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A Baker's Peel Vert

A pre 17th century blog

July 8

Had a fun practice time on Thursday.  Lions Gate practice has been moved to two hours, so it now runs from 8-10pm.  I still have to head home at about 9 in order to be home and functional the next day, this created a problem in that I would only get an hour of practice.  So I went over to Blood and Iron on Front Street in New West (not that far from Saperton Hall where Lions Gate Practice is).  I hung out with Lee, the head instructor there and talked rapier and research, then did some warm-up and drills.  I did cutting drills for about an hour, and worked on accuracy and control.

After that I went over to Lions Gate practice and did sparing for about 45 minutes total, against Godfrey and a gentleman I hadn’t fought before.  I had a blast, working on integrating cutting, and trying different things.

When I started this fencing journal I had a few goals:

  • To learn to use the advantages of a shorter blade against the disadvantages of a longer blade
  • To learn better use of the dagger in both defence and offence
  • To increase my aggression

Since then I’ve added a few goals:

  • Knowing my thrusting range better
  • Controlling my cuts better

The Food of the Late Roman Legion

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This was my entry for Avacal/Tir Righ War, which is a war between neighboring principalities.  I was thankful to get to use a friends full camping kitchen to prepare these dishes instead of ours.  The dishes aren’t very complicated, but with four dishes that all had to be ready about the same time it was tough.  The judges loved the taste of all of the dishes, which I was surprised about, I wasn’t expecting them all to taste as good as they did.  I lost some points by not using period cooking vessles or heat source, though I did use period cooking methods.  But I gained points by making my own liquamen and using spelt instead of a more modern grain.

I’ll be doing more research into period grains in the future.  It was something that I did at the last minute for this entry, but I can’t imagine how bad the biscuts would have been had they been made with bread flour instead of cracked and lightly ground spelt.

Summary

Roman legionary food from the fourth century.  The recipes I have created are adapted from recipes in The Roman Cookery Book: a Critical Translation of The Art of Cooking by Apicus. Which is a translation of a fourth century Roman cookbook.  The originals of the recipes I’ve adapted are later in the documentation.

A&S 50 part III

I’ve decided that since my projects are growing beyond single dish experiments I’m going to change how I count for A&S 50.  Instead of counting multiple recipes as one I will be counting each recipe I do.  This is partly to save my sanity, and partly because I just realized that I made five roman dishes for one entry.  That was a lot of research, redaction, and adaptation for just one thing.  So I think that it makes more sense to count individual dishes.

Doing this brings me up to 19 dishes instead of 10.  Because some dishes make their way into other entries as minor parts I have decided that each dish only gets counted once unless I made some major changes since the last time I made it.

Once I reach 50 recipes I will begin counting by project.  The reason for this is that I’m interested in seeing if I can do both 50 recipes and 50 projects for A&S50.

June 23

Had a great practice tonight.  We started out with work on interception parries, something that I need to work a lot on.  We did them for about an hour or so, and then I worked with Sebastian on slow work.  Some great work on it, I haven’t worked with him in a while.  I noticed a significant difference.  I was feeling more confident, and was able to analyze appropriately.  We did slow work for about a half hour then went to some full speed.  The good news is that my aggression is pretty close to where it was before I stopped fencing.  The bad news is that though my thrusts are better, I need to become more accurate and controlled at my cuts.

After the full speed I took a break, and then worked with Cion, a new fencer.  Started him on working with sword and dagger, and getting him to remember he has two weapons.

In other news my wife is nearly done my new fighting doublet.  Also, my dress doublet is back from adaptations and fits much better.  I won’t be bringing my black doublet with me to AT War this weekend.  It will now officially be retired from events, and will become my practice doublet.

Salting Meat

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After the Lions Gate A&S Defenders competition I got a lot of questions about how to salt meat.  So I decided to put my research together into an article for the local newsletters.  So, here it is.

Salting Meat

The preservation of food has always been a major concern of civilization.  Modernly we tend to rely on refrigeration to preserve our foods. Cooling was also a method for food preservation in the middle ages, however, for obvious reasons there were limitations. Other methods needed to be devised to preserve foods, especially regarding meat. In this article I will be focusing on the medieval method of salting meats to preserve them for later consumption.  The methods I describe are those which would have been used in England and France in the late medieval period.

The salting of meat was a common practice in the middle ages.  This allowed for the preservation, storage, and transport of meat without refrigeration.  According to Food in Medieval England “it was a routine procedure on big estates for deer to be hunted according to season, when the meat was at its best, and the venison prepared and stored in larders till needed, and in this case heavier salting would be necessary” (Woolgar, Serjeantson and Waldron 181).  The salting of venison was common in great households, so much so that there were quite often men whose sole job was the preservation of food.  They would accompany the huntsmen so as to make sure that the deer were treated properly and would be preserved properly (Woolgar, Serjeantson and Waldron 181).

Sealion War

We had a great event this past weekend.

I was running the Arts and Sciences competition and competing in the rapier war.  Upon arriving I talked to a friend of mine, Lord Kerry, who is one of Baroness Caitrin’s Sergants.  We were talking about my heavy armour being almost done, and he offered to loan me the extra pieces.  So I agreed, picked up my armour and we were good to go.  The Heavy war was up first on the saturday.

I had a blast as a pikeman.  I have a few favorite moments from the heavy war.  The first one was when I hit a friend of mine in the stomach during the bridge battle; it was a friend of mine who is also a fencer.  My next great moment was fighting beside Baron while we fought another knight and a few more.  Another great moment was towards the end of the last battle.  We had essentially won victory and were mopping up the last of the Segirtians when I saw their Baron Ming.  He was legged and the only other fighters near us were archers.  I called out for single combat with him.  I managed to stay alive for about two minutes, which was more than I, or anyone else expected.  A knight took my place and slew the baron.

Spice Blends

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Here are three common spice blends that I’ve made over the years.  It’s not that hard to create your own version.  Most versions have the same ingredients in differing quantities.

Grains of paradise can be difficult to come by.  I use a combination of cardamom and pepper to get a similar taste.  If you live in the US it’s a bit easier to come by than in Canada, though I don’t know why that is.

Galingale is fairly easy to come by, as long as you don’t mind using the South-East Asian version of the spice.  The version which is native to Europe has not been cultivated in several hundred years.

Powder Douce:

Source: Janet Hinson’s translation of Le Ménagier de Paris

Apple Pie

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Source

To make pies of greene Apples.
Take your Apples and pare them
cleane, and core them as ye wil a quince
then make your coffin after this man-
ner, take a litle fayre water, and halfe
a fishe of butter, and a litle Saffron,
and set all this upon a chafindyshe, tyll
it bee hote, than temper your flower
with this sayd licour, and the white of
two egges, & also make your coffin and
season your Apples with Cinamon,
Ginger and Sugar inough. Then put
them into your coffin, and bake them.

A Proper New Booke of Cookery 1575