14th-Century Blank Maunger (Chicken and Rice)

A Dollop of History

A COOK they hadde with hem for the nones,
To boille the chiknes with the mary-bones,
And poudre-marchant tart, and galingale.
Wel coude he knowe a draughte of London ale.
He coude roste, and sethe, and broille, and frye,
Maken mortreux, and wel bake a pye.
But greet harm was it, as it thoughte me,
That on his shine a mormal hadde he;
For blankmanger, that made he with the beste.
– From The Canterbury Tales, General Prologue: The Cook

This medieval rice dish was so popular it’s no surprise it was mentioned by Geoffrey Chaucer, the great “Bard of the Middle Ages.” Blankmanger was known internationally throughout Europe, from England to Portugal and from Germany to Spain and everywhere in between. Nearly every period cookbook contains at least one recipe.

This dish went by many names: Blank Maunger, Blawmanger, Blomanger (English), blanc mengier (French, Flemish), biancomangiare (Italian), manjar…

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