At festival this year I bought myself my first ever medieval cookbook, "The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchen" 1st edition 1992; edited by Stuart Peachey. When I heard about these Soirees, I said to myself "yeah, they sound great.... and I want to do a feast out of my cookbook."
I was rather disappointed to find, though, that the book had no dates from which I could document the dishes for the feast. Nicolette and Teffania (at Cooks Guild yesterday) suggested that I search online to find out if the book was a period one.
A quick Google search for "good huswifes handmaide for the kitchen" netted the following results:
http://www.uni-giessen.de/gloning/tx/1594-ghh.htm which dates the book to 1594 - the website is incomplete, but the text that is there is identical to that in my book.
http://www.eredsul.org/earl_mike/FlamePeace/balls.htm which dates the book to "original circa 1580"
In addition, there is 'The good huswifes handmaide for the kitchen' (1594?), published by Stuart Peachey in 1992.
The good huswifes handmaide for the kitchen (1594 and 1597 editions) -- digital version and notes by Sam Wallace.
which is a fascimile of a modern book called Food in Early Modern Europe. by Ken Albala.
"The first of these was The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchen which appeared in 1588. What makes this book so interesting is that it is addressed to a woman cooking for or managing a household, presumably a wealthy one located in the country because many of the recipes call for wild game." page 31.
All of the above seems to show to me that The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchen is indeed a period cookbook, with various editions published some time in the late 16th Century. My edition appears to be the one first published in 1594.
Having done all this... I am now off to drool over the recipes in this book, and decide what I want to serve at my soiree.