A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

On preparing lettuce

PERIOD: Italy, 15th century | SOURCE: De Honesta Voluptate et Valetudine | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Two ways to prepare lettuce.


It is eaten both cooked or raw. Raw lettuce does not need to be washed if it is prepared in this way, for they are more healthful than when washed with water if put in a dish. Sprinkle them with ground salt and a little oil and pour a little more vinegar, and eat it right away. There are those who add a little mint and parsley to this preparation, so that it does not seem too bland; and so that there is not too much chill from the lettuce to harm the stomach, put cooked lettuce, with the water squeezed out, in a dish when you have dressed it with salt and oil and vinegar, and serve it to your guests. There are those who add a bit of cinnamon or pepper well-ground and sifted.

- Andrews, Elizabeth Buermann. De Honest Voluptate. The First Dated Cookery Book. St. Louis: Volume V from the Mallinckrodt Collection of Food Classics, 1967.


  • lettuce - romaine, leaf, etc.; any leafy variety, but not modern "iceberg"
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • vinegar - red wine, white wine, cider, etc.
  • mint - fresh, chopped
  • parsley - fresh, chopped
  • cinnamon
  • pepper
Version 1: tear the lettuce by hand into pieces and place in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle on a little salt and toss with vinegar & oil. Serve at once. OPTION: toss with a little freshly chopped mint & parsley.

Version 2: tear the lettuce by hand into pieces. Place in a large pot & cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and gently cook the lettuce until just tender or al dente. Remove from the water and drain well, pressing out as much water as possible. Place in a large serving dish, sprinkle on a little salt, and toss with vinegar & oil. Serve at once. OPTION: season with a little cinnamon or pepper.

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On preparing lettuce © 2003 James L. Matterer

A Boke of Gode Cookery Recipes

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