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The Austerity Kitchen
By Christine Baumgarthuber
Where the alimentary is elementary.
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The Austerity Kitchen at Large

Detail from The Land of Cockaigne by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1567)

Oh, that land of Cockaigne is so good.
It rains there in all fair parts
Sweets, pastries and cooked tarts.
In that land flows a river
Of good wine, of good beer,
Muscatel and fine claret,
Sherry for men as well
This may men drink at no expense
Whether wine or whatever they want
With ginger and with nutmeg
Are what they use to pave the street
Everything there is going well
There of riches man has no need.
So what men there in the land find lying
That may take men without asking twice.
And do it like it is deserved
Sure that it truly is their own.
–From “The Land of Cockaigne” (Dutch version, ca. 15th century)

If you can read German, I invite you to check out my article, entitled “Woher Kommt das Schlaraffenland?,” which you can find in the second 2012-13 issue of  MAX JOSEPH (available now). In it I discuss medieval cuisine, the wonderful Land of Cockaigne, and modern notions of a balanced diet. You can find it in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

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