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Deventer Cookery Book Culinary history from cake to an emperor’s dish Michiel Bussink





Introduction Thriving culinary history


rass music could be heard from the windows of the Deventer city hall on 22 February 1716 while the newly elected city council proceeded from the Lebuïnuskerk to the table that had been laid inside the city hall. Everyone patiently waited until all council members had entered. Then it was time to sit down and eat all that was served: ham, stockfish, fried fish, soup, bread, cheese, roast beef and lamb, smoked ox-tongue. French wine and white beer always completed a meal. And this was just luch. The dinners in the homes of the selected few were even more lavish, lasted until the small hours and were a merry affair. Up to the present time, people think of its traditional cake when they think of Deventer. But many other delicious products were and are served and eaten in the Hanseatic town. That is evident from the description above of the ‘Petrikeursdag’, the 18th century custom to have a feast when the city’s regents are appointed. This food was rather luxurious, cost a lot of money and was not what the ordinary Deventer people could afford. Yet many stories can be told about the food of these Deventer inhabitants. What’s even more, you could write a book about the food eaten in Deventer throughout the centuries. This Deventer Kookboek (The Deventer Cookery Book) proves that. People were sometimes surprised when I told them I was writing a historical cookery book about Deventer. ‘Surely, Deventer, that provincial workers’ town without Michelin star restaurants doesn’t have any tasty culinary tales to be told!’ These people are mistaken. For thousands of years people have lived in and around Deventer. And it so happens that where people live, people eat. What’s more: people only lived in places where they could eat. Eating is vital for us human beings and the way people eat tells us something about the way we live. On top of that, Deventer has a long, rich and fascinating history that becomes visible when you walk through the town. The beautiful ‘De Brink’ square where the market stalls sell carrots, white cabbage and eggs, exactly like they would have done over eight hundred years ago. The ‘Bokkingshang’ near the IJssel river, where the herrings were smoked in Hanseatic times. The ‘Latijnse School’ opposite the Lebuïnuskerk where Erasmus used to study, who was given herb tea by his mother for this digestive complaints. The monumental ‘Koloniale Landbouwschool’at the Brinkgreverweg, where Sicco Mansholt used to study before he went to work on a Javan tea plantation and became Minister of Agriculture later in his life. The new Deventer Hospital, where 5

a mediaeval hop plantation was discovered when it was being built, crucial for the beer supply at the time. And of course the ‘Deventer Koekwinkeltje’ on the ‘De Brink’ owned by J.B. Bussink, because Deventer as a town of ‘koek’, or cake, yes, that’s what everyone remembers. In order to feed all inhabitants of a city like London, around the world a hinterland is needed of over a hundred times the size of the city itself, describes the English architect Carolyn Steel in her book ‘Hungry City’. People tend to overlook this fact. Cities are often regarded as autonomous, independently functioning units, which of course is not true. All these city dwellers have to eat and drink, day after day, three times a day and nowadays even more often. That food has to be produced somewhere in the world and it has to enter the city one way or the other. Most food used to be produced locally, but as a result of the industrial revolution, motorized transportation and refrigeration, food is produced far away. It has also allowed the city to expand rapidly. Carolyn Steel’s fascinating book ‘Hungry City’ is filled with fun historical facts and inspired me to take a closer look at the history of a specific city: Deventer, based


Deventer 1940

on its food supply. I may not live there, but I do live nearby, eight miles away, in the village of Lettele in the surrounding area that historically had strong ties with the town - not least because of the food supply. Deventer, with its beautiful old inner city by the IJssel river, its long trading history with plenty of stories. And, moreover, the town that taught my mother many cooking techniques when she attended ‘Nieuw Rollecate’, the first agricultural domestic science school and that she, in her turn, passed on to me and still continues to do. And also the town of Bussink cake. Am I related to the Deventer cake makers? I have researched my ancestry: part of the family tree of the nineteenth century Bussink cake makers and part of my father’s family tree. Who knows if they are linked somewhere? I haven’t found any proof yet. Anyway, this book contains ‘Michiel A.J. Bussinks Deventer Koek recept’, as my version of the famous cake recipe. Many other recipes to serve four have been included. They are based on historical recipes or ingredients, but have been adapted to the current tastes and customs. This cookery book should provide recipes that can actually be cooked in order to keep the culinary history of Deventer thriving.

Michiel Bussink 7


Content Introduction

Thriving culinary history

The snacks of the first Deventer people

13 Prehistoric and Roman times Elderberry and apple compote 18 Home smoked salmon with horseradish 19 Roman goat or lamb stew 19 Hare soup with porcini mushrooms 20 Rose hip sauce and jam 21 Hazelnut pesto with Ground Elder 21

Bishop’s wine and monk’s beer

23 Early Middle Ages Sourdough rye bread 28 Broad beans with summer savory and bacon Pea soup 29 Sage wine 30 Rabbit in canon’s beer 31 Barley buttermilk porridge 31


The Wealth of the Imperial Hanseatic City

33 1000 - 1500 Buckling tartar with roasted beetroot 48 Quaïoli (quince and garlic sauce) 49 Herb tea for Erasmus 49 Parsnip hotchpotch 50 Black buttermilk bread 51 Stuffed spring chickens 51 Roast dove with blackberry sauce 52 Dried cod (stockfish) with mustard sauce 53 Tough children’s cake 53

Deventer cake all over the world

55 1500 - 1818 Deventer cake 68 Mead (honey wine) 69 Krakelingen 69 Kruudmoes 70 Steamed lettuce and peas 71 Foamy currants with ginger and Deventer crumble Quince pie 72 Stewed apples 73 Oyster gratin 73 Fried venison with cranberries 74 Stuffed buckwheat crêpes 75 White cabbage with potatoes and buttermilk sauce Sint Maartens’ goose 76

Wilhelminafountain, De Brink





Sugar with white bread, sausage with gin

79 The time of steam trains and -engines, 1800 - 1918 Tompouces 92 White bread 93 Knieperkes (New Year’s biscuits) 93 Dutch raisin bread 94 Semolina pudding with rum raisins 95 Poached beef tongue 95 Pudding in a bag 96 Liver sausage 97 Mayonaise sauce 97 Dried cod (stockfish) pasty 98

From Rollepoes to spelt pasta

101 1919 - present day Young cockerels with beetroot 122 Oliebollen(doughnut balls) 123 Braderkes (fried new potatoes) 123 Lettels hare with Deventer cake 124 Deventer roode kool(Deventer red cabbage) 125 Deventer Brussels sprouts 125 Mashed potatoes and raw endive with bacon 126 Hete bliksem (hot stewed apples and potatoes) 127 Blauwe bliksem (hot stewed pears with potatoes) 127 Strawberry ice cream 128 Fluffy omelette (sweet) 129 Yeast pancakes with bacon 129 Balkenbrij 130 Sweet and sour bergamot pears 131 Muscovite sponge cake 131 Raisin and apricot drinks (with brandy) 132 Raisin and apricot drinks (non-alcoholic) 133 Kebab skewers with aubergine and mint yoghurt 134 Turkish lentil soup 135 Curry soup 135 Spelt flour tagliatelle with pumpkin-walnut sauce 136 Wentelteefjes (French toast) 137 Trifle with pears, chocolate fudge and Deventer cake 137



Bibliography and other resources Colofon



New Market and De Brink



The snacks of the first Deventer people Prehistoric and Roman times


esolate, bare, but primarily cold; that is how it was around 150,000 years ago in the place where Deventer now lies. An immense Scandinavian ice cap pushed the ground up into what we now call the hills of the Veluwe and the Sallandse Heuvelrug. In between lay a glacier that carved out a valley after temperatures began to increase. The polar wind blew over the poorly vegetated hills and plains, pouring sand onto and around the glacier. All kinds of meltwater streams wound their way towards the valley where they formed the IJssel culminating in the former Zuiderzee (the current IJsselmeer), which for a long time was a peat bog. One of these streams from an easterly direction was the Schipbeek. Somewhere there, around this intersection of the IJssel with the Schipbeek, the first people must have been living and eating there at one point, because they would not be there otherwise. For the most part of their existence, humans fed itself on foraged plants, roots, nuts and berries as well as hunting for fish, fowl and deer. During these quests for tasty wild food, they discovered new areas where they stayed for a short or longer time. When this might have happened in this place, at least what was eaten exactly by these people, is guesswork. In any case, in 1936 a skull was found at the Dortherbeek (also the Koerhuisbeek) to the southeast of Deventer. At the time it was the oldest human skeletal remains ever found in the Netherlands. This ‘first Deventenaar’ from the Mesolithic (around 10,000-6,500 BC) walked around here in the post-glacial forested area with many pine and birch trees. It would have been populated with wild boar, aurochs, wolves, red deer, roe deer and all kinds of birds. He would not have been alone. During excavations in 2005 at Epse-Noord (due to the planned business park), just to the south of the A1 motorway to Deventer, thousands of pieces of flint were found, including arrowheads and scrapers. The arrowheads were used to hunt red deer and boars, while the scrapers were used to clean the hides of the skinned animals. It is clear that at least one family lived here on an encampment for a long time. It would have been a good place, with drinking water from the Dortherbeek, plenty of trees, shrubs with berries and nuts, fish, birds and small mammals such as rabbits and hares. Plus it was a good base for multiple-day hunting trips for large game such as red deer, reindeer, wild boars, foxes, wolves and wild horses. Floodplains near Deventer


There, just south of the cars speeding along the A1 something very special was discovered: a flint ‘blade’ from the Mesolithic, the only one found in this part of the Netherlands. The elongated and sharpened piece of stone once had a handle: a knife to scrap clean animal skins and to carve wood, antlers and bones. After the handle was broken, its owner continued to use it. Apparently it was an important tool for the owner. This is not surprising, as it was made from valuable Rijckholt flint. For centuries there was an underground flint mine nearby the modern-day village of Rijckholt in Maastricht. Limburg miners worked the flint into a semi-finished product, while travelling traders brought it to the man, apparently all the way to Epse-Noord thousands of years ago. The hunters and gatherers from the Stone Age did not have any pots and pans. Meat and fish were roasted above fires. Tubers and roots were cooked in a pit with hot stones or hot ash, or boiled in water bags made from the skin or stomach of mammals. Wood or wicker baskets were made waterproof by applying clay to the inside. They did not heat them above a fire, because then they would catch fire. Yet the prehistoric Deventer cooks managed to heat the contents. First stones were placed in the fire and as soon as they were hot they were moved to the basket to heat the contents. Both the leather bags and the baskets were used to preserve food. Fish, meat, apples, berries, mushrooms and herbs were dried and sometimes smoked to preserve them for longer. Hazelnuts that were kept in their hard shells stayed good for a long time. Wild strawberries,

raspberries, elderberries, blackberries and apples were mashed into a thick puree and mixed with honey into a kind of jam.


Some time later - during the Neolithic from around 4,900 BC - the landscape around Deventer began to change to mixed forests with lots of oak trees. Moreover, a kind of ‘revolution’ took place between 4,000 and 3,000 BC. Strangely enough, it was the same revolution that occurred in many places around the world, although the people could not have known this. Instead of going around looking for food, they began to settle to keep animals, and start growing vegetables and grain. From hunters and gatherers, people became farmers. This transition is known as the ‘Neolithic Revolution’. But now scientists agree that it would be better to speak of an ‘evolution’. The transition was not sudden but gradual. For a long time both were done simultaneously, growing food and keeping animals as well as hunting and gathering. According to archaeologists, an arrowhead that was found at EpseNoord came originally from a farmer for whom hunting was also an important food source. Even the profession of ‘wild herb forager’ was considered normal in the Netherlands up until World War II and in recent years foraging has become more fashionable in and around Deventer. Even if it does not freeze, there is plenty of opportunity to ice-skate at De Scheg in the winter months with the nearby swimming pool and sport 14

halls. People also lived in Colmschate, the former village that has become a district of Deventer, around 4,000 years ago. That has been the conclusion from evidence found by archaeologists during the construction of the De Scheg sport complex. A substantial amount of historical treasures were found. What about ‘prehistoric refrigerators’? Stock pits from the Bronze Age (3,000800 BC) and Iron Age (800 BC to the beginning of the Common Era) with shards of earthenware pots and charcoal remnants. In these pits the temperature and humidity stayed relatively constant, preserving food for people, animal feed and cereals for a long time. The pits were covered with clay paste, animal skins or lids made from wood or wicker. Remnants of emmer wheat, barley and millet were also found in a few of these Colmschate prehistoric cooling cellars.

Just like their fellow hunters from the Stone Age, drying and smoking fish and meat were important methods of preserving food for the Iron Age farmers. From around 500 BC, however, the new method of preservation using salt was introduced. They made sausages by salting meat and filling the intestine of a slaughtered animal with pork, goat or beef and then leaving it to dry. This was how it was done for thousands of years - until the days of the Stegeman sausage makers.

Roman godess

She has wings on her back, stands on a globe and wears a laurel wreath and a palm leaf; a flawless sculpture of Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory, from the third century AD and found during excavations at De Scheg in 2004. However, Roman generals never achieved a victory at Deventer. With the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar in 52 BC, the southern Netherlands came under Dutch control. But despite the clash of arms and battles, the Romans were unsuccessful in also conquering the northern Netherlands. For centuries the Rhine river was the northern border of the Roman Empire, the ‘limes’. The Free Germanic people, who from the third century AD were also called Salian Franks or Salii (‘Sala’ is the IJssel), lived in Salland. Whilst they remained ‘free’, the Germanics were strongly influenced by Roman culture, as proven by the sculpture of Victoria. A Germanic soldier hired by the Romans probably buried it as a sacrifice. After serving with the Romans, he had become ‘Romanised’ and so took all kinds of customs and articles back to Free Germany on the IJssel.

Walls were made from wood, straw and clay, the roof from reeds or straw. The remains of thirty farms from the Bronze and Iron Ages were unearthed at De Scheg, along the Holterweg in Colmschate. These houses did not all exist at the same time. After 25 to 40 years of intensive occupation and weather damage, the houses were abandoned and new ones built some distance away. The advantage of this is that there is also new and fertile arable land for farming. Nearby the farms were ‘spiekers’ or ‘spijkers’ (from the Latin spicarium meaning ‘granary’). These are small sheds on poles in which grain can be stored, with a raised floor and a roof made from reeds to prevent pests and moisture from getting at the store. 15


eat horsemeat. But from the excavation at De Scheg, we know that the Free Germans had a taste for the occasional horse steak.

Horse steak

Leftovers of German cuisine also betrayed an exchange of trade with the Romans; luxury bowls from the French Argonne and the German Rhineland, a cup, a pitcher and a honey pot from Cologne. They were exchanged with intermediaries or at markets at Roman forts and great places along the Limes. On the basis of bone fragments from consumption and offal, the type of food eaten by the Romans can be deduced. Some meat, especially beef, pork, mutton and goat offered variety. The cattle also provided milk and the dung from various animals was important for keeping the fields fertile. Sheep were kept primarily for their wool and all animals provided valuable hides. Just as in modern times, the Romans did not

Yet the main menu consisted primarily of cereals, vegetables and berries. Oats and rye were featured regularly in the diet, according to botanic remnants that were found in former wells from the Roman times at De Scheg. A significant number of elderberry seeds were also found. This is not so surprising, given that to this day the shrub grows on farmers’ lands. In the spring the flowers are popularly used in drinks and for medicinal tea, while in autumn the berries were used to make juice and wine. <<<

‘Bloeit met midzomer de Holler, dan wordt de liefde noch doller’

Literally, ‘the elderberry blooms in midsummer, then love becomes fonder’.

To the Germanics, the elderberry was considered sacred to the goddess of love Holda, later Holler, from which the German name for the elderberry Hollunder originates.

Germanic meals, Joseph Mulder, 1684


Elderberry and apple compote Elderberries can be quite commonly found in the wild. In spring, the flowers can be used, in late summer and early autumn the deep purple berries. 500 grams elderberries 2 (cooking) apples pinch of cinnamon Âą 4 tablespoons honey potato flour 18

Cook the washed and de-stemmed berries with the cut apples and cinnamon in a little bit of water until it becomes a pulp. Stir in the honey and thicken with potato flour mixed with some cold water. Leave to cool. Serve as a dessert with whipped cream or cottage cheese.

Home smoked salmon with horseradish

Hunter-gatherers cooked fish by using a stick as a spit and turning them over a fire, or by coating the fish in damp clay and putting them in the fire. A fish like salmon can easily be grilled on the barbecue or smoked at home in a smoking oven that you have either bought or made yourself. Just put aluminium foil on the base of an old roasting tin and cover it with a grill made of chicken wire that doesn’t have a plastic coating. Cover the roasting tin with a lid made of aluminium foil. 3 tablespoons of sawdust salmon fillets, 200 grams per person oil salt piece of horseradish root vinegar 1 cup of crème fraiche

Put the saw dust on the bottom of the smoking oven (or on top of the aluminium foil that covers the base of the roasting tin). Place the grill on top of that. Season the fillets with salt and rub them with some oil. Place them skin down on the grill and put the lid on the tin. Place the roasting tin over a medium heat and smoke the fish for eight to ten minutes (from the moment smoke appears). Grate some horseradish root, add a touch of vinegar and stir the mixture through the sour crème. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with the smoked salmon.

Roman goat or lamb stew

Both the Free Germanic people and the Romans ate goat and mutton meat. This is a recipe from ‘De re coquinaria’ (On the Subject of Cooking), the only cookery book from ancient times and written by the extremely wealthy gourmet Marcus Gavius Apicius, who lived in the first century AD. Goat meat is well worth trying, but not easy to come by. Try the Turkish shops in Deventer. Mutton or lamb are also a possibility. One of the ingredients is ‘garum’ or ‘liquamen’ the typical Roman sun fermented fish. We use stock instead. 500 grams lamb or goat stew meat (deboned weight) olive oil 1 onion teaspoon ground coriander teaspoon ground cumin ½ teaspoon lovage seed stock (store bought beef stock, or homemade from lamb or goat) glass of white wine salt and pepper 2 tablespoons cornflour

Fry the onion in the oil. Dice the meat and add it to the onion with the coriander, cumin and lovage seed until the meat has browned. Add enough hot stock and a glass of white wine to cover the meat. Gently stew for 1.5 hours and season with salt and pepper. Thicken the sauce with some cornflour mixed with cold water.


Hare soup with porcini mushrooms Until recently, animals that had been caught or slaughtered were used in their entirety and not just the bones and back of, for instance, a hare. The ‘lesser’ cuts, including the bones, are very suitable for stock. Ask your poulterer if you can buy those leftover pieces cheaply. Porcini mushrooms are easily identifiable and very tasty as well. You can buy them dried if you don’t feel comfortable enough to pick them yourself. the ‘lesser’ cuts and leftovers of a hare 50 grams dried porcini mushrooms (or 500 grams when fresh) 2 onions 1 clove of garlic half a celeriac glass of port salt and pepper bunch of parsley 20

Put the hare cuts in a large pot with plenty of water to cover all parts. Simmer to make a stock. Strain the stock and reduce by half. Scrape the edible meat off the bones. Soak the dried porcini mushroom in tepid water for 30 minutes. Fry the chopped onion, add the diced celeriac, the squeezed and chopped porcini mushrooms and two chopped cloves of garlic. Fry for a few minutes and add the port. Leave it to simmer for a while and then add the strained soaking liquid of the mushrooms and the hare stock (about 1.5 litres). Cook over a low heat for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with chopped parsley.

Rose hip sauce and jam

Rose hips, ‘the oranges of the north’, are rich in vitamin C and very tasty at that. They are ripe from the end of September, October. When they are very ripe and it has frosted on them, they can even be used uncooked when the flesh is passed through a sieve. Mixed with honey this rose hip sauce is a tasty prehistoric dessert.

Rose hip jam

The recipe for modern day preserves 500 grams rose hips juice of 1 lemon ± 500 grams jam sugar

Wash the rose hips, put them on with 1.5 decilitres of water and leave to simmer. The riper the rose hips, the shorter the cooking time. When it has frosted on them, the cooking time will be even shorter. Gently pass the soft rose hips through a sieve. Weigh the rose hips sauce and stir in the same amount of jam sugar and the juice of a lemon. Boil for four minutes in a high pan and pour into jam jars cleaned with soda water and close the lids.

Hazelnut pesto with Ground Elder

For thousands of years, the hazelnut has served as a vegetable protein source in these parts of the world and was considered to be an important food for the gatherers then. Hazels still grow ‘in the wild’ today, in (public) gardens and parks - like so many other plants we consider to be weeds, but are perfectly fine to eat, such as Ground Elder. 175 grams peeled hazelnuts 50 grams butter 1 garlic clove splash of rapeseed or olive oil 1 rosemary sprig handful ground elder 100 grams grated mature cheese salt and pepper

Finely chop the hazelnuts in a food processor (or in a nut mill). Melt the butter in a saucepan with a thick base and toast the nuts for about 5 minutes over a low heat. Put the nuts back in the food processor and add the peeled garlic, olive oil, rosemary needles, cheese, ground elder, salt and pepper. Blend until you have a homogenous pesto-like mass. Add more (olive) oil if you want to. Serve the pesto with bread or pasta.



Bishop’s wine and monk’s beer Early Middle Ages


he earliest two residents of Deventer for whom who know the names were, in fact, migrants: Liafwin and Marchelm. These were two British monks who came to Wilp on the IJssel in 768, just across from the emerging Deventer. Lebuïnus and Marchelmus, the Latin names for these two clergymen, were sent to the IJssel region by their abbot in Utrecht (the successor to Boniface). ‘Convert the heathen Saxons on the other side of the IJssel,’ that was their task. The pious widow Avaerhilde received the clergymen in Wilp. She helped Lebuïnus to build a small wooden church with a house on the eastern side of the IJssel, roughly in the place of the current Lebuïnus church. Now their missionary work could begin. This mission was not an easy task. The Saxons viewed the church as a symbol of the Frankish enemy led by Charlemagne. ‘On the eastern bank of the river, at the place Daventre, the people flocked to hear the preaching of the holy man. The Saxons, who then still lived in the darkness of their pagan practises, mobilised an army in their blind rage, chased the Christians out of the area and burned the church’. This is an account about Lebuïnus written by the bishop of Münster around 840. But Lebuïnus was a fanatical missionary: he returned and re-built the church. From there he travelled around to Münsterland, but not with much success. After his death and burial in his church in Deventer in 773, it was once again destroyed by the Saxons. Yet Lebuïnus’ missionary work laid the foundation of current Deventer and it is, therefore, for good reason that he became the city’s patron saint. Judging from the Ivoren Lebuïnuskelk, or Lebuïnus’ ivory goblet, his consumption habits were rather lavish. In a sixteenth-century list with an inventory of Lebuïnus’ church, the goblet is recorded as ‘Sanct Lebuyns nap myt eynen sylveren voet’. The richly decorated ivory goblet with silver mount (now found in the Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht) must have been frequently used at Lebuïnus’ church for giving sacramental wine. The goblet was a relic, sanctified by the hands and the mouth of he who established the gospel in Salland. But, closer examination has shown that his sacred lips could never have touched the goblet. It appears to have been made during the ninth century in Aachen. No luxurious goblet for Lebuïnus then, and probably also no richly filled table; this did not fit with the sobriety and spirituality that he preached.

Lebuïnus in the Broederenkerk


According to Lebuïnus and other missionaries, the Saxon religion was considered accursed idolatry. Their gods Odin, Thor and Saxnôt were manifestations of the devil who had to be banished at all costs. The Christian god was perfect, while the Saxon gods seemed like humans: for example, they ate and drank! The Christian god did not need something so earthly. To the Saxons it was just proof that their gods were living nearby with them. The Saxons’ staple diet consisted of bread and porridge made from barley and rye. Until the end of World War II these remained important cereal crops in the eastern Dutch sandy soils, supplemented with turnips, carrots, peas, broad beads, bacon, lard, butter, cheese, vegetables, salted pork and game. The Saxons believed the communal mealtime was important for strengthening a sense of community, but also because they became closer to their gods. They were afterall, just as the food, a source of life. Occasionally, if enough wine or beer was available, they started drinking heavily and the resulting intoxication was welcomed: drunkenness was seen as a gift from the gods.

Frankish culture were harshly imposed on Deventer and Saxony. Charlemagne announced a lot of laws and ordinances. Unchristian behaviour could be punishable by death, but also with all sorts of rules and laws he strongly affected culture, including nutrition. In his ‘Capitulari de villis vel curtis imperii’ (property regulations), for example, he described 73 food crops and medicinal herbs and 16 different fruit trees that had to be planted on all imperial estates. Monasteries in particular adopted these crops and so around Deventer new crops were introduced for the first time, such as the walnut tree and the quince.


After the conquest of all of Saxony by Charlemagne, Deventer began to grow significantly. Two main streets were constructed along the IJssel and towards the modern-day De Brink, consisting of rows of wooden houses for tradesmen and craftsmen with farms behind. The inhabitants traded in salt, grain, fish, wine (from Rhineland), ceramics, bone, hides, resin, wood, weapons and linen. Trade went all the way to the German Eiffel in the south and to the Baltic Sea in the north. When the main trading city of Dorestad (now called Wijk bij Duurstede) became increasingly under threat of attack from the Vikings, Deventer became an even more important trading centre. Deventer had a lucky escape. In 882 the wooden settlement was also plundered by the Norsemen and set alight. Nevertheless, Deventer was safer than Dorestad and Utrecht, which was the residence of the bishop of Utrecht. All churches were

After his death, Frisian missionary Ludgerus continued Lebuïnus’ missionary work and re-built the church over his predecessor’s grave. He founded a collegiate church and gradually the domain of the church expanded in Deventer. The conversion to Christianity went quickly after 804 when Charlemagne finally, after years of struggle, brought the Saxons to their knees and included Saxony in his empire. The Christian faith and also the 24

Grail of Lebuïnus

plundered and destroyed by the Vikings. This is why the bishop of Utrecht fled to Deventer, and in so doing it became the ‘capital’ of the diocese between 895 and 925. With that, Deventer gained an economic and cultural boost. The bishop did not come alone; he brought a procession of rich canons and service men along with him. Even after the bishop returned to Utrecht, Deventer remained his second residence until well into the Middle Ages.

Canon’s or monk’s beer

Bishop Radboud lived and worked in Deventer for his full term of service (from 900 to 917). The namesake of the current University of Nijmegen is considered one of the first Christian writers, poets and scholars of the Netherlands. He was also musical and composed church music. Radboud was a pious man, at least according to the stories that were told about this latterday saint. Every day he had his secretary pick up twelve poor beggars from the streets. Radboud first washed their feet, then sat with them at the table and read them a story from the gospel of Jesus. It is not known what the poor had to eat, but Radboud himself ate so little that the people even gave him the nickname of ‘skin-and-bones’. He did not drink any wine or beer, only water. But, as befits a holy man, no one should know about the latter. Even modesty about piety is a virtue. When a friend of Radboud overheard that the bishop never drank wine, he became curious and asked Radboud if he could take a sip from his cup. The bishop was afraid that the man would tell everyone that he lived on water and called for help from God. The water was promptly changed

into a cup of delicious wine. When the curious friend tasted it, he fell on his knees before the bishop and begged for his forgiveness. Certainly not all monks and canons were as sober as Radboud. It was said that some monsteries enjoyed a considerable menu. According to Wikibooks, an early Middle Age monk ate 1.7 kilos of bread, 70 to 100 grams of cheese, 230 grams of pea soup, some meat and fish, and 1.5 litres of wine or beer per day. Fennel, mint or sage was occasionally added to the wine. Apart from the quantities of the menu in the Deventer monasteries, it would not deviate much from this. Chances are that the first beer for the 25

Deventer 1557


city was brewed in the monasteries: the kanunnikenbier (canon’s or monk’s beer).

Deventer were found in Sweden, from which it could be inferred that Deventer was one of the most important trade centres. The right to mint coins was granted to the city by the king, through the bishop, likewise the right to levy a toll. This toll was levied on the sale of goods. But it was not levied on grain and other subsistence foods required by the population. Merchants who had to pay a toll preferred to sell their wares nearby a place where the toll was levied. A market that was controlled by a monarch was safer than an uncontrolled market. Thanks to the combination of markets, prosperity grew out of currency and tolls in medieval Deventer. <<<

In Deventer city centre, mainly the Noordenbergkwartier, a significant amount of Cologne earthenware fragments from the eighth and ninth centuries has been found. It was intended for domestic use, but also to store and transport food and drink. Wine from the Rhineland was put into Rhineland amphorae and transported by water. Particularly after the Viking attack of 882, much of it was traded by ‘the King’s men’, as the traders were called. Trade became even more important. Over 1,700 coins from


Sourdough rye bread

In the Middle Ages, bread was made with sourdough. This ‘mother’ or ‘starter’ to proof the dough was made of wild yeast cells. Nowadays sourdough bread is becoming more popular and very common in countries like Germany. Sourdough bread has a brownishred crust and keeps longer than ‘ordinary’ bread. The ’starter’ or ‘mother’ for sourdough bread can be made at home or store bought at specialist shops.

How to make a sourdough starter 6 tablespoons of rye or spelt flour water

Put 3 tablespoons of rye or spelt flour in a bowl and stir with some tepid water until it becomes a thick paste. Put in a warm place and stir in the mornings and evenings of four days in a row. On the morning of the fourth day, add 3 tablespoons of flour and 3 tablespoons of tepid water and stir well again. Leave for two more days, stir in the mornings and evenings. On the seventh day the sourdough is ready to bake bread with. You should be able to see bubbles in the starter then. 28

Baking sourdough bread 400 grams rye flour 400 grams flour sourdough starter 2 teaspoons salt

Mix the rye flour, flour, half a litre of tepid water and the sourdough starter and stir to make bread dough. Leave overnight and take a few spoons from the dough to have a starter for your next bread (it keeps several days in the fridge, stir occasionally). Mix the salt and the dough - the easiest way is to use a mixer with kneading hooks. Put the dough in a loaf tin lined with greaseproof paper (because the acid in the dough reacts with the aluminium and the non-stick coatings). Proof for 2-4 hours and bake the bread in about 45 minutes in an oven preheated to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.

Broad beans with summer savory and bacon

Since Ancient times, broad beans have been eaten in these parts of the world and for quite some time they were the only beans we knew existed. They survive cold springs and can easily be grown, as can summer savory. butter 1 onion 100 grams bacon ± 600 grams young broad beans (podded weight) summer savory sprig glass of white wine salt and pepper

Melt the butter and fry the finely chopped onion and bacon for about 5 minutes. Add the broad beans, the de-stemmed summer savory, salt and wine and leave to gently stew until the broad beans are cooked (with the lid on the pan). It will take 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the beans. Stir occasionally and taste to prevent the beans from being overcooked. Season the beans with salt and pepper.

Pea soup

Pea soup is a dish from our part of the world with a history that goes back thousands of years. It is certain pea soup was eaten in Deventer in the Middle Ages. For the most popular version the split peas and meat are cooked together. This meat can consist of pork chops, but traditionally it used to be what we now call the ‘lesser cuts’, pig’s head, tail and ears. However, for ordinary people meat used to be a luxury and pea soup without meat would have been customary. That is why we have included a vegetarian version. 300 grams split peas 2 winter carrots 1 parsnip half a celeriac 1 onion 1 sprig of summer savory 50 grams butter salt and pepper

Bring the washed spit peas to boil in two litres of salted water. After 30 minutes, stir in the sliced carrot, parsnip and celeriac, wait for 30 minutes and add the onion and the de-stemmed summer savory. Simmer until all peas have disintegrated. Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve with toast.


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Deventer cookery book  

Up to the present time, people think of its traditional cake when they think of Deventer. But many other delicious products were (and are) s...

Deventer cookery book  

Up to the present time, people think of its traditional cake when they think of Deventer. But many other delicious products were (and are) s...


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