A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents


PERIOD: France, 14th century | SOURCE: Le Ménagier de Paris | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: A dish of brussels sprouts


And when the heart of the cabbage, which is in the midst, is plucked off, you pull up the stump of the cabbage and replant it in fresh earth, and there will come forth from it big spreading leaves; and the cabbage takes a great deal of room and these cabbage hearts be called Roman cabbages and they be eaten in winter; and when the stumps be replanted, there grow out of them little cabbages which be called sprouts and which be eaten with raw herbs in vinegar; and if you have plenty, they are good with the outer leaves removed and then washed in warm water and cooked whole in a little water; and then when they are cooked add salt and oil and serve them very thick, without water, and put olive oil over them in Lent.

- Power, Eileen. The Goodman of Paris (Le Ménagier de Paris). A Treatise on Moral and Domestic Economy by A Citizen of Paris (c. 1395). New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1928.


  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts (see note)
  • water
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil OR 2 Tbs. butter
  • pinch salt
Shell and wash the brussels sprouts. Place in a pan and bring water to just the top of sprouts. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, & simmer water until sprouts are tender. Drain well. Toss with olive oil or butter and salt. Serve.

Brussels sprouts were rarely known outside of Belgium or northern France until the 17th century. The original recipe here is for newly sprouted cabbage hearts, which are difficult to find in today's modern markets. Brussels sprouts are a close substitute, and flavored with olive oil taste surprisingly different than most of us are used to.

My thanks to Cindy Renfrow & Nanna Rögnvaldardóttir for information from Le Ménagier de Paris. For Cindy's online Ménagier, see: Le Ménagier de Paris.

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