Prager Stieffts Kuichel Gewölb Register, über allerhand emfangene, undt hinwieder heraussgaabte Victualien. Mense January (- Mense December).Prague, 1741



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Manuscript on paper. Tall narrow folio (445 x 185 mm), German manuscript in a neat hand in brown ink, 76 leaves, including section titles to each month, followed by tables filled in with relevant information (see below). Fine contemporary calf, covers richly blind tooled with ornamental and floral borders, spine with five raised bands, and gilt tooled red morocco label, four apple green silk ties (upper joint cracked at foot and lower joint cracked at top).   

An unusual glimpse into the eating habits of a religious community in Prague in the 1740s during the turmoil of War of the Austrian Succession. Their diet is astounding, and the community did not stint on their food comfort even in times of war. Frederick the Great of Prussia was fighting Maria Theresia of Austria in the War of the Austrian Succession (1740/41) in neighbouring Silesia; and the Prince-Elector of Bavaria allied with the French was marching his army through Bohemia, conquering Prague in November 1741.   This is a detailed, monthly, inventory of the many foods which were bought into the monastery’s kitchen and then promptly consumed by the brethren in the course of one year.

Quantities of food delivered are juxtaposed with those eaten, with the specific foodstuff noted at top and quantities in rows, subdivided into days below.   The food is listed in groups. Such as staples: ‘Hafer, Gries, Hirse, Linsen, Erbsen, Mehl (schwartz, mittel, oder weiss), Brot, Semmeln’, i.e. oats, semolina, millet, lentils, peas, flour (black, middle, or white), bread, and rolls. There are ‘Eier, Saltz, Käs, Schmalz, Butter (gesalzene, frische)’, i.e. eggs [on average 35 a day], salt, cheese, lard, and butter (lots of salted butter as it keeps better, but also unsalted fresh butter). There is a section headed ‘Vögel’ listing all poultry which was consumed, such as pigeons, ducks, goose, capons (‘Kapaune’), partridges (‘Rebhühner’), and a curious one called ‘Indianisch Geflügel’ (Indian poultry) maybe turkey?. At the end of the poultry list are also tacked on game, ‘Hasen, Schwarz und Rot Wild’, rabbits and wild boar and deer. The meat listed is suckling pig, veal, lamb, sheep, and beef (‘Spanferkel, Kalbsfleisch, Lammfleisch, Schafsfleisch, Rindfleisch’).

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