Ray, a grumpy blue square, holds back two sheep as he stares at his plate containing a sheep's penis.

Sheep Penis

  • 1 sheep's penis
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp saffron
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp lard
  • 1 pinch of each; ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper
  1. Thoroughly wash the penis.
  2. Combine eggs, saffron, and milk in bowl.
  3. Temper the penis with lard and stuff with egg mixture.
  4. Blanch the stuffed penis in boiling water.
  5. Roast until golden brown and remove from oven to cool.
  6. While cooling, dust with ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper.
IMPORTANT: Do not overstuff the penis.

The History Shapes Cookbook

Pay what feels good 😀


From the History Shapes Cookbook, available now:

The Dutch get a bad rap for having bland, boring cuisine, but a medieval dish from the mid 15th century might have detractors cocking their heads to the side and sitting up erect in their seats: Sheep Penis.

Jerked from the pages of a medieval cookbook held in the Belgian University of Gent known as Manuscript UB Gent 1035, the recipe for Sheep Penis is pulled from a two-chapter pamphlet of over 60 recipes written in Middle Dutch.

At one time this 28-page book, or quire (quair) as it was known in Middle English, was part of a larger book that's been lost to the great doggy bag of time. What's left, however, is complete and isn't missing any of its original recipes. It’s written in a single person’s handwriting with numbered pages, which tells us that it’s still sequentially accurate in its current form.

These recipes haven’t been published as a single collection since 1872. At that time, Manuscript UB Gent 1035 was titled Keukenboek which roughly translates into “cookbook.” Since the word keukenboek wasn't in use during the 15th century, researcher and food historian Christianne Muusers retitled the collection from the opening lines of the manuscript itself: Wel ende edelike spijse (Good and Noble Food). This is the name it's (mostly) gone by ever since.

There’s a lot of stiff competition in Wel ende edelike spijse (Good and Noble Food) for your dinner plate. You could sample some of whatever “Jellied Pig's Trotters” are. Pretend you’re a waterfowl-loving Count Dracula with some “Swan's Neck.” You can even get all existential with a recipe like “If You Want to Eat Eel.”

If you thumb down to recipe number 23 in the second chapter of the pamphlet, you'll come across “Der leckers scapin roede,” or “Sheep Penis for the Foodie.” That's right, sheep penis was meant only for the most discerning taste buds.

So while modern palates may have given Dutch food the shaft, don't be surprised if someday you see a pop-up shop in Brooklyn, Portland, or Austin pumping out artisanal sheep penis. It could storm the culinary scene like crème fraîche, truffle oil, or cranberry in the ‘90s. You’re on your own if you click #SheepPenis wandering on social media, though.

When it comes to the future of sheep penis, the ball is in your court, foodies. Don't blow it.

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