SVOR Award 2013 for Best Master Thesis: Congratulations!

Tomas Robenek

Tomas Robenek, now doctoral student in Civil and Environmental Engineering at EPFL, has won the SVOR (Swiss Association Operations Research) Award for his brilliant Master Thesis INTEGRATED BERTH ALLOCATION AND YARD ASSIGNMENT PROBLEM USING COLUMN GENERATION, Master Thesis, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU) and EPFL, Lausanne, 2012, which is also on the ZKS Foundation’s Publishing List.

On May 3rd he will present his Master Thesis at the Swiss OR Days at the University of Geneva where he will also receive is Award.

Oldest European Medieval Cookbook Found

(Image: Samuel Woods, Jacqueline Pankhurst, Samantha Ellis, Lydia Harris, Andy Hook, Daniel Duggan and Giles Gasper preparing one of the Medieval dishes; Credit: Durham University)

(Image: Samuel Woods, Jacqueline Pankhurst, Samantha Ellis, Lydia Harris, Andy Hook, Daniel Duggan and Giles Gasper preparing one of the Medieval dishes; Credit: Durham University)

A 12th-century manuscript contains the oldest known European Medieval food recipes, according to new research.

The recipes, which include both food and medical ointment concoctions, were compiled and written in Latin. Someone jotted them down at Durham Cathedral’s monastery in the year 1140.

It was essentially a health book, so the meals were meant to improve a person’s health or to cure certain afflictions. The other earliest known such recipes dated to 1290.

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Many of the dishes sound like they would work on a modern restaurant menu. Faith Wallis, an expert in medical history and science based at McGill University, translated a few for Discovery News:

“For “hen in winter’: heat garlic, pepper and sage with water.”

“For ‘tiny little fish’: juice of coriander and garlic, mixed with pepper and garlic.”

For preserved ginger, it should kept in “pure water” and then “sliced lengthwise into very thin slices, and mixed thoroughly with prepared honey that has been cooked down to a sticky thickness and skimmed. It should be rubbed well in the honey with the hands, and left a whole day and night.”

Re – the “hen in winter” dish, Giles Gasper from Durham University’s Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies said, “We believe this recipe is simply a seasonal variation, using ingredients available in the colder months and specifying ‘hen’ rather than ‘chicken,’ meaning it was an older bird as it would be by that time of year.”

Gasper added, “The sauces typically feature parsley, sage, pepper, garlic, mustard and coriander, which I suspect may give them a Mediterranean feel when we recreate them. According to the text, one of the recipes comes from the Poitou region of what is now modern central western France. This shows the extent to which international travel and exchange of ideas took place within the medieval period. And what more evocative example of cultural exchange could there be than food?”

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Gaspar and colleagues are recreating some of the dishes for a workshop to be held on April 25 atBlackfriars Restaurant in Newcastle, U.K. A lunch the following Saturday will feature the same dishes. The researchers are also putting together a translation of the cookbook under the title “Zinziber” (Latin for ginger).

While much of the food is still tasty to modern palates, not all of the medical cures would work today.

Gaspar explained, “Some of the medical recipes in this book seem to have stood the test of time, some emphatically haven’t! But we’re looking forward to finding out whether these newly-discovered food recipes have done so and whether they also possess what you might call a certain Je Ne Sais Quoi — or Quidditas, to use the Latin.”

(Image: Samuel Woods, Jacqueline Pankhurst, Samantha Ellis, Lydia Harris, Andy Hook, Daniel Duggan and Giles Gasper preparing one of the Medieval dishes; Credit: Durham University)

Because I was k…

Because I was kept away from the SISMEL conference by family obligations, I wanted to thank you for the work you are doing in your father’s memory. I was particularly pleased to note that the foundation supports both medieval studies and protection of the environment, as my research is on a medieval text that often discusses our relationship with the environment.

 

Excerpt of letter received today by Mrs. Alice Sharp, first awardee of the ZKS/Claudio Leonardi scholarship for doctoral research in Medieval Latin