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fd-Caribbean-msg – 10/28/03

 

Food of the 16th Century Caribbean.

 

NOTE: See also the files: fd-Spain-msg, Spain-msg, pirates-msg, blacks-msg, travel-msg, ships-msg, ships-bib, travel-foods-msg.

 

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NOTICE -

 

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.

 

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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

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Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2003 01:42:09 -0400

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

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Late-period Caribbean food (was Asking a favor of

        Phlip]

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

        hlaislinn at earthlink.net

 

>> Would you be so kind as to post this request for any info on medieval

>> caribbean food recipes/sources to the SCA cooks list? It is so

>> voluminous that I don't subscribe anymore, but I sure could use their

>> expertise on this one. I HAVE discovered that rice came late to the

>> Caribbean, in the 1800's with the East Indians and Orientals, as did

>> curry. Jerk seasoning seems to be period though, and I'm betting

>> Jamaican pasties or meat pies are too. I'm not planning this feast to

>> be completely period because I think finding sources will be very

>> difficult (the event is late period/Cavalier pirate themed), but I'd

>> like to know what they ate in the Caribbean in period just for

>> elucidation's sake. Thanks in advance!

>>

>> YIS,

>> HL Aislinn Columba of Carlisle

 

One of the sources for information about New World food is the "Historia

Moral y Natural de la Indias".  It was published in 1590, and was written by

Jose de Acosta, a Jesuit priest who spent over 15 years in various parts of

the New World.  The entire book is available online in Spanish at:

http://cervantesvirtual.com/FichaObra.html?portal=0&;Ref=600

 

Here are a few excerpts that you may find of interest, along with some

Quick and dirty translations into English.  [And a few paraphrases.]

 

Las islas que llaman de Barlovento, que es la Espa–ola, Cuba y Puerto

Rico, y otras por all’, tienen grand’sima verdura y pastos, y ganados

mayores en grande abundancia. Hay cosa innumerable de vacas y puercos

hechos silvestres. La granjer’a de estas islas es ingenios de azścar y

corambre; tienen mucha ca–af’stola y jengibre...

 

The islands which they call Windward, which are Hispaniola, Cuba, and

Puerto Rico, and others around there, have great verdure and pastures, and

large cattle in great abundance.  There are innumerable cows and pigs that

have gone wild.  The farning of these islands is sugar mills and cattle hides;

they have a lot of canafistola [a kind of tree] and ginger...

 

 

En las islas que llaman de Barlovento, que son Cuba, la Espa–ola, Puerto

Rico, Jamaica, se halla el que llaman manat’, extra–o gŽnero de pescado, si

pescado se puede llamar animal que pare vivos sus hijos, y tiene tetas, y

leche con que los cr’a, y pace yerba en el campo; pero en efecto habita de

ordinario en el agua, y por eso le comen por pescado, aunque yo cuando en

Santo Domingo lo com’ un viernes, casi ten’a escrśpulo, no tanto por lo

dicho, como porque en el color y sabor no parec’an sino tajadas de ternera,

y en parte de pernil, las postas de este pescado: es grande como una vara.

 

In the Windward Islands, which are Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica,

there is what they call manatee, a strange kind of fish, if one can call "fish"

an animal which bears live young, and has teats, and milk which it raises

them on, and grazes on grass in the field, though normally it lives in water,

and because of that, they eat it as fish, although when I ate some in Santo

Domingo on a Friday, I almost had scruples, not so much because of what I

have said, but because in color and flavor they resembled slices of

veal from the haunch, the slices of this fish; it is as big as a pike.

 

[He then discusses shark fishing, and comments on the many varieties of

sharks.]

 

De las islas de Barlovento, que son Cuba, la Espa–ola, Jamaica, San Juan,

no sŽ que se usase antiguamente el ma’z; hoy d’a usan m‡s la yuca y

cazavi, de que luego dirŽ.

 

In the Windward islands, which are Cuba, Hispanola, Jamaica, San Juan, I

do not know if they used maize of old; today they primerily use yuca and

cassava, of which I will speak later.

 

En algunas partes de Indias usan un gŽnero de pan que llaman cazavi, el

cual se hace de cierta ra’z que se llama yuca. Es la yuca ra’z grande y

gruesa, la cual cortan en partes menudas y la rallan, y como en prensa la

exprimen; y lo que queda es una como torta delgada, muy grande y ancha

casi como una adarga. Esta as’ es el pan que comen; es cosa sin gusto y

desabrida, pero sana y de sustento; por eso dec’amos, estando en la

Espa–ola, que era propia comida para contra la gula porque se pod’a comer

sin escrśpulo de que el apetito causase exceso.

 

In some parts of the Indies they use a kind of bread which they call cassava,

which is made from a certain root which is called yuca.  Yuca is a large and

thick root, which they cut into small pieces and grate, and they squeeze it,

as if in a press, and that which remains is like a thin cake, very large and

wide like a shield.  This is the bread that they eat, which is a tasteless and

insipid thing, but healthy and sustaining; because of this we said, when we

were in Hispaniola, that it was the proper food to oppose hunger, because

one can eat it without fear that appetite will cause excess.

 

Es necesario humedecer el cazavi para comello, porque es ‡spero y raspa;

humedŽcese con agua o caldo f‡cilmente, y para sopas es bueno, porque

empapa mucho, y as’ hacen capirotadas de ello.

 

It is necessary to moisten the cassava in order to eat it, because it is rough

and it scratches; it is easily moistened with water or broth, and it is good for

sops, bacause it absorbs a lot, and so they make layers of it.

 

Hay gŽnero de yuca que llaman dulce, que no tiene en su zumo ese veneno,

y esta yuca se come as’ en ra’z cocida o asada, y es buena comida. Dura

el cazavi mucho tiempo, y as’ lo llevan en lugar de bizcocho para

navegantes.

 

There is a kind of yuca that they call sweet, which does not have this poison

in its juice, and this yuca is eaten as a root, boiled or roasted, and it is good food.  The cassava lasts for a long time, and so they carry it for

sailors in place of biscuits.

 

[He goes on to say that neither wheat nor maize grow well in the islands,

and that the humidity affects flour imported from Spain, New Spain, or the

Canaries, so that it makes tasteless and ill-nourishing bread.]

 

Las pi–as son del tama–o y figura exterior de las pi–as de Castilla: en lo de

dentro totalmente difieren, porque ni tienen pi–ones, ni apartamientos de

c‡scaras, sino todo es carne de comer, quitada la corteza de fuera; y es

fruta de excelente olor, y de mucho apetito para comer: el sabor tiene un

agrillo dulce y jugoso: c—menlas haciendo tajadas de ellas, y ech‡ndolas un

rato en agua y sal... d‡se en tierras c‡lidas y hśmedas; las mejores son de

las islas de Barlovento.

 

The pines are of the same size and shape as the pines of Castille; in the

inside they are completely different, because they do not have pinenuts, nor

separate shells, but everything is food for eating, once the outer peel is

removed; and it is a fruit of excellent fragrance, and very appetizing to eat:

the flavor has a slightly sour sweetness, and it is juicy; they eat them in

slices, and cast upon them a little water and salt... they grow in hot and

humid lands; the best are from the Windward Islands.

 

Hay unos pl‡tanos peque–os y m‡s delicados y blandos, que en la

Espa–ola llaman dominicos; hay otros m‡s gruesos y recios y colorados.

 

There are some plantains which are small and more delicate and softer, that

in Hispaniola are called dominicos; there are others which are larger and

coarser and red.

 

[He discusses which European plants can be grown in the New World,

though many of them only flourish in certain areas.  Oranges, limes, citrons,

and similar trees do very well in hot and humid areas.]

 

This is only a small sampling of the information in the book.  It should also

be remembered that Fr. Acosta did not give a comprehensive description of

the fauna and flora of the New World.  For instance, he only mentions a few

kinds of fish out of the many varieties that are found in the Caribbean.

 

If I were going to do a 16th century Caribbean feast, I'd probably serve a

number of the above foodstuffs, plus some compatible Spanish dishes.

Maybe something like, oh... pork or beef, grilled fish with orange juice, yuca,

eggplant, plantains, and pineapple.  I would avoid serving manatee.

 

As you said, the pirate era in the Caribbean is really post-period. That's

17th/18th century, and I know very little about the food of that time

and place.

 

I hope the above helps a little.  (If nothing else, it has helped me

avoid some of the housecleaning I was going to do tonight.)

 

Brighid ni Chiarain *** mka Robin Carroll-Mann

Barony of Settmour Swamp, East Kingdom

rcmann4 at earthlink.net

 

 

Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2003 06:51:18 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Late-period Caribbean food (was Asking a

        favor of      Phlip]

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

 

It should be noted that plantains and bananas are of Old World origin. I

think that the "dominicos" referred to in this paragraph are from the

bananas originally brought to the Caribbean in 1517 by Fra Tomas Berlinga

(the name may be mispelled), who later became the Bishop of Panama. They

should be similar to the standard bananas (Cavendishes) in the

supermarket today.

 

Bear

 

> Hay unos pl‡tanos peque–os y m‡s delicados y blandos, que en la

> Espa–ola llaman dominicos; hay otros m‡s gruesos y recios y colorados.

>

> There are some plantains which are small and more delicate and softer, that

> in Hispaniola are called dominicos; there are others which are larger

> and coarser and red.

>

> Brighid ni Chiarain *** mka Robin Carroll-Mann

 

 

Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2003 06:14:13 -0700

From: david friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Late-period Caribbean food (was Asking a

        favor of      Phlip]

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

 

>>> Would you be so kind as to post this request for any info on medieval

>>> caribbean food recipes/sources to the SCA cooks list?

 

Somewhere I once came across a late period or early OOP small

Caribbean cookbook. I have a vague memory that there was a catsup

recipe (not tomato) in it; if so that would probably be enough to

figure out how early it could be. Unfortunately, I don't think I

photocopied it.

--

David/Cariadoc

 

 

Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2003 09:37:52 -0400

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Late-period Caribbean food (was Asking a

        favor of      Phlip]

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

 

> Would you be so kind as to post this request for any info on medieval

> caribbean food recipes/sources to the SCA cooks list?

 

Perhaps this link will be of help, it regards Christopher Columbus and

food.

 

http://www.castellobanfi.com/features/story_1.html

 

 

Date: Mon, 08 Sep 2003 15:52:35 -0400

From: johnna holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Late-period Caribbean food (was Asking a

        favor of      Phlip]

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

 

I own that volume. It's an extraordinarily weird pamphlet titled:

The Lucayos' Cook Book. Being an Original Manuscript 300 years old,

never published. Found in the Bahamas.

Dated 1660-1690.

 

Printed in Nassau, Bahamas. 1959.

 

It was mentioned in several SCA booklists back in the 1970's. It's a

compilation of several different sorts of recipes ranging from sweets

and preserves to soups and meats. In total, it's 48 pages. Karen Hess

mentions it in the textual notes to Martha Washington's Booke of

Cookery.

 

Johnnae llyn Lewis

 

david friedman wrote:

>> Would you be so kind as to post this request for any info on medieval

>> caribbean food recipes/sources to the SCA cooks list?

>

> Somewhere I once came across a late period or early OOP small Caribbean

> cookbook. I have a vague memory that there was a catsup recipe (not

> tomato) in it; if so that would probably be enough to figure out how

> early it could be. Unfortunately, I don't think I photocopied it.

 

<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