I’ve spent the last month and a half, more or less, trying to chase down any Spanish manuscript between 1580 and 1650 in translation, to no avail. I came across a couple of references to translations of Diego Granada (Libro del Arte de Cozina, 1599) by Mistress Brighid ni Chiarain, the translator of De Nola; but they appear to be individual recipes.
On Friday, during another idle Google session (my job involves about four hours per week of work that looks like: click – cut and paste – click – wait 90 seconds – repeat; I get a lot of low-level SCA research done while working on that task) I pulled up the Google Books electronic facsimile of Francisco Martínez Montiño’s Arte de Cozina, Pasteleria, Bizcocheria y Conserveria (1611).
And discovered that I could read it.
Well. “Read” is a relatively loose term. I took three years of high school Spanish, twenty years ago, and evidently have retained the fundamentals of grammar. I have studied Spanish, Mexican, and Central American cooking for a very long time, and have quite a lot of functional Spanish culinary vocabulary. And I have handled enough 15th-17th century Spanish maps and documents (reproductions, of course!) that my brain seems to subliminally make the s/f and u/v substitutions where appropriate on words I recognize, even if the meaning doesn’t pop into my head at a conscious level. So I could get the gist of a passage, on a cold read, to about 40% – comprehending some entire sentences, losing others, picking up at least a few key concept words in most. Tables of contents of recipes, my comprehension was closer to 80-90%.
So I transcribed a couple of pages and ran them through Google Translate that evening. The machine translation leaves a lot to be desired, but it provides enough information to tell me what is and isn’t useful. And a lot of it’s useful. There’s extensive narrative about kitchen and service practices, there are New World foods, there are seasonal recipes, there is just a wealth of new and exciting material.
I’ve stepped off the cliff. Over the weekend I finished 63 pages (of 697) of transcription. My plan is to transcribe the whole thing, make a rough machine translation, and select sections I want to work with for deeper translation for this feast and Kingdom A&S 2014. That’s all I’ll have time for if I want to be in recipe testing by Thanksgiving, which is my usual goal for this feast. The rest, I’ll poke at as I have time. I’ll add a section for the polished translation sections as they come. I’ll also be blogging about the process.