The cookbooks of Priestess Kristen Storm Munch from the 18th century will be digitized. – NRK Innlandet – Local news, TV and radio

Where we previously flipped cookbooks when cooking, many have turned to online solutions.

She Googles everything from brown sauce to homemade sushi.

But what about the food that they ate in the old days, for example in the sixteenth, seventeenth and nineteenth centuries?

Now, more recipes from this time period can soon be Googled and retrieved.

One of the books was written by a priestess in Vågå. She had such good relations that exotic raw materials from the continent found their way to the northern parts of Gudbrandsdalen.

An old Maihaugen cookbook

Intelligent reading: elegant handwriting and Gothic characters must be interpreted by artificial intelligence.

Photo: Roar Berntsen/NRK

A cultural treasure in the light of artificial intelligence

The Inner County Archives will spend 300,000 NOK on the “Revitalizing Culinary Cultural Heritage” project.

Six handwritten cookbooks from the 17th and 19th centuries will be digitized. One of them is an amazing 900-page book by Kristen Storm Munch.

The project will be a pioneering work, because they will use software with artificial intelligence. During the examination, they will experience machine translation from the Gothic text used in the 18th century.

An old Maihaugen cookbook

Weird Recipes: The 900 pages contain many ingredients that were uncommon in Gudbrandsdalen 200 years ago.

Photo: Roar Berntsen/NRK

County Archives Director Marit Hussar says this, if successful, will provide a significant amount of work for similar projects in the future.

During the fall, the book will probably be finished. It will then be available to everyone online for free.

Priestess of the Heart of Herbs

The story of Kristen Storm Munch is about a woman of courage and execution.

She was born in Vaga in 1746, the daughter of Reverend Johann Storm. She was raised in the parsonage of Ollinfin, where she later lived with her husband, who is also a priest: Peder Munch.

Kristen Storm Munch, painting by Beder Adnes from the 1770s.

Upper-class fashion in the 1770s: Kristen Storm Munch, illustrated by Peder Adnes.

Photo: The Digital Museum

She was the great-grandmother of the painter Edvard Munch.

In Ullinsvin, Kristen has created a very special herb garden, which is still preserved.

She collected recipes, whether of her own or not, which were prepared in the period 1703-1806.

900 handwritten pages

This is a cultural treasure, says District Archives Director Marit Hussar.

Marit Hussar

Holds miraculous works: County Archives Officer Marit Hussar, Inlandit County Archives.

Photo: Jørn Hagen/Inlandet . County Archives

– Here are 900 handwritten pages, with registration and everything!

Presents a lemon tart recipe.

Ordering lemons from the south is an achievement for shipping them to Fago in the 18th century. Norway was a maritime country. First, lemons came by ship to Christiania, then there was a transport by horses to Fago.

There was a wide variety on its menu. It can be fish pudding, sugar bread, lamb, hand-stuffed sausage, cranberry juice.

At that time, recipes for delicate baked goods, such as Shrovetide cakes, were also not uncommon.

class differences

She says the Southern fruit order says something about the class differences at the time.

The homestead families were nowhere near doing the same. She was part of a family of civil servants. Thus, she had the knowledge and money to operate this kind of system.

Hussar says these cookbooks are cultural history. Among other things, they talk about the preservation of food at that time.

– At her time, they used a lot of dried apricots and prunes, and made compote. Today we use it almost exclusively for our Christmas fruit cake. We need to restore ancient knowledge.

An old Maihaugen cookbook

Handle with caution: to restore ancient knowledge, one cannot be harsh with ancient books.

Photo: Roar Berntsen/NRK

Hussar was very careful when she flips the book over and says there are fragile papers.

— I can find more recipes when they are digitized, she says.

Versatile woman

Kristen Storm Munch has made her mark in many ways.

She was a very knowledgeable woman in several areas. For example, she sewed her own clothes – large dresses and bright hats. And herbs weren’t just used in recipes. She also used it when patients in the village came to her for help, Olensvin says on her website.

An old Maihaugen cookbook

Old recipes: Digitizing old books is a daunting task.

Photo: Roar Berntsen/NRK

Today, Christine’s garden has been preserved and attempted to be recreated at the Ullinsvin parsonage in Vågå. It is preserved by approx. 30 volunteers, and it consists of four departments. One is the herb garden, where Kristen sourced ingredients for her recipes.

The digitization project is a collaboration between the Inlandit County Archives, the Tedvis Company, and the Mayhugen Museum in Lillehammer. Financial support comes from the National Archives.

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