Tomas de Courcy

A Baker's Peel Vert

Renaissance Mouthwash

I referenced Alessio’s work back in my post on Sugar paste. While I was doing that research I also came across a potion “Agaynst the stynkyng of the breathe”. Curious about a Renaissance mouthwash recipe I investigated.

This is from the translation by Wyllyam Warde from French to English in 1559 entitled “The Secretes of the Reverende Mayster Alexis of Piemovnt”.

Agaynst the stynkyng of the breathe.

Take rosemary leaues, with the blossomes, yf you can get them, and seethe them in whyte wine, with a little [D?]yrcge, Synamom, and Bengewin: and taking of teh sayde wyne oftentymes in youre mouthe, you shall fynde a meruaylous effecte


  • Rosemary leaves & flowers
  • white wine
  • Cinnamon
  • Benzoin resin (http://www.the-apothecary.ca/Benzoin-Absolute-wild_p_80.html)


I don’t think this is one I’ll be making, but it is kinda interesting.

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Sponge Cake

If you’ve read about the history of Sponge Cake I’m sure you’ve heard the story that the first English Sponge Cake recipe shows up in Gervase Markham’s 1615 book The English Housewife. But of course none of the websites that mention it give you the recipe, and I’ve seen a number say that it was probably less airy, or that it was flat like a cookie. Which got me wondering, what exactly was the recipe? Well, it’s cake time. For this I’ll be using the 1986 edition, edited by Michael R. Best, of Gervase Markham’s The English Housewife : Containing the Inward and Outward Virtues Which Ought to Be in a Complete Woman. For reference our modern sponge cake is 1:1:1:1 flour, sugar, butter, eggs. Here’s Markham’s:
To make biscuit bread. To make biscuit bread, take a pound of fine flour, and a pound of sugar finely beaten and searced, and mix them together; then take eight eggs and put four yolks and beat them very well together; then strew in your flour and sugar as you are beating of it, by a little at once; it will take very near an hour’s beating: then take half an ounce of aniseeds, coriander seeds, and let them be dried and rubbed very clean, and put them in; then rub your biscuit pans with cold sweet butter as thin as you can, and so put it in and bake it in an oven: but if you would have thin cakes, then take fruit dishes and rub them in like sort with butter, and so bake your cakes on them, and when they are almost baked, turn them and thrust them down close with your hand. Some to this biscuit bread will add a little cream, and it is not amiss, but excellent good also. Markham 1986, p 112-113

Heraldic Achievement

I’ve been messing around with a heraldic achievement in Adobe Illustrator for a while now, and I think I finally have something I like. It’s not amazing, but it’s functional.

I tried a number of different ways of putting my awards on there, I’m not sure I like this one, but it’s not terrible. I think having a compartment, and having them in the compartment, might work better. Anyway, here it is.

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Generic Meat Pie

I made this last weekend and it was a huge hit. Of course I forgot to take any photos of it… Woops.

So, based on my previous work with the minced meat pie I figured out that the general concept of a meat pie in 16th Century England followed a set process, similar to how the stews did:

  • Meat (beef, pork, mutton, chicken)
  • Fat (suet, butter, egg yolk, cheese, bacon)
  • Spices (cloves, mace, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, caraway, sugar)
  • Dried Fruit (raisins, prunes, currants, berries)

With that in mind, here’s today’s meat pie, designed for ease of making and cheapness of ingredients.

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Avacal Judging Forms

So, a bit over a year ago I started working with Mistress Inga, now my Laurel, on the Avacal Kingdom A&S Judging Forms. This consisted of a number of surveys of all of the Avacal artisans, and a more indepth one for the Laurels of Avacal. Based on those results we decided that a rubric would be the best way to go.

TL:DR scroll to the bottom for copies of the Avacal Judging Forms, the Judges & Entrants Handbook, and the Shire Judging Forms.

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Did People Think Tomatoes Were Poisonous?

Sometimes curiosity leads to rabbit holes.

I was curious about tomatoes, so I did a bit of research.  I came across “The History of the Use of the Tomato: An Annotated Bibliography” by George Allen McCue, Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 39, No. 4 (Nov., 1952), pp. 289-348, as well as “The history of tomato: From domestication to biopharming” by VéroniqueBergougnoux, Biotechnology Advances Volume 32, Issue 1, January–February 2014, Pages 170-189. And they give some very interesting information and about what people thought of tomatoes in the 16th and 17th centuries.

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How to Eat in the 16th Century

Meals change over time. What we eat, and how much we eat changes. In the 16th century we see the transition from the medieval context of two main meals a day, with the first one happening sometime after 10 am, to a more modern concept of three meals a day. However, even still, they were not the same style of meals we’re used to.

How to put together a basic set of food for a day, not a feasting day, but a standard day. For some of this I’ll be using previous work I’ve done, the OED, and I double checked a few various texts. Think of this one not so much of an article as a set of guidelines for making things more period for those of us who are 16th century.

In Tudor England the three meals of the day were called Breakfast (brekfast, brekefast, breckfast), though this was not eaten by everyone, however it did gain in promenence through the 16th century; Dinner (diner, dyner, dinere, dener, dynnor, dennar) was the meal eaten around the middle of the day, from what I can tell it could be eaten as early as ten or as late as two, this also tended to be the larger meal of the day; Supper (soper, sopper, soupier, suppare, suppair, super) was the final meal of a day. There is the implication that this meal was a lighter meal than dinner and probably generally consisted of either soup or pottage.

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Rules for Fencing

I’ve been fencing off and on (mostly off) for over fifteen years now. In that time the main teachers I had were Don Pierce O’Briain, Master Luther Magnus, and Fechtmeister Godfrey von Ravensburg. I was never an official student or cadet to any of them, and a few years ago moved away from Lionsdale. However, when I’m fencing here in Avacal I frequently get asked who taught me.

There was an ongoing joke about Rule One, and of course Rule Two. Well, I’ve now spent some time recently putting together twelve rules, most of which are taken directly from those three men, that I have for fencing. They’re not necessarily ones I can always follow, but I try.


  1. Cardio
  2. Double tap
  3. Don’t be a dick
  4. You hold your own honour
  5. When you look good, you feel good
  6. When you feel good, you fight good
  7. Know when they’re in range
  8. When they’re in range, you’re in range
  9. Parrying is good
  10. Not being there is better than parrying
  11. If you’re not having fun, why do it?
  12. If you’re having fun, express it


If you have any thoughts on “rules for fencing” I’d love to hear about them in the comments.