Saturday, January 14, 2012

From the 16th century Yiddish - food for a pregnant woman

Did you even know Yiddish was spoken in the 16th century? And in Venice?
I did not.

"There she lies, for four whole weeks, on her back, hidden behind the curtain, and eats nothing else, evening or morning, but good capons and plump hens, [with] the yellow broths they distill from saffron.
Poor woman! How else could she have gained this? Should she not care for herself a little?
She eats rich apple purées that help her move her bowels. She stuff herself with heaps of goat’ rue,comfits, and treggéa. [-55b-]
Nutmeg blossom, which helps her move her bowels and feel comfortable. All the dainties that her heart desires.
She and her nurse feel like a bird in a birdcage!
Every day, something unusual and something new. [She has] requested greens cooked with sugar and with wine—that is not forbidden to her. Almond rice sprinkled with sugar and with currants—that is another one of the foods that give her pleasure.It is as black with currants as flies.
How else could she [lie] for four weeks?"

From a delightful Yiddish manuscript from northern Italy, probably Venice, c. 1535.

This text is now in print in the original early Yiddish and English translation, with introductory essays and annotations by Justin Lewis and Harry Fox (University of Toronto):

Courtesy of the MEDMED list:

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