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bev-water-msg 10/7/14


Drinking of water in period as a beverage.


NOTE: See also the files: beverages-NA-msg, beverages-msg, jalabs-msg, tea-msg, wine-msg, mead-msg, cider-msg, coffee-msg, beer-msg, cordials-msg, infusions-msg, fountains-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the individual authors.


Please respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear  at this time. If information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Sun, 01 Feb 1998 16:20:06 -0800

From: "Crystal A. Isaac" <crystal at pdr-is.com>

Subject: SC - water/was coffe and tea at events


Ron Martino Jr (Yumitori)wrote:


> > As far as period substitutions for coffee and tea, I agree that we should try

> > to introduce our people to the delights of period beverages, but to offer

> > water as a substitute is cold and horrenduous to think upon.

> > Mordonna DuBois

>         Water? Horrendous?


Well, yes. For the class of people we are trying to emulate, plain water

was something you drank in desperation or penace.


I spent some time trying to document plain water as a beverage,

something that would have been served at table. The most they thought

about water was as something to dilute wine with. Adding water to wine

was a common practice dating from Roman times, and was described in many

medieval books on manners and in Baccaccio's The Decameron, "And when

they descended to inspect the huge, sunlit courtyard, the cellars

stocked with excellent wines, and the well containing abundant supplies

of fresh, ice-cold water, they praised [their lodgings] even more."


An Italian food and health manual from the 14th century recommends water

in the following fashion: "Warm Water (Aqua Calida) Nature: Cold and

humid in the second degree. Optimum: Lukewarm and sweet. Usefulness: It

cleans the stomach lining. Dangers: It weakens the mechanism of

digestion. Neutralization of the dangers: By mixing it with rose water."

Although the text describes the water being taken internally, the

accompanying picture shows a woman having her feet bathed.


I'm sure the poor drank both spring and rain water, but it wasn't a

habit people who could afford better(different) seemed to pick up.


Besides, I don't know where you live, but here in the west, we

frequently camp in places where the water is undrinkable. If I'm gonna

haul all my beverages in, the only water is usually for gatorade for



Crystal of the Westermark



Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 11:26:29 -0600

From: mfgunter at fnc.fujitsu.com (Michael F. Gunter)

Subject: SC - Water to wine


> I'm not arguing that watered wine was drunk in our time period, but I

> am curious as to how your quote backs up your statement.  I read it as

> "they decended to inspect the courtyard, the cellars, and the well."

> Is there more to the quote that's not here?  I'm sorry, I just have a

> hard time believing that water was not drunk by the nobility at all,

> perhaps that misconception is the cause of my confusion?


> Conchobar


There's a statement in a chronicle during the 100 Years War that the English

army was besieged in (Calais?) and supplies were running so low that the

nobility was complaining they were forced to drink plain water.


They drank water but they didn't like it.





Date: Mon, 02 Feb 1998 15:57:00 EST

From: "Nick Sasso" <grizly_nick at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Water to wine


Diseases and standing water make common bedfellows, even in modern

times. The avoidance of plain water is arguable (not strongly) from

this standpoint.  No know pathogens can survive in beer even at weak 3%.

Watered wine would approximate this alcohol content at about three parts

water and 1 part wine.  No point here, just thinking out lound to the






Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 02:15:59 -0500

From: Melanie Wilson <MelanieWilson at compuserve.com>

To: "INTERNET:sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu" <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Drinking Water


>As for drinking plain water, yes it was not common. But there is

>some evidence that it was drunk, although probably not when they

>could get something else.


For a study of water in history see Water in England by Dorothy Hartley.





Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 21:52:03 -0500

From: "Robin Carroll-Mann" <harper at idt.net>

Subject: SC - Beer


Source: Luis Lobera de Avila, _Banquete de Nobles Caballeros_

(Spanish, 1530)

Translation: Brighid ni Chiarain (Robin Carroll-Mann)


Chapter XII

Of beer and of its properties and of its benefits and dangers


<snip of description of beer>

And because in Spain there are many good

wines and good water and there is little need of beer and it is not

customary, I will not enlarge on this material.


It remains to speak of water, because many gentlemen and lords drink

it, so I will speak of its selection and benefits.


Lady Brighid ni Chiarain

Settmour Swamp, East (NJ)



Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2000 10:47:19 -0500

From: "Robin Carroll-Mann" <harper at idt.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Beer


And it came to pass on 29 Jan 00,, that Stefan li Rous wrote:


[quoting my translation from Lobera de Avila]

> > It remains to speak of water, because many gentlemen and lords drink it,

> > so I will speak of its selection and benefits.  


> And this is also VERY interesting. I believe we have discussed here

> whether plain water was drunk in our period. This is perhaps the clearest

> evidence that I have seen that it was indeed done and not because that was

> all they had.


> Brighid, does he go on to talk about selecting water to drink and it's

> benefits?


He does -- and its dangers, too.  Chapter XIII is all about water.


>If so, I would love to have a translation of that section.


When I have a chance, but I suspect that you will find it disappointing.  

Remember, this is a health manual, and it reflects what the medical

profession said that people *should* eat and drink, not necessarily what

they *did* eat and drink.  He goes into details about cooking water with

various herbs and foodstuffs for medicinal purposes (such as barley to

counteract heat, or licorice for urinary difficulties).  Moderate

consumption of cold water is recommended for people of a choleric

temperament who have no medical reasons to avoid it.  And he quotes

several ancient authorities on the potential dangers of water, and how it

may disturb the digestive process.


On the other hand, the section on wine (Chapter XI) states that wine is

the most common beverage, and therefore he will begin by discussing

it. Wine -- good wine, taken moderately -- comforts the stomach, aids

digestion, cheers the heart, prevents decay of the humours, and

engenders good spirits.




Lady Brighid ni Chiarain

Settmour Swamp, East (NJ)



Date: Sat, 4 Mar 2000 14:36:40 EST

From: Aelfwyn at aol.com

Subject: SC - Re: Feast Beverages


I usually serve sekanjabin and plain water. If you slice some oranges and

lemons into the pitchers of water it will give a little flavor, look nice and

still be inexpensive and refreshing. Since my mints will also be available by

the next feast (April 1) I will probably add a few springs to the water

pitchers as well.






Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2000 01:25:40 -0400

From: "Robin Carroll-Mann" <harper at idt.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Is drinking water "period"


A while back, I mentioned a chapter on water in a 16th century health

manual. I've been taking a break from trying to translate it, since the

language is very... medical and hard to render into English.  I'll try to get

back to it soon.


In brief, however, Dr. Luis Lobera de Avila (court physician to Carlos V)

recommends water for the treatment of various illnesses.  Sometimes it

is administered cold, sometimes boiled with herbs.  I cannot tell from

this if people of the time voluntarily drank water as a beverage.  Medical

and nutritional texts generally reflect what people *should* be doing, but

not necessarily what they *are* doing.


Lady Brighid ni Chiarain

Settmour Swamp, East (NJ)



Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2000 20:07:03 +0200 (MET DST)

From: Par Leijonhufvud <parlei at algonet.se>

Subject: Re: SC - Is drinking water "period"


On Sat, 15 Apr 2000, Robin Carroll-Mann wrote:

> is administered cold, sometimes boiled with herbs.  I cannot tell from

> this if people of the time voluntarily drank water as a beverage.  Medical

> and nutritional texts generally reflect what people *should* be doing, but

> not necessarily what they *are* doing.


In Ann Hagens "Anglo-Saxon Food; Processing and Consumption" she

writes "Otherwise wine (for the senior members of society), ale, mead,

cider/fruit wines, or water were drunk." (p 74).





Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2000 18:45:14 -0700

From: Catherine Keegan <keegan at mcn.org>

Subject: Re: SC - Is drinking water "period"


Imagine your descendants 500 years from now, reading the surviving

cookbooks from the late 20th century.  Most of them are from Sunset, Bon

Appetit, or Gourmet magazines.  None of them make regular mentions of

drinking water with meals; in fact, they rarely mention drinking water at

all, except in the context of declining water quality.  Nearly all menus

describe the appropriate wine; some discuss beer.  Special non-alcoholic

drinks are provided for children, but in general, we conclude that the late

20th century household habitually drank wine and beer with their meals and

rarely, if ever, drank water.


Archaeological evidence, however, indicates that vast sums were spent on

water delivery and purification systems.  It is difficult to know what the

purpose of these systems would be if people were not drinking the water.


In this context, note the surviving 12th century map of the water supply

system for Canterbury Cathedral; very elaborate and sophisticated.  Many

medieval cities had extremely complex water supply systems, built to bring

good-quality water from distant springs or streams.  Surely not all of this

water was used to irrigate kitchen gardens and slop the sewers!


Just a reminder of the bias inherent in our sources of information...





Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 10:36:42 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Is drinking water "period"


Your goblet of water is probably not period, but I wouldn't want to bet on

it. The Romans certainly used water and at least one archeologist has made

the case for lead poisoning weakening the Roman population due to the lead

pipes they used.  It was common practice to dilute wines with water and I

believe the practice continued into medieval times.


The Roman Legions commonly drank vinegar with water.  I learned about the

practice from a couple Spec Ops people who experimented with it in the

field. They referred to it as the original electrolyte.


The idea that people didn't drink water because they knew it would make them

sick is just too simple.  Water born disease tends to strike large

populations living in small areas with inefficient removal of human and

animal waste, urban areas and military encampments being at the top of the

list. Ground and surface water are naturally filtered to a certain extent

and if the well is properly positioned in relation to the privies,

contaminents flow away from the well.  (Surface water flows toward lakes and

streams, ground water flows away from lakes and streams.)  


Being unaware of microorganisms, does not rule out having the empiric

knowledge to reduce their effects.  Roman engineers tried to limit their

cities to 25,000 occupants because they could engineer sufficient water

supplies and waste removal for that number.  


Another consideration is that cisterns were used to collect rain water to

provide pure water for castles and towns.  If you weren't drinking it, you

really didn't need a cistern in most of Europe.


Considering that many people today prefer to drink coffee, tea, and soda

rather than water, I see no reason why a person in period would not have

drunk wine, beer or small beer for the same reasons and benefitted from the

additional nutritional value (a glass of beer roughly equates to the

nutritional value of a glass of milk).  From my manual labor days, I can

suggest that another reason people drank beer and wine is for the analgesic

effects. Alcohol helps the body to relax and helps kill the pain of aching

muscles, serious considerations when you don't have Aleve in the medicine



As for feasts, they were often about revelry and conspicuous consumption.

Good vintages are more worthy of note than water.





Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 12:25:23 -0700

From: "David Dendy" <ddendy at silk.net>

Subject: SC - Drinking Water


I have observed the discussion about whether people in the middle ages drank

water, but I haven't followed it very closely, as the absurdity of

suggesting otherwise is obvious to anyone who has actually read much in the

documents of the time. However, I had the discussion in mind when I was

re-reading a favourite book, entitited FRIAR FELIX AT LARGE by H.F.M.

Prescott, which is an description of the pilgrimages to Jesusalem in 1480

and 1483 by a German-Swiss friar. This is based on Friar Felix's own lengthy

account of his travels.


It is obvious from what Friar Felix has to say that water is the usual drink

of the ordinary people who made up the mass of pilgrims, though the noble

and rich may have drunk mostly wine (thinned with water, however -- the

pilgrim manuals warn west Europeans not to drink the strong wines of Cyprus

straight: "drunk neat it will burn up the entrails, therefore dilute it with

anything up to four quarts of water." [p. 45]). The pilgrim's bottle (which

he carried along with his scrip) normally contained water for drinking.

Wine, particularly in Palestine which was under Saracen control at that

time, was carried separately, usually well-hidden in the bottom of bags or

boxes, to avoid the disapproval of the Muslims, who were likely to pour it

on the ground if they saw it.


Friar Felix frequently comments on the flavour of various streams and wells

they stopped at on their way. Some of them he spoke of highly. The water of

the Jordan River, however, had little to recommend it except the religious

connections: "It was not very pleasant to drink, being warm, and as muddy as

a swamp." [p. 157]


The importance of water for drinking may be seen in what happened, on the

voyage to the Holy Land, when contrary winds kept the ship out of port.

"Water ran short; the sailors now could sell any that was not foul, 'albeit

it was lukewarm, whitish, and discoloured,' at a higher price than wine.

Soon 'even putrid stinking water was precious and the captain and all the

pilots were scared that we should run out even of . . . that.' No water at

all could be spared for the beasts; and Felix watched them with pity as they

licked the dew from the ship's timbers." [p. 58-59]


If we want to know the proportions used by the relatively well-off pilgrim,

we might look at the instructions in manuals for pilgrims proivisioning

themselves at Venice before the voyage: they should buy three barrels, two

for wine and one for water. "The best water for keeping is to drawn at St.

Nicholas, and when that is used fill the barrel again at any port of call."

[p. 45] (Keep this in mind -- it suggest that the wine was supposed to last

the entire voyage, while the water would be replenished repeatedly.)


Incidentally, water was the requisite drink during fasts, particularly the

more solemn ones such as Good Friday, when bread and water were enjoined (if

you were well enough off, though, no great hardship ensued -- the Duc de

Berri devotedly stuck to bread and water on fast days, but it was

gingerbread and spiced water!)


Yours aquatically,

Francesco Sirene

David Dendy / ddendy at silk.net

partner in Francesco Sirene, Spicer / sirene at silk.net

Visit our Website at http://www.silk.net/sirene/



Subject: ANST - Period Travel Guides

Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 19:40:42 -0400

From: fitzmorgan at cs.com

To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org


> I assume that people wrote "travel guides" during the Middle Ages and

> Renaissance. Have any survived? Where can they be found? What do they

> cover?

> Jovian


Look for "The Pilgrims Guide To Santiago De Compostela"   Written in , I

think, the 12th Century.  and translated by William Melczer.  Italica Press,

INC.  ISBN 0-934977-25-9 for $17.50 if it's still in print.  This is a travel

guide for pilgrims telling of dangers to avoid and sites to see on your



      It tells which rivers you can safely drink from and which are unsafe.

It says some rude things about the Basque.  And tells short stories about the

many Saints who's shrines you will see on the way.  It's well worth reading.


Robert Fitzmorgan

Barony of Northkeep



Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 09:50:55 -0500 (CDT)

From: "Pixel, Queen of Cats" <pixel at hundred-acre-wood.com>

To: SCA-Cooks maillist <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] more on drinking water in the Middle Ages


On Thu, 24 May 2001, Mark.S Harris wrote:

> Margaret said:

> > For that matter, I have at least one reference to people in poverty (or

> > austerity, which is not the same thing) drinking water instead of ale. I

> > can check when I get home for the exact citation, if anyone is interested.

> Please do. I'd love to have more useful info, preferable with

> referances.


>   Stefan li Rous


The water citation(s), from Dyer again:


p93, discussing poverty "Stories of shocking poverty were told,..., of

nuns reduced to drinking water because their house could not afford



p153, discussign peasant circumstances "Better-off peasants recieved malt,

showing that they were expected to drink ale regularly."




p154 "Beatrice atte Lane, who was surrendering 24 acres, was promised 1

1/2 quarters of maslin, and 1 1/2 quarters of drage, sufficient for an

ample diet of bread and ale, while a smallholder with 4 1/2 acres, Sara

Bateman, received a quarter of maslin and 4 bushels of barley, the

ingredients of a menu of bread and pottage, accompanied mostly by water."


Citations are from

Dyer, Christopher. Standards of Living in the Later Middle Ages: Social

Change in England c. 1200-1520. Cambridge University Press, 1989.


Fascinating book if you, like me, think that sort of info is neat.


Margaret FitzWilliam



From: "Michael Gunter" <countgunthar at hotmail.com>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Another contempory account of drinking water

Date: Mon, 02 Jul 2001 10:33:49 -0500


On a related note, I remember a passage from a book

about the English excursions into France where the

army was under-rationed. One of the main grumbles was

the fact that the knights had to drink water instead

of wine which was proper for them.





Date: Sat, 27 Sep 2003 23:24:38 -0400

From: "Robin Carroll-Mann" <rcmann4 at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Beverages, was Royal authenticity

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


On 27 Sep 2003, at 20:11, Nancy Kiel wrote:

> Unfortunately, there isn't anything non-alcoholic.  Water isn't safe to

> drink, unless it's from a stream (non-well water) or processed in some

> way (boiled).


Cold water was served at noble tables, at least in 16th c. Spain.  At my last feast, I served water, and had fun including documentation for it in my feast

booklet.  I cited a period health manual, the "Banquete de Nobles Caballeros" by Luis Lobera de Avila.  The author was a court physician to Carlos V.  At the end of his chapter on beer (a new-fangled beverage in Spain) he says, "And because in Spain there are many good wines and good water and there is little need of beer and it is not customary, I will not enlarge on this material.... It remains to speak of water, because many gentlemen and lords drink it, so I will speak of its selection and benefits."  


The chapter on water which follows goes into great detail about different sources of water, and what Galen other authorities have to say about it.  Lobera de Avila concludes that water in moderation) is a particularly suitable beverage for ladies, young men under the age of twenty-four,  and persons of a choleric (hot) temperament.


Brighid ni Chiarain *** mka Robin Carroll-Mann

Barony of Settmour Swamp, East Kingdom



Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2003 06:05:53 +0200

From: UlfR <parlei at algonet.se>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Beverages, was Royal authenticity

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


jenne at fiedlerfamily.net <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net> [2003.09.29] wrote:

> Period sources considered running water safer than standing water. If the

> water table was contaminated (by nearby garderobes), well water would of

> course include the contaminants... but without extensive research I can't

> tell you if it would be MORE contaminated than running water or not.


I've seen -- in a museum -- a viking age well[1]. Imagine a conical

hole, with siding made from split oak logs (well was 240 cm deep, top

diameter 350 cm, bottom diameter 80 cm). Now imagine cattle, goats,

chickens, horses, dogs and cats running around in the same area as the

well. Give me the stream any day...




[1] From Vorbasse, Denmark. Dendrochronology gives the build date to

734. Else Roesdahl, "Från Vikingar till Korsfarare", 1992, ISBN

91-85276-63-4, p248.


UlfR Ketilson                             ulfr at hunter-gatherer.org



Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 09:41:21 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Water in England

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>



Does anyone have any documentation on selection of drinking water?




I'd suggest starting with Water in England

By Dorothy Hartley. It's should be available in

libraries around the country for ILLoan.





Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 14:34:03 -0500

From: "Jeff Gedney" <gedney1 at iconn.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Water Purity was: Mustards

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> Stefan, how could they have generally known about health

> hazards of water in the Renaissance? In Holland, about

> 1595 the microscope was invented by Zacharias Jansenn

> (his business was grinding lenses for eyeglasses).  Later,

> Anton van Leeuwenhoek began to make microscopes as a hobby.


Mankind has always had a reasonably good tool to tell if water is  

basically unhealthy, the nose...


Seriously. It was well known that the effluvia of the open sewers was  

unheathy. mostly because it stinks. And we have a very sensible and  

evolutionarily derived aversion response to the odors of biological  



And anyone who put up water in a keg, (sailors did this all the time)  

knew that streams that ran fresh from the spring lasted longer before  

going all scummy and maloderous, than did water in rivers that served  

cities. There are a number of references where the captain was  

searching for good "sweet" water for putting up in kegs, and  

specifically not taking river water that was considered fouled.

They could see and smell that the water went foul (or was already foul)  

without having to know about the sundrie bacteria and algaes that made  

it that way.


They also knew that beer lasted longer than water in the keg.

They did not have to know that boiling the water in beermaking killed  

the organisms therein to know this.


Empiricism did not purely start up in the 1700's with Leewanhoek and  



The senses, physical and common, were enough to make the necessary  



Capt Elias

-Renaissance Geek of the Seven Seas



Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2006 10:57:25 +0200

From: Volker Bach <carlton_bach at yahoo.de>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] drinking water in the Middle Ages

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Am Dienstag, 28. März 2006 07:23 schrieb Stefan li Rous:

> Volker mentioned:

> ====

> Pfaff Amis tells a funny story about an itinerant priest

> tricking a farmer into believing in his supernatural powers by having

> delicious fish 'appear' in the freshwater spring near his farm, and the

> dialogue again reveals that the farmer both relishes high quality

> fish and is

> glad of the spring because it provides 'good' drinking water (though

> he can also provide ale if that is preferred).

> =====

> Can you give us more details of this? Who was "Pfaff Amis"?


It's a story. To be precise, a collection of humorous fables about the

itinerant priest ("Pfaff(e)") Amis, written by an author known only by his

pen name Der Stricker ("the ropemaker") in the early 13th century.  The part

in question is lines 1104-1107


"Saht ir minen brunnen niht?

Der ist kalt und klar

und ist der beste durch das jar

und vluzet harte schone"


(Did you not see my well/spring?

It is cold and clear

Best quality throughout the year

And flows in great quantity)


and the story hinges on the Pfaff Amis putting fish into the spring so that

the owner can hospitably entertain him with a meal as well as a drink of

water - and believe in his supernatural powers.





Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2006 19:04:25 -0500

From: "Daniel  Phelps" <phelpsd at gate.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] drinking water in the Middle Ages

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


I seem to recall there being a rather lengthy discussion of the quality of

drinking water from various French sources in the Heptameron.  My copy is

not a hand.  Does anyone else have the same recollection?





Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2006 10:56:47 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] 16th C non-alcoholic drinks?

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Daniel Phelps wrote:

> While I seem to have misplaced my copy of it, Karen Hess's work  

> "Martha Washington's Book of Cookery" might be worth a look.

> Daniel


Heresy, Milord, heresy to have mislaid so valuable a text.

Mine is here at hand.

Let's see.. lots on wines, recipes for wines,

discussions of beer and ale, verjuice, There is a bottled lemon water  


Mention that Ingatestone Hall had piped supply of 'sweet'

spring water on page 17.


Beginning on page 363 there is a section on SIRRUP recipes and

Hess notes that these were clearly medicinal, but that they would have been

used to provide cooling drinks in warm weather. These include recipes

for sirrups of violets, roses, etc. Lots of steeping of petals in water.

You could substitute bottled syrups I would think.

The manuscripts are dated circa 1580-1625,.





Date: Mon, 01 May 2006 14:17:22 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] 16th C non-alcoholic drinks?

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


There were various things posted about drinking water.


I finally had the time and checked EEBO fulltext--

Maison rustique, or The countrey farme by

Estienne, Charles, 1504-ca. 1564.Liébault, Jean, 1535-1596.Surflet,

Richard, fl. 1600-1616,Markham, Gervase, 1568?-1637.

London: Printed by Adam Islip for Iohn Bill, 1616.

First published in 1600


It states:


The common drinke of all liuing creatures is water.


OLd and ancient Histories doe sufficiently testifie, that water was the

first drinke which men vsed generally throughout the world, and

wherewith they con|tented themselues a long time, to vse it onely for

the quenching of their thirst: but afterward, vvhen voluptuousnesse

seized vpon mens appetite, they inuented and set before them diuers

sorts of drinkes. Wherefore hauing reiected water as a tastlesse and

vnsauourie thing, they haue in place thereof (in all such Coasts and

Countries as where the heat of the Sunne might bring forth and lead

along the grape vnto his full ripenesse) chosen Wine for the most

excellent and delightsome drinke of all o|thers:,,,,

Whereupon, some in stead of vvater haue taken vp the vse of Wine, and

others of Beere and Ale: some of Cyder and Perrie, and others, of all

sorts: some of honied vvater, or vvater sweetened vvith sugar: and

others, of other drinkes pressed and strained out from fruits, or the

decoctions of rootes.





Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 11:29:55 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Beverage experiments

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


This is what the  Muzammala is as mentioned in the chapter title


Chapter 110 (beginning on page 450) is titled

"Measures taken when drinking water cooled in Muzammala or

chilled with crushed ice (Thalj Madrub)" of the

Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens.


It's defined as an insulated household vessel for cold water.




David Friedman wrote:

> Another probably period technique is to have the liquid in a

> container being cooled by evaporation. One way recorded in the Middle

> East in the 19th century, and I suspect going much farther back, is

> water in the sort of clay container that lets a little of the water

> soak through and evaporate.



Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 09:24:08 -0800

From: Dragon <dragon at crimson-dragon.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] evaporative cooling

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Stefan li Rous wrote:

> Adamantius commented:

> <<< But it _is_ interesting to think of where, on the map of Europe, we

> find people cooling with unglazed pottery wine coolers soaked in

> water, >>>

> Are you speaking of modern times or do we have any evidence of

> evaporative cooling being used in period?

---------------- End original message. ---------------------


No references handy as I am not at the library...


There are earthenware wine jugs excavated from Roman sites that are

porous enough to have exhibited evaporative cooling. I am pretty sure

that the effect has long been known and exploited by many cultures.





Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2008 09:44:35 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] water

To: Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>, Cooks within the SCA

        <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Dorothy Hartley who wrote Food in England

did a volume on water.


Water in England

By Dorothy Hartley

Published by Macdonald, 1964

435 pages


Amazon in the US has copies


   * *Unknown Binding:* 416 pages

   * *Publisher:* Macdonald and Jane's (1978)


I bought a hardback copy while we were Cambridge in 84-85 so I suspect

my copy is this edition.





Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2011 08:52:20 -0500

From: Kelly Keck <kellylynne at gmail.com>

Cc: Merry Rose <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>

Subject: Re: [MR] wow.... just wow


Did anybody catch "How Beer Saved the World" on the Discovery Channel last

night? It did mention the "water not being safe to drink" issue, and they

verified it with a lab test.  They tested water from a duck pond and

confirmed the presence of bacteria found in duck poop in that water.  They

made it into beer, in a process that involved boiling, and the bacteria were

not found in the beer.


Though, I'm sure a lot of water sources were perfectly safe.  You wouldn't

want to drink from a river in a city, but you make a good point about wells

being likely safer than they are today.  The problem is, without germ theory

or any way to test water, it's hard to tell which is safe and which isn't.





Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2012 20:20:21 -0700

From: David Walddon <david at vastrepast.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Tenth Century Mead Recipes


You should also take a look at PPC 76 page 30 "Drunkards, Belly-Gods & Servants of the Paunch: Food References in Florio?s Translation of The Decameron by Eden Rain and David Waiddon. We found many references to people drinking water in Italy.





Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2012 23:57:19 -0400

From: Sharon Palmer <ranvaig at columbus.rr.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Water, was Tenth Century Mead Recipes


Rumpolt (1581) has a chapter on water, not yet translated (although

probably soon, I took a break).  There are also chapters on wine,

beer, and vinegar already translated.


I'm also working on porting the whole of Rumpolt to a website.  Not

sure when it will be ready, but five spammers found it in the first

week before I tightened things up.





Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2013 15:39:43 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] The great Medieval water myth


There's a classic volume by Dorothy Hartley entitled Water in England.




On Nov 21, 2013, at 12:46 PM, JIMCHEVAL at aol.com wrote:

<<< I realized I haven't yet mentioned my most recent blog post, on one of my  

pet peeves about our era, in the most relevant forum: this one.


http://leslefts.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-great-medieval-water-myth.html >>>



Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2013 15:58:04 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] The great Medieval water myth


It's 400 plus pages so a summary is rather hard to manage. Let's just say worth a look if you are doing water.

Worldcat says 235 libraries for 7 editions so interlibrary loan ought to be possible. I picked up my copy in Cambridge

back in 1989.

Probably easier to stumble across a copy in the UK than here.




On Nov 21, 2013, at 3:45 PM, JIMCHEVAL at aol.com wrote:

<<< Looks interesting but not very available.


What does she say on this issue? >>>


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org