The Good Wife’s Guide (Le Menagier De Paris): A Medieval Household Book

Miri Rubin writes:

Filling almost 300 pages in this new translation, Le Ménagier de Paris is as compendious as Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, and equally ambitious. Yet unlike the energetic Mrs Beeton, its author is unknown and unknowable. He adopts the voice of ‘Husband’, addressing his ‘Young Wife’ and offering moral guidance, advice on hospitality and food and several cautionary tales, told in styles ranging from terse prose to poetry, as well as treatises on animal husbandry and hunting…This new translation by Gina Greco and Christine Rose is the first to appear in English of the whole text. The editors have spent years on their translation, tracking down the names of animals, foods, plants, agricultural implements, kitchen gadgets and medicines, and have judged the register wisely, occasionally leaving words or phrases in Latin or French.

(LRB 8 April 2010)