November redaction challenge

Two Medieval Powders and Makerouns

Keeping the momentum going, this week’s challenge is dual: powder fine and powder forte. While I’ve posted the recipes below, think of these powders like curry; everyone has their own preferred variation — so these are only guidelines!

They’re staple spices of a medieval kitchen — I used powder fine in my Tart de Bry, and more recipes I want to try over the winter will utilize them as well.

And since the adult challenge is less time intensive, I upped the youth challenge this time around for a medieval mac-and-cheese recipe, an authentic 14th c. recipe from Forme of Cury.

The trick on the mac and cheese version will be to interpret “thynne foyle of dowh” for the pasta part. (Or just go with the recommended egg noodles!)


Jump to:
  Pouldre forte
  Youth challenge: Makerouns (medieval mac-n-cheese) 

Pouldre fine (a fine powder of spices)

Original Recipe #1 (Le Ménagier de Paris 14thc. France):

Prenez gingembre blanc (une once et une drachme?) canelle triée (un quarteron?) giroffle et graine de chascun demi quart d’once, et de succre en pierre (un quarteron?) et faictes pouldre .

Translation by Janet Hinson:

Fine Powder of spices

Take an (ounce and a drachma*?) of white ginger, a (quarter-ounce?) of hand-picked cinnamon, half a quarter-ounce each of grains and cloves, and (a quarter-ounce ?) of rock sugar, and grind to powder.

Original Recipe #2 (Libro di cucina/ Libro per cuoco 14th c. Italy):

Specie dolce per assay cosse bone e fine.

Le meior specie dolze fine che tu fay se vuoi per lampreda in crosta e per altri boni pessi d’aque dolze che se faga in crosto e per fare bono brodetto e bon savore. Toi uno quarto de garofali e una onza de bon zenzevro e toy una onza de cinamo leto e toy arquanto folio e tute queste specie fay pestare insiema caxa como te piaxe, e se ne vo’ fare piú, toy le cosse a questa medessima raxone et è meravigliosamente bona.

 Translation by Helewyse de Birkestad, OL  (Louise Smithson):

Sweet spices, enough for many good and fine things

The best fine sweet spices that you can make, for lamprey pie or for other good fresh water fish that one makes in a pie, and for good broths and sauces.  Take a quarter (of an ounce) of cloves, an ounce of good ginger, an ounce of soft (or sweet) cinnamon, and take a quantity (the same amount of?) Indian bay leaves (*) and grind all these spices together how you please.  And if you don’t want to do more, take these things (spices) in the same ratio (without grinding) and they will be marvelously good.

Medieval Cuisine’s Interpretation:

½ cup powdered ginger 1½ tsp. Grains of Paradise, ground
2 Tbsp. cinnamon (Ceylon), ground 1½ tsp. Cloves, ground
1 Tbsp. sugar

Combine all ingredients together and placed in a sealed jar.

*a drachma weighed about 3-4grams (0.14 ounces)

Strong Powder

Also known Poudre Fort

Original Recipe #1 (Libro di cucina/ Libro per cuoco):

Specie fine a tute cosse.

Toi una onza de pevere e una de cinamo e una de zenzevro e mezo quarto de garofali e uno quarto de zaferanno.

Translation by Helewyse de Birkestad, OL  (Louise Smithson):

Fine spices for all dishes (things)

Take one ounce of pepper, one of cinnamon, one of ginger, half a quarter (of an ounce) of cloves, and a quarter (of an ounce) of saffron.


Original Recipe #2:

Specie negre e forte per assay savore.

Specie negre e forte per fare savore; toy mezo quarto de garofali e do onze de pevere e toy arquanto pevere longo e do noce moscate e fa de tute specie. 

Translation by Helewyse de Birkestad, OL  (Louise Smithson):

Black and strong spices for many sauces.

Black and strong spices to make sauces.  Take half a quarter (of an ounce) of cloves, two ounces of pepper and an (equal) quantity of long pepper and nutmeg and do as all spices (grind).

Medieval Cuisine’s Interpretation:

¼ cup powdered ginger ¼ cup Long Pepper, ground
¼ cup cinnamon (Ceylon), ground 1½ tsp. Cloves, ground
¼ cup Black Pepper, ground

Combine all ingredients together and placed in a sealed jar.

Makerouns (mac and cheese)

PERIOD: England, 14th century | SOURCE: Forme of Cury | CLASS: Authentic
DESCRIPTION: A dish of noodles and cheese
From “A Boke of Gode Cookery” website


  1. Makerouns. Take and make a thynne foyle of dowh, and kerue it on pieces, and cast hym on boiling water & seeþ it wele. Take chese and grate it, and butter imelte, cast bynethen and abouven as losyns; and serue forth.

– Hieatt, Constance B. and Sharon Butler. Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century (Including the Forme of Cury). New York: for The Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, 1985.


Macaroni. Take a piece of thin pastry dough and cut it in pieces, place in boiling water and cook. Take grated cheese, melted butter, and arrange in layers like lasagna; serve.


  • 3-4 lb. freshly home-made, undried noodles OR 1 lb. dried egg noodles*
  • 1 tbs. oil
  • large pinch salt
  • 2 cups grated cheese (see: How to Cook Medieval – Cheese)
  • 1 stick butter


Boil noodles with oil & salt until al dente (tender-crisp). Drain well. In a serving bowl or platter place some melted butter and cheese. Lay noodles on top and add more butter and cheese. Serve as-is or continue adding layers of butter, cheese, and noodles. Use extra cheese as necessary. Serve immediately, or place in a hot oven for several minutes and then serve. Serves 8.



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