Poll time

I’ve got a bit over a month before our next culinary night and since I now know that there are actually a few people who read this, one of whom (Mistress Siglinde) I got to geek out with while I was in Ottawa last week, I thought I’d try a poll.

I’m currently debating between an Andalusian bread recipe, or a candy recipe. So, make yourself heard below:

What should I make for the July Culinary night?

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Tudor Beer

I was reading this article about Tudor Beer from Brew Your Own, a home brewing website, and I thought it would be fun to try. A friend of mine, Machabi Caiaphas, is a great brewer so I asked if he’d help me brew up a batch, this is the first time I’ve brewed so it was a new adventure for me.

The early English brewing industry focused primarily on ale, made with gruit (Unger 2004, 64), and expanded and commercialized significantly during the 14th century (Unger 2004, 98). At the same time hopped beer was being imported from Holland and Flanders (ibid.) primarily for the immigrant population which was more used to beer than ale. England also made something called beer, though unhopped, as early as the late 12th century (Unger 2004, 97) however it had a reputation as not being as good as ale or hopped beer. English brewers began producing hopped beer in the 15th century (Unger 99), though the operations were primarily run by immigrants, which caused other tensions (ibid.). By the 16th century the primary difference between beer and ale was the additives used to flavour it. While beer used hops, ale used herbs, spices, fruit, and sometimes even toasted bread (Unger 100). By the middle of the 16th century in most, though not all (Unger 103), areas the ale brewers and beer brewers had merged (Unger 102) though there remained a firm distinction between the definitions of ale and beer based on the additives. Many Englishmen felt that ale was the proper drink of the English while beer was for foreigners (Unger 100), however the tide was shifting in England and by the last quarter of the century beer had mostly replaced ale as the preferred beverage in England (ibid.).

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French Pastry

This one was inspired by a question on Reddit. Someone was wondering how much truth there was to pâte à choux being from the 1540s. So I looked it up, and lo and behold there it is in 1604’s Ouverture de Cuisine. Being only

Second batch

four years past the 16th century I think it’s safe to say that it’s a 16th century recipe. I looked a little further and found a Scappi recipe as well, from 1570, though it’s a bit different. But close enough to say that the rumors of it being invented in the 1540s are quite likely.

 

Now neither of the recipes are modern choux pastry but they do seem to use the same high moisture content raising method.

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Courses Vs. Removes 

This is an earlier version of an article I wrote which was published in Tournaments Illuminated Issue 202, Second Quarter 2017 p.35-36.

Serve It Forth, edited by Mistress Elaina de Sinistre, was a newsletter for those interested in culinary arts in the SCA, which ran until 2005.  In the April, 1996 issue, Dame Alys Katharine (Elise Fleming) first published “Of Course, It’s ‘Course’!” explaining that pre 1650 the word remove was not used to mean course in any English language culinary context.  The article since has been updated, and is available here. However, in the SCA, remove frequently continues to stand in for course, and so here is more information on the history of these terms.

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Mushroom Tart

This month the theme of Montengarde Culinary Night is “Italian Night”. I’ve been wanting to research mushrooms for a while and thought this was a good opportunity.

I love mushrooms, but there aren’t a lot of medieval recipes for them. In fact I’ve only found about a dozen recipes that call for mushrooms, only one English (to my sorrow), six Italian, four German, and two French.

I’ve seen what might possibly be mushrooms in period art, but on closer examination they are might just as easily be eggs:

Market Scene by Joachim Beuckelaer
Market Scene by Joachim Beuckelaer (baskets left and right)

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English Coffee

Ok, this is 50+ years out of period. However, I thought I’d try it anyway.

Coffee comes to Europe through trade with the Ottoman Turks. Coffee first came from Ethiopia, sometime in the 15th century it was introduced to Yemen (The Ottomans and the Yemeni Coffee Trade, Hathaway, Jane, 163) and by the 16th century was also being grown in Egypt, Syria, and near Istanbul (Ibid.). If those places sound like they might be linked at the time it’s because they were all part of the Ottoman Empire. They loved their coffee, and the best coffee was grown in Yemen (164).

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Bagels / Pretzels

One great thing about being done the A&S 50 is that I don’t feel bad about doing a recipe where I didn’t do the recreation and the background research is shaky. So, with that said, here’s pretzels.

Ever since I made some modern soft pretzels I’ve been reading about the history of pretzels. Modernly we use boiling water with baking soda in it. Previously they used lye in the water to accomplish the same dark colour.  However, I can’t find any use of lye or ash in boiling water in the production of bread products in the SCA period. Some people have suggested that they used malt in the water but again there’s no proof of it. That of course doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Pretzels of course are a period shape

Konzil von Konstanz (ÖNB 3044, fol. 48v), c. 1465-1475

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