Reading 26: On the Kitchener (and food)
The abbot shall instate a kitchener, who is to provide the necessary things for the kitchen corresponding to the consumption of the community, also praiseworthy in substance, in arrangement and in quantity, whether these be meats, or fish, or eggs, or milk, or cheese, or vegetable dishes, or something else, and all vessels are to be clean. He shall diligently and joyfully serve his brothers, whenever they eat, without personal favors or familiarity, but in accordance to what is needed to whom.
As for buying meats, if it can be done appropriately, he should not go to the meat-market. He himself shall receive the eggs and cheeses from the grange, and shall provide the rest that is necessary for the entire abbey and the kitchen. For the purchase of these things, whenever there is need, he shall request money from the steward, and that which he has spent he ought to write down, and to calculate the total for each separate month and more often if the abbot desires it.
In the time when meats are eaten - namely on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday - the kitchener shall administer to the community meats and recines (meat? sweetmeats?) as is the custom, and as he has seen fit. If a major feast of Gloria Patri [i.e. a feast day on which Gloria Patri is sung] falls on Monday, or if another double-feast day [falls on a Monday], or the feast of the apostles, or the feast of the Holy Cross, or some other feast for which Octaves are made, he shall serve meat to the community as on Sundays. Furthermore, if one of those holidays, namely the feast of Apparition, of Dedication, of Saint John the Baptist's Nativity, of the Assumption of Blessed Mary, of Saint Augustine, of the Beheading of Blessed John, of the Nativity of the Blessed Mary, of All Saints, or any other double-feast, falls on a Wednesday, meat is consumed. For no other feast is meat to be consumed on Wednesday, but for those mentioned above. If the feast of the Apostles or any other feast when Octaves are made, fall on any of the other days on which meat is not consumed, they shall have fish of whatever sort could be found easily. On Mondays, they shall have according to custom eggs fried or prepared in some other way. On Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, according to custom he shall give out cheese or egg whites spiced with cumin or prepared in some other way, or herring, if he wants to. On Saturday also they shall have oil and cheese in their vegetable dish. On the vigils of the Apostles and on other vigils, they shall have fish or fresh herring, if these could be found easily. If some other vigil falls on Sunday, on the preceding Saturday they ought to have a meal of moderate cost. On the first two days of Rogations they shall have pancakes (flatones). On Pentecost Wednesday also they shall have pancakes. On the Friday and the Saturday (of Pentecost), they shall have fish or herring. During the fasts of the Four Times in September they shall have fish (on Fridays and Saturdays).
From the feast of the blessed Martin till Christmas (The Lord's Birth), on Sundays and on the feast of the saints Jacob the martyr, Andrew, and Nicholas, they shall have fish; on other days, eggs, cheese, or herring. When O is sung following the custom of the church, (the same) shall be done, only in moderation; from Septuagesima to the Sunday when Esto mihi is sung (they shall have) fish on Sundays; on the Purification, on the feast of the Saint Blaise, on the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, and on the feast of the blessed Matthew, similarly they shall have fish, if these (holidays) fall in that time (i.e. from Septuagesima until Quinquagesima On the other days, they shall have eggs and cheese or herring with the pittance. On [Quinquagesima] Sunday when the Esto mihi is sung, they shall have eggs and cheese according to custom. From Esto mihi Sunday to Easter on Sundays, and on the Annunciation of the blessed Mary and on the Lord's supper they shall have fish, and on the other days two vegetable dishes and two herrings, and if they want (something) better, they should resort to the pittances. If a double-feast day falls during a time of fasting, when cheese is eaten, they shall have cheese with vegetable dishes and fish. On double-feast days, when Gloria Patri is sung with all responses, they shall have meat with the vegetable dishes, and after they have had meat, and tercium such a pittance from the abbot as it is possible for the brothers to obtain throughout the entire year.
When there are two meals, at dinner two eggs are served, or cheese, or fruit (in fruit season), except on Sundays during Lent, on which days they shall have herring. Three times a year the community ought to have wastel cakes, namely on the eve of the blessed Martin, on the eve of Epiphany, and during Septuagesima. And let those who ought [to give out the cakes], discharge this duty. On the Thursday before the feast of the Saint Martin everyone should have half a roasted chicken. On the day of the blessed Martin they should prepare carnis privium (meat?), unless it falls on a Friday or on Saturday, and then they should do this on the following Sunday. Similarly on the Thursday before Septuagesima each should have half a roasted chicken. On Christmas (the Lord's Birth) until the Circumdederunt (New Year's day), they should have fresh meats once in the week. On the other two days they should have the parts that are usually cut from the salted meat, and small roasted pieces as according to custom. They shall eat in the same way after Easter, if there is salted meat then, as long as it lasts. Afterwards they are to revert to fresh meat three times a week, as aforementioned.