As an April Fools' Day prank, the curators of the British Library's Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts Blog wrote up an entirely straight-faced account of a "spine-tingling" discovery — a cookbook that details the proper way to prepare unicorn. This history-changing find is tinged with staid hyperbole of the highest order and some lovely artwork. Explains the British Library of this document:
Experts believe that the cookbook was compiled by Geoffrey Fule, who worked in the kitchens of Philippa of Hainault, Queen of England (1328-1369). Geoffrey had a reputation for blending unusual flavours – one scholar has called him "the Heston Blumenthal of his day" – and everything points to his hand being behind the compilation.
After recipes for herring, tripe and codswallop (fish stew, a popular dish in the Middle Ages) comes that beginning "Taketh one unicorne". The recipe calls for the beast to be marinaded in cloves and garlic, and then roasted on a griddle. The cookbook's compiler, doubtless Geoffrey Fule himself, added pictures in its margins, depicting the unicorn being prepared and then served. Sarah J Biggs, a British Library expert on medieval decoration, commented that "the images are extraordinary, almost exactly as we'd expect them to be, if not better"
The report even ends with the requisite academic bon mot ("Unfortunately, they don't stock unicorn in my local branch of Tesco," notes Professor Brian Trump of the British Medieval Cookbook Project). You can read it here, and behold some more examples of this year's April 1 shenanigans.
[Via Edible Geography]