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Re: opinion question on use dates of period recipes

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  • Julie Stackable, SCA Margaret Hepburn
    It s very difficult to put the different strands together from what I ve been working on. I ve got household accounts (basically grocery lists) but
    Message 1 of 16 , Aug 1, 2005
      It's very difficult to put the different strands together from what
      I've been working on. I've got household accounts (basically grocery
      lists) but extrapolating what dishes they made from what staples
      they bought is deep dark water as far as I am concerned. There is a
      little written evidence, but not much Scottish poetry or prose of
      the period is concerned with food!

      That was why I felt these recipes were an important starting point.
      I DO NOT UNDERSTAND why there are no extant recipes or cookbooks
      from the period. They had publishing houses from the 15th century,
      it was certainly a literate society and from everything I can glean,
      they enjoyed fine food & new recipes from the Continent. I can't be
      certain if the shift toward early modern food happened in Scotland
      in the 1650's, because I don't have any basis for comparison.

      But again, these recipes are very medieval in flavor (no pun
      intended). Pepper, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, salt and vinegar
      are the only flavorings mentioned. Cooked meat is served on soppes.
      The pie crust for the chicken pie is basically a stiff container for
      the filling. No new world items or any "modern" cooking techniques
      that I see.

      Scotland was very fashionable about some things and very behind the
      times on others and I don't want to read too much either way in
      regards to the cooking.

      I do appreciate the opinions though. I wasn't looking for absolution
      (grins all 'round), but true opionions and I thank you all very
      much. I'll post something here when I get the recipes on line in the
      next few days and I would welcome anyone's opinions about how the
      recipes look to them. I'm not particularly knowledgable about period
      cookery, it's something I've only reason begun to touch on, so I
      welcome advice from those more experienced. Trying to pick a domain
      name right now...

      Cheers,
      Margaret Hepburn

      --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, jeffrey.heilveil@n... wrote:
      > the short answer is "no, I wouldn't be comfortable." Many of the
      > techniques used in cookery changed DRASTICALLY after 1500 (in the
      more
      > "fashionable" areas). As well, that puts you well into contact
      with new
      > world items that while may have been known, wouldn't not have been
      > routinely used in cooking.
    • Marc Carlson
      ... In the 1500s, it was determined by the more puritan groups that making palatable food was tempting people to sin, so it was decided to cover the entire
      Message 2 of 16 , Aug 1, 2005
        --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Julie Stackable, SCA Margaret
        Hepburn" <malvoisine@y...> wrote:
        > ...That was why I felt these recipes were an important starting
        > point. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND why there are no extant recipes or
        > cookbooks from the period...

        In the 1500s, it was determined by the more puritan groups that making
        palatable food was tempting people to sin, so it was decided to cover
        the entire country and eradicate all the cook books (the only
        survivors were in the soupmaking and fast food areas...)

        This is not nearly as frustrating as Nostrodamus' Shoemaking quatrain
        in which he explicitly mentions me by name and advises all medieval
        shoemaking texts be destroyed so I can't reveal them.

        *ahem*

        I think it's lunch time.

        Marc/Diarmaid
      • Huette von Ahrens
        ... Depends on how literate that person was. Depends on how connected that person was to outside ideas etc. That is why I stated chefs and noble patrons .
        Message 3 of 16 , Aug 1, 2005
          > Message: 4
          > Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2005 21:00:53 -0000
          > From: "Julie Stackable, SCA Margaret Hepburn"
          > <malvoisine@...>
          > Subject: Re: opinion question on use dates of period
          > recipes
          >
          > >>much snippage<<
          >

          > > The biggest problem with using works that are so
          > far
          > > out of the SCA time-frame is that in 1651 European
          > > cookery and foodways took a radical change with
          > the
          > > publication of La Varenne. He influenced many
          > changes
          > > in how chefs made and presented foods to their
          > noble
          > > patrons. Most of the cookbooks published after
          > his
          > > seminal work show the shifting from Renaissance
          > > foodways to Early Modern foodways. So you have to
          > be
          > > very careful.
          >
          > I am wondering how much influence La Varenne's
          > cookbook would have
          > had to an everyday or even gentry housewife.

          Depends on how literate that person was. Depends on
          how connected that person was to outside ideas etc.
          That is why I stated "chefs" and "noble patrons". The
          more educated you were the more likely you would be to
          be influenced by outside ideas.

          I am
          > also wondering
          > when it got to Scotland, for sale & available.

          There was a lot of commerce between Scotland and
          France. There even was a Scots Guard to the Courts of
          France, so it is possible that that one of the Guards
          could have sent it home to his wife or mother. La
          Varenne's cookbook was immediately popular and had 30
          editions printed in the 75 years following its initial
          publication in 1651. From what I have read, it was
          influencial in many European countries at that time.


          The
          > recipes I found
          > last night are for a green sauce, an almond custard,
          > orange
          > marmalade, boiled chicken, to cook artichokes, a
          > chicken pie, and
          > capon cooked in lemon. They all have simple
          > ingredients that were
          > available in the 16th century & are filled with the
          > wonderfully
          > vague instructions that are in the 16th century
          > cookery books -
          > 'cook it till it is done', 'cook it enough'
          > 'according to your
          > taste', 'mingle it and beat it well' etc.

          It sounds a lot like what you find in cookbooks
          published in England around 1651.

          > > Would you be willing to share your find with us?
          > I
          > > would be interested in seeing this find for
          > myself.
          > Absolutely. I found it last night on SCRAN. Luckily,
          > her handwriting
          > is very clear & I was able to write two of them down
          > easily, but it
          > was past 2am & I had to make myself go to bed
          > (grin). I'll have all
          > of them in vernacular & translated. Obviously, I
          > haven't tried to
          > redact any of them yet! I've written to the National
          > Library of
          > Scotland to find out if any more of the pages are
          > available & if any
          > of them are dated at all. The receipt book spans
          > 1688 to 1715, so
          > obviously, I'd like to focus on the earlier pages.
          > Plus, I'm
          > thinking there's always the possibility that the
          > earlier pages are
          > recipes she already knew well & wanted to write down
          > first, i.e.
          > ones she had learned as a girl, which might put me
          > closer to SCA
          > time period. Now, that's certainly not scientific
          > conclusions, but I
          > know for instance that some of the recipes in Martha
          > Washington's
          > cookbook are almost verbatim from some 16th century
          > receipt books,
          > so clearly, things got passed along sometimes
          > unchanged.

          Yes, they sometimes did. Martha Washington's cookbook
          is a good example. There are others you can find by
          comparing Early American cookbooks with period Dutch
          cookbooks.
          >
          > I'll keep you posted & let the list know when I get
          > the recipes up.
          > I'm sure unlike anyone on this list (grins), I've
          > got about 40
          > projects going right now....

          Thank you!

          Huette

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        • wodeford
          ... Makiwara has been likewise been thwarted in her quest for information on period kites. Damn those Heian era Kite Eating Trees. Jehanne
          Message 4 of 16 , Aug 1, 2005
            --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Marc Carlson"
            <marccarlson20@h...> wrote:
            > This is not nearly as frustrating as Nostrodamus' Shoemaking quatrain
            > in which he explicitly mentions me by name and advises all medieval
            > shoemaking texts be destroyed so I can't reveal them.

            Makiwara has been likewise been thwarted in her quest for information
            on period kites. Damn those Heian era Kite Eating Trees.

            Jehanne
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