"Kareina Talvi Tytär" kareina@...
> I'll be doing a feast at the end of the month, and a German
> cookbook from the late 1300's includes rice, which is a
>nice easy starch. Does anyone know off the top of their
> heads what form the rice took there/then? Brown? White?
> Short, long, or medium grain?
>I think that the long grain American Style rices we are familiar with are a
>Most authorities on Rice indicate that Europe
>got the idea form the Romans, who
>seem to have picked up a south Asian cultivar from their conquests of former
>Persia (Persia got it from India).
That's not quite true. The Romans didn't get much
rice. It was so rare it was not even considered
to be a food. Like sugar, which was also very
rare in Rome, it was considered to be a medicine.
The oldest found evidence of rice cultivation is
8500 BCE in the Yangtze River basin, but it may
have been cultivated earlier. Because it can be
tricky to grow, its cultivation moved slowly. By
2000 BCE it had reached North India, South and
Central China, and all of Southeast Asia. Rice
moved slowly to Japan and the Middle East (i.e.,
Southwest Asia), where it arrived sometime
between 300 BC and 200 AD. At that time it was
not considered a basic food stuff in the Middle
East - it was still something of a luxury.
Rice finally made it to Egypt in the 6th or 7th
century CE. Muhammed considered it a favorite
food and Muslims took rice cultivation with them
as they moved westward, to Wesetern North Africa,
and to Sicily and Spain.
It was being imported into Europe by the 13th
century. In the 15th century it was finally being
grown in North Italy.
The author of the article in The Oxford Companion
to Food (D.E.) speculates that the Medieval
Blancmange developed as a way to join two
expensive luxury food items: rice and sugar
>This is probably the same medium grain cultivar
>that is used in Arabic and North
>African (and therefore traditional Spanish) cuisine.
I agree that a medium grain rice would be a good
choice. According to the Oxford Companion to
Food, however, it is not what is commonly grown
in Spain - the preferred rice in Spain is a short
grained rice marketed as "Bomba". The rice
industry in Spain is very different today from
what it was in SCA period. The Muslims brought
wet rice cultivation (yes, there is such as thing
as dry cultivation). But after the Christians
completed their Reconquista at the end of the
15th century, they gradually stopped cultivating
rice because they noticed a correlation between
wet rice cultivation and malaria, and most of it
was stopped by the 18th century. The modern
Spanish rice industry was rebuilt in the late
19th and 20th century.
I, too, would recommend staying away from short
grain rice. It was less commonly grown than
medium or long grain and in rather specific
areas. Japanese table rice is short grain. It
tends to be a bit stickier than medium or long
grain. It is not what is or was eaten in the
Middle East or the Near East and therefore not
what would be grown in or imported into Europe.
>So, I would go with a medium grain brown or white rice.
>(White would be for the wealthier set, as that takes a bit more processing.)
Brown rice would NOT be used. Brown rice was not
even in common use in rice growing cultures.
Brown rice is disdained and is only for people
who are so poor they cannot afford to take their
rice to a miller.
Rice was an expensive luxury food in Europe if
you didn't live in Muslim Spain or Muslim Sicily.
Rice was for the wealthy. White rice.
I won't recommend a particular brand, since i
don't know what's available where you are - are
you still in Tasmania? If you can't find medium
grain, use long grain.
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita