header-image

Tomas de Courcy

A Baker's Peel Vert

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.

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.

Pressganged Theatre Company

12th Night 2010I was thinking back to the Pressganged Theatre Company which put on an annual play at Bard and a Banquet in the Shire of Lionsdale. Headed up by Master Luther Magnus and Don Pierce O’Brien it was started in 2001 and hosted a play every year till 2011, including two in 2004. In 2015 Luther brought it back to put on a play at that year’s Winter’s Tourney.

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)

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).

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

Sugar Cane Fun

I realized I hadn’t shared a lot of what I’ve done with sugar cane over the last while. This actually predates the sugar paste experiments. So here’s a huge update heavy on the photos. (Also a shameless test of the new photo plugin I’m using for enlarging photos on click)

First, my failed sugar cane juice crystallization experiments:

I started with a cane I got from the supermarket during Chineese New Year, one of the few times it’s available in Canada at standard grocery stores.
quote background

Late-16th Century Italian Culinary Theory

I made him give an account of his responsibilities. He gave me a discourse on this science of supping with grave and magisterial countenance, as if he were speaking of some grand point of theology. He unravelled differences in appetite for me: the appetite one has at the outset, and that which one has after the second and third courses; the means of sometimes appealing to it in simple ways, sometimes reawakening and stimulating it; the rules regarding sauces, first in general and then particularising the qualities of ingredients and their effects; the different salads according to their season, what must be served hot and what cold, and the ways of decorating and embellishing them to make them even more pleasing in appearance. After that, he embarked on the order of courses, full of important and fine considerations…. And all this bloated with grand and magnificent words, such as one might use in describing the government of an empire.

(Montaigne, 1595b: Book 1, Essay 51)