by VanTilt, Nijmegen, 2017) was the winner in the Academic category, the Joop Witteveen Prize. A book that discusses not only the history of food and drink as served in the inns in Amsterdam between 1450 and 1800, but also the development of what we would call hospitality. The prize is named after culinary historian and author Joop Witteveen (1928-2016). Together with his partner Bart Cuperus and Johannes van Dam (see below) he founded the Dutch Gastronomische Bibliotheek (gastronomic library), now part of the historical collection of the University of Amsterdam.
Johannes van Dam Prize
Alain Passard received the prestigious Johannes van Dam prize. The jury, chaired by professor Louise O. Fresco (President of the Wageningen University & Research Executive Board), mentioned his impressive contribution to international cuisine. She highlighted that many years ago Alain Passard shifted towards vegetables, creating a new balanced cuisine, without banning fish and meat from his menu. The vegetables and fruit are organic and produced on his own three farms. His combinations and flavours are exceptional, just think about a side dish with haricots verts, almonds, white peach and basil.
His second important contribution to today’s cuisine is to introduce colour and art as elements of cooking, next to flavour, shape, odour, temperature and texture. His approach is unique and his recipes are a tribute to vegetables, fruit, flavour and colour. The prize is named after culinary writer and critic Johannes van Dam (1946-2013) who was not only known for his reviews of restaurants but also for his massive collection of books on food and drink plus his passion for tasty, good food. Amongst his favourite dishes were the typical Dutch kroketten (‘croquets’ in French). Normally a cheap and fat snack, but Johannes van Dam was convinced that it is a true delicacy provided – of course – it is prepared the right way. Mr. Passard was clearly very happy, proud and touched to receive the prize. In his speech he emphasized the importance of the season. He mentioned that nature is a cook book in its own right, one that is beautiful and should be followed.
This week on Friday and Saturday the annual Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food took place at the main auditorium of the University of Amsterdam. Such a pleasure to listen to great papers presented, discussing the origin of umani or the history of Byzantine taste (presented by Anouk Everts). The key-note was delivered by Peter Klosse. He made many interesting points with regard to taste and flavour. His analysis of Mouth Feel is food for thought and discussion. PS Garum as used in the Byzantine kitchen is a fish sauce. It is made from fermented fish (sardines for instance) and salt. It goes back to Roman times. Fun to make, actually….
Johannes van Dam prize
Yotam Ottolenghi received the prestigious Johannes van Dam prize. The jury, chaired by professor Louise O. Fresco, mentioned Yotam’s impressive contribution to current Dutch and International cuisine. The prize is named after culinary writer and critic Johannes van Dam who was not only known for his reviews of restaurant but also for his massive collection of books on food and drinks. Mr. Ottolenghi was very pleased to receive the prize (as you can see in the picture!)
Joop Witteveen prize
Antwerpen a la carte was the winner in the Academic category, the Joop Witteveen Prize. A book that discusses not only the history of food in the port city of Antwerpen, but also today’s role of a (hungry) city in the area of food production and consumption. Main authors are Ilja van Damme and Leen Beyers. The book is linked to an exposition at the MAS in Antwerp. More information about the papers can be found on the website of the conference.