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fd-Celts-msg - 6/1/08


Celtic foods. Celtic feasts.


NOTE: See also the files: Celts-msg, Scotland-msg, Ireland-msg, cl-Celts-msg, cl-Ireland-msg, cl-Rom-Brit-art, cl-Scotland-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



From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 10:46:15 -0400

Subject: Re: SC - Early 'Celtic


Melissa Martines wrote:

>      I was just wondering if anyone had any good primary sources for early

>      Celtic food?  (like 600 A.D.).  I'm working on a coronation feast menu

>      for some really early celts (English Celts, by the way).


>      morgan

>      melissa.martines at corpfamily.com


There's not much out there in the Arthurian food department, that I know

of.  You will probably pretty much have to work with the earliest

recipes you can find for those foods that were available in the British

Isles at the time in question. This may or may not be especially



Somewhere in the autobiography (Confessions?) of St. Colmkille (a.k.a.

Columba, founder of the monastery on Iona, among others), there is a

description of the Irish pottage called Brotchan Foltchep or Brotchan

Roy. As I say, it is a description, rather than a recipe. However, this

soup is still eaten in Ireland today, and given the list of ingredients,

there's no real reason it couldn't be more or less the same soup it was

in 597 C.E. Most Irish cookbooks have a recipe for it. Here's mine, for

what it's worth...


Brotchan Foltchep


This soup probably started out as oatmeal porridge enriched with leeks

and milk, and has been eaten in Irish monasteries for about 1400 years

or more.


Serves 6


3 or 4 medium-size leeks, about 1 1/2 pounds

1/4 to 1/2 stick butter (1 - 2 ounces)

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 cups milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup raw, steel-cut porridge oats, like McAnn's

Parsley (flat Italian, chopped) for garnishing

salt and white pepper to taste


Wash the leeks well. They are usually muddy and sandy. Remove any

visible dirt or grit. Trim off the root ends and discard. Starting at

the white, root ends, slice the leeks thinly. Place in a deep bowl of

cold water, and rub the leeks between your hands, gently, to separate

the rings and encourage the last of the grit to sink to the bottom. Lift

the leek slices off the surface till the bowl has nothing left in it but

water and mud. Drain the leeks in a strainer and set aside.


In a large, deep saucepan, bring the stock and milk to a simmer. Stir in

the oats, bring almost to a boil, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until

the oats are done.


While the oats are simmering, melt the butter in a deep saute pan, over

low heat. Sweat the leeks for five or ten minutes, until they begin to

soften, but not brown. When the oats are about half done, add the leeks

and their butter to the pan of soup. The leeks and the oatmeal should be

done at the same time.


Take the pot off the heat, stir in the cream, and season with salt and

white pepper to taste. Garnish with the parsley.



Plenty of roast and boiled meats would have been eaten (what with a

herd-based economy and all). Ditto milk and cheeses. Watercress in some

form (probably cooked, though).


Variations on the ham-and-cabbage soup-stew thing. Oh, and don't forget

the salmon.





From: nweders at mail.utexas.edu (ND Wederstrandt)

Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 10:19:18 -0500 (CDT)

Subject: Re: SC - Early 'Celtic


The Heritage Trust came out with a little booklet called something like

"Prehistoric British Cooking."  Documentation is a little sketchy but they

talk about seaweed pudding and frumenty.  It's at home but I can bring it

in and see what's in it if you like. The recipes are mostly meat and grain

types.  I always thought maybe roasted eggs would be something to try to

figure out.  I know people ate bird eggs.  The oatmeal and leek stew sounds

good.  I love McAnn's (sp) oats as well.


When I went to England some years back, I stayed at a Welsh youth hostel

that served breakfast.  On their menu was some regional dishes and I'm

really game for anything once except liver (which I have tried).  I wanted

to try English Porridge which they had as well as laverbread.  The porridge

was great.  Even people who don't like oatmeal would like British/welsh

oatmeal..... Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to try the laverbread but

I think I have a recipe for it....


All good stout simple early food.....


Clare St. John



From: Aldyth at aol.com

Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 12:50:33 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: SC - Early 'Celtic


In a message dated 97-06-11 11:26:51 EDT, Clare St. John writes:


<<  Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to try the laverbread but

I think I have a recipe for it....

All good stout simple early food..... >>


I have a quaint Not even Period welsh cookbook "Little Welsh Cookbook" by E

Smith Twiddy.  Has some interesting things.  I use them often, whether I am

doing feast or not.  I like "Celtic" foods.


Laver Bread (Bara Laver)


Wash fresh seaweed well.  Boil for several hours until it is quite soft.

Drain.  Mix well with enough fine oatmeal to make small round cakes.  Fry

bacon, and then fry the cakes in the bacon fat.



Aldyth at aol.com



From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 17:49:02 -0700 (PDT)

Subject: Re: SC - Early 'Celtic


At 8:45 AM -0600 6/11/97, Melissa Martines wrote:

>     I was just wondering if anyone had any good primary sources for early

>     Celtic food?  (like 600 A.D.).  I'm working on a coronation feast menu

>     for some really early celts (English Celts, by the way).


>     morgan

>     melissa.martines at corpfamily.com


No.  But for a good secondary source. try _Food and Drink in Britain_, C.

Anne Wilson.  Each chapter covers a food (meat or milk/cheese/butter or

whatever) organized into sections by period: prehistoric, Roman, and early

medieval are the parts you would need.  There is, for example, a really

neat description (from archeaological evidence in Ireland, actually tried

out by the archaeologists) of how to do "a roasting and a boiling" of meat

with no kitchen facilities other than stones, water, and a little wood.


Elizabeth/Betty Cook



From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Date: Tue, 01 Jul 1997 18:07:11 -0400

Subject: Re: SC - Celtic Feast


Melissa Martines wrote:


>      1)  Can anyone confirm for certain that the Celts did not eat fowl?

>      Birds have been conspicuously absent on the lists of foods I have been

>      finding, and several people have told me that Celts didn't eat them

>      for religious reasons.


This is a toughie. It is true that Julius Caesar claims in The Gallic

Wars that the Britons keep chickens for amusement and cockfighting

rather than for meat. On the other hand, we have reason to believe that

they ate eggs, although we're not certain what birds they would have

been from. Also, there is at least one well-known dish found in

Scotland, based on chicken, which almost certainly has close period

ancestors: cock-a-leekie.

>      2)  If they didn't eat birds, any suggestions on the second meat to

>      serve?  I'm already planning on beef and don't want to do another red

>      meat.  Fish doesn't generally go over real well in Meridies (too many

>      people are either allergic and just don't like it.)


Veal doesn't seem like a liklihood, and there seems to have been a

definite aversion to pork among the Celts in Ireland and Scotland in

early period. However, Pliny claimed that the best hams came from Gaul,

so this may have been geospecific. It's likely that the Irish and Scots

appreciation for bacon and ham may well have been introduced by the

Vikings, and it's possible that chicken consumption became wider as of

that time (8th - 12th centuries) as well. The aversion to chicken may or

may not have included other birds, such as duck and goose.


I suppose much of this depends on specifically when you are talking

about. Evidently not 15th century ;  ). Are we talking about the Bronze

Age, or the Age of Migration, or what?

>      3)  I was told to look for feast descriptions in the Mabinogion.  So

>      far, I've read three of the stories (which were fun) but all they

>      mention is "they sat down to feast."


You  might check C. Anne Wilson's "Food and Drink In Britain", which has

a bit about some of these issues.





From: "Marisa Herzog" <marisa_herzog at macmail.ucsc.edu>

Date: 1 Jul 1997 17:21:52 -0700

Subject: Re: SC - Celtic Feast


According to the 4 or five books on Celtic history I have been bouncing

between for my own enjoyment over the past few months:


Birds were not eaten, something to do with social or moral taboo, possibly the

idea that most human or sidhe shapeshifters turned to birds (cannibalism?).

Hare/rabbit was not eaten, don't know why (social/moral taboo against eating

something perceived as cowardly and dumb?).

pig and beef most definitely popular and high on the list.

a lot of milk and dairy products.

wine in abundance.

and archeological evidence that shellfish was very popular as well as fish.



From: nweders at mail.utexas.edu (ND Wederstrandt)

Date: Wed, 2 Jul 1997 07:40:17 -0500 (CDT)

Subject: Re: SC - Celtic Feast


        I have a small Welsh book called something like "Table for the

Bard's" or something like that.  It's a small British book of Welsh poetry

from our time periods describing foods.  The recipes that are included are

pretty well documented they are just later than the poems. The food part

is co-ordinated by Maggie Black.  I can look through and see what they have

said in the poems.  The Welsh ate birds, pork, grains, and vegies.  I can't

remember the specifics.

        "Celtic" is so broad a topic.

        Of course you could serve Stargazey Pie. *wink*


Clare St. John



From: "Sue Wensel" <swensel at brandegee.lm.com>

Date: 2 Jul 1997 09:41:50 -0500

Subject: Fwd> Re> Fwd> SC - Celtic Feast


I forwarded this to a friend.  Unfortunately, the way my backwards e-mail

system works, unless I have the e-mail addess in the text, I can't get it

(there are no headers, per se).






1)  Can anyone confirm for certain that the Celts did not eat fowl?

     Birds have been conspicuously absent on the lists of foods I have

     been finding, and several people have told me that Celts didn't eat

     them for religious reasons.


I highly doubt that Celts did not eat fowl.  Who are you talking about and

when?  Irish, Welsh, Scotts, continental Celts? From 5th to 12th century

would all constitute early.  Not only was it not prohibited in Christian

Ireland, Wales and Scotland but actively encouraged by Lenten practices.


     2)  If they didn't eat birds, any suggestions on the second meat to

     serve?  I'm already planning on beef and don't want to do another red

     meat.  Fish doesn't generally go over real well in Meridies (too many

     people are either allergic and just don't like it.)


Actually beef was rarer than pork and white meats ie. dairy products.  The

large herds of cattle are clearly used for milking rather than beef

production.  Salmon was frequent in both Ireland and Scotland and tends to

be more acceptable (and cheeper) than other fish today.


     3)  I was told to look for feast descriptions in the Mabinogion.  So

     far, I've read three of the stories (which were fun) but all they

     mention is "they sat down to feast."


I would think that the law codes (Brehon for Ireland and Scotland and

Hydell Da for Wales) would be better sources.  I will attempt to check

them out.  The Mabinogion tales often revolve around swine indicating the

central role of pork in the Welsh diet.


Charles OConnor

jphughes at raven.cc.ukans.edu



From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Date: Wed, 02 Jul 1997 13:23:42 -0400

Subject: Re: SC - Celtic Feast


Marisa Herzog wrote:

> ]Well, if you're talking about the early Celtic peoples of ]Britian, they

> didn't eat rabbit because rabbits didn't exist in ]England much before the

> Normans.  I believe they were a Norman ]import (again, working from memory, I

> believe the source is Ann ]Wilson's Food and Drink in Britian)


> no- this was a reference (Ceasar again I think) to the continental Celts, in

> the same breath/sentence with "they don't eat fowl"


> "Hares, fowl and geese they do not think it lawful to eat... do not grow corn

> [generic term for grain] but live on milk and meat..."


One possible source of confusion here is that Caesar seems to have

lumped together virtually all the races found in Europe, with the

possible exception of Greeks and Italians, as Keltoi or Gauls. I do know

that the Anglo-Saxons had a reverence for the hare, regarding it an

incarnation of some goddess or other, and that this prohibition was

probably carried over from what is now Germany and the Low Countries.

The German "Gauls" were ethnically, linguistically, and presumably

otherwise different from the Goidelic and whatchamacallit Celts (can't

think of the word) of Scotland, Ireland, South Britain, Armorica or

Bretagne, Galatea, etc. In fact they appear to have been a different

race altogether, and they may not have shared this habit universally.

> I can't find the shellfish reference right off the bat, but this is from "The

> Celts" by Frank Delaney


Shellfish is definitely a biggie. When Roman colonists came to Britain

they found artificial oyster beds that had been built by the previous

occupants. They then decided that British oysters were the finest in the

world, and began shipping them to Rome.


Again, it would be really helpful if we had a time frame...





From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming )

Date: Wed, 2 Jul 1997 14:10:07 -0500 (CDT)

Subject: SC - Celtic Foods


As someone else posted, it depends on what Celts you are talking about

when you ask what they ate.  Maggie Black's _A Taste Of History_

(10,000 Years of Food in Britain) states that the prehistoric British

ate whale, seal, fish, shellfish, sea birds (including geese and

ducks), game animals such as deer, wild pig, elk, wild ox, bear,

beaver.  Around 3,500 came sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, all of which

were eaten as well as used for other products such as milk, wool, etc.


If you take Celts in Roman and post-Roman Britain they had fish,

shellfish, deer, boar, hares, wild fowl.  The Romans introduced

"delicate birds" such as pheasants, peacocks, and guinea fowl.  Pigeons

were eaten.  Cattle were exported to the continent before the Romans

arrived.  The book mentions veal and beef with sauces, ham and bacon,

much mutton, and goats.  There is some evidence horse meat was eaten,

at least in sausages.  The author mentions domestic fowl for Romans.


You might want to investigate Celtic archeological studies where the

bones have been investigated.


Alys Katharine



From: Uduido at aol.com

Date: Wed, 2 Jul 1997 22:05:51 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: SC - Celtic Feast


In a message dated 97-07-02 20:54:59 EDT, you write:


<< I do know

that the Anglo-Saxons had a reverence for the hare, regarding it an

incarnation of some goddess or other,  >>


I also suspect that the observation by Ceasar regarding hare, fowl, and geese

was based on religious proscription if , indeed, his reporting was correct. I

find it amusing that he didn't mention they didn't eat mice which were a

delicacy in Rome. :-)


The proscription on hares involved fertility. "Fowls" (e.g. chickens were

used to forcast the future by throwing grain on the ground and observing the

order that they were pecked. I am not sure of geese.


What this tells me is that Ceasar would have been sucking up to the local

"big wigs", of which the local priests/priestesses would surely have been

adjudged a part of and was merely making observations about their particular



As a side thought on hares, I always found it peculiar that embryo hares were

not considered "meat" and were allowed on meatless days. Go figure.


Lord Ras



Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 10:01:42 -0800

From: "Anne-Marie Rousseau" <acrouss at gte.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Celtic Foods and Cooking Gear


Hi all from Anne-Marie


Greywolf asks:

> Any suggestions on sources of informatin on the Celts are appreciated.


Check out Ann Hagens two book series _Anglo Saxon Food and Drink_. Both are

avail. through amazon.com.


These are great!!!! DonŐt let the title fool you--it covers Vikings, and all

kinds of other early periods. She uses period recipe sources as well as

literature and even archeological evidence to build a picture of what

people ate, how they ate it and how it got to them for early period folks.

She supposes nothing...everything is backed up with real evidience and

everything is cited within an inch of its life. Hooray! I still like the

bit where she takes the chromatographs from the pot shards to show that the

cabbage was actually boiled in the pot. hee hee hee. I'm such a geek!


Also, if you're doing Romano-British, Apicius is a perfectly acceptable

source for someone trying to impress the local Roman dignitary with how

continental they are.


- --AM



Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 13:11:30 -0500

From: Melissa Martines <mmartines at brighthorizons.com>

Subject: SC - Celtic Feast -- Long


Well, despite dealing with a monsoon on Monday and the minor crisis of

my Laurel Mistress Rosemounde being struck by lightning (she is OK),

Clanne Preachine in the bog did indeed hold their Early Period Celtic

Faire and I taught my class/tasting on a Celtic Feast.  I thought some

of you out there might be interested, so here's the info:


The challenge of doing Celtic, of course, is that no actual recipes

exist.  I relied heavily on archeological information on what foods and

animals were eaten and raised during the time period and tried to keep

preparation methods simple.  The rest is largely the creative part of

Creative Anachronism :)  I welcome anyone's comments, constructive

criticisms and additional knowledge of this area :)


First, we started with stewed rabbit.  OK, it was really chicken

pretending to be rabbit.  The lady at the Giant Eagle looked at me like

I had three heads when I asked for rabbit.  I thought if rabbit tastes

like chicken, then chicken should taste like rabbit :)  I also know

there is a great debate on when rabbit was introduced to the British

Isles.  I basically adhere to the belief that the Normans brought RABBIT

over, but there are several descriptions of the Celts eating HARE (which

of course, is not available in Tennessee or Pennsylvania), so I had

decided to substitute rabbit.


Stewed Rabbit


1 2-3 lb. rabbit cut into pieces like chicken

4 Tbsp butter

1/2 c. chopped onions/leeks

4 clove garlic, if desired

1/2 tsp fennel

1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

salt to taste

1 c. red wine

water to cover


Melt the butter in a large pot or dutch oven.  Add onions/leeks and

garlic and cook in the butter for about 5 minutes (don't brown).  Add

rabbit pieces to the butter and brown on each side.  Add rest of

ingredients.  Cover and simmer for 1-2 hours.


I decided on stewing a meat, because other than roasting, it is one of

the earliest methods of cooking meat.  The recipes is one that I created

based on one in the British Museum Cookbook and one that Mistress

Rosemounde had created.  The spices were chosen after looking over an

archeological list of plants found in Roman Britain excavations.  I

debated about the wine, because the Romans would have brought it to the

Isles.  Celts probably only had beer and mead until then. I decided to

add it because I like the taste.  Ale also works well in this recipe and

is probably a little more authentic Early Celt.


Next, I made griddle bread. There is all kinds of archeological evidence

of the use of oats.  There is also a lot of evidence that the Early

Celts made griddle breads and probably didn't bake (they actually found

a  bog man  with part of a burned griddle cake in his belly).  I found a

number of griddle bread recipes and put this one together based on

recipes in British Heritage and a Meridian Publication called Early





2 c. oatmeal

Hot water


pinch of baking soda


Cook the oatmeal and the hot water into a thick porridge and add salt

and a touch of baking soda.  Drop by spoonfuls onto a medium hot griddle

or skillet.  Cook until brown on underside.


OK, I cheated with the baking soda.  It gives it a bit of a rise, but

not much.  It is also is very important to keep the griddle on low heat,

or you end up with a super done bottom and gooey top.


To go on the bread, I copied a recipe for Samit Spread out of Early

Period. We know the Celts were big into dairy food, and nothing in the

recipe is out of the realm of probably foods they would have used.


Samit Spread


1 lb cottage cheese (NOT fat-free)

1/2 c. softened, but not melted, butter

1/2 c. sour cream

garlic and herbs to taste (I used savory and thyme)


Mix everything together.  I use my food processor, but you could just

mash it all together too.  Again, I used my archeological sources to

pick herbs to use.


I had a hard time determining a vegetable dish to use.  I finally opted

for pottage since I had a lot of different recipes for various pottages

and soups using either oatmeal and/or barley and greens and spices.

This recipe is one that was developed by Mistress Rosemounde.




3 c. water


1 1/2 c. barley, cooked

1 c. finely chopped cabbage

1/2 c. finely chopped onion/leek

1 c. chopped spinach


Boil the cabbage, onion/leek and spinach until tender. Drain.  Add the

cooked barley.  Mix.  Salt to taste.


For a kind of dessert dish, I decided on mixed berries with hazelnuts on

top.  We know the Celts ate strawberries (although not the modern kind)

and raspberries.  Blackberries also existed, but it is uncertain if they

ate them or not (several of the latrine excavations have not included

blackberry seeds).  Hazelnuts were also used by the Celts.


Mixed Berries


1 c. raspberries

1 c. strawberries

1. blackberries

1/4 c. chopped hazelnuts


Mix berries together.  Sprinkle nuts on top.


I also made a small mead to go with the meal that turned out very well.


THLady Morgan MacBride

Shire of Glaedenfeld




Date: Mon, 05 Jul 1999 21:47:49 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Celtic Dung fires


Steve Hughes wrote:

> Miranda Green also mentions the  presence

> of chicken bones in Celtic garbage heaps and that the chicken came from

> India. My thought was it was a hell of a long way for a chicken to walk

> to be gassed and kept warm by a cow dung fire. So should you be planning

> a Celtic Feast, chicken can be served!


What makes you think the chicken did the walking, rather than the Celts?

As regards the Celtic feast concept, the problem with such a claim is

that sounds a bit like someone saying, "If you're planning an

Indo-European feast, you can serve haggis and pissaladiere at the same

time!" Celts are a diverse group of nations with great cultural and

social diversity, and it's hard to ascribe some of the dietary habits

of, say, Scots Highlanders, to, say, the Bretons.


Specifically about chickens: Caesar did write that chickens were not

eaten by the particular Gauls he dealt with in the Gallic uprisings in,

what, roughly 60 B.C.E.? He may have been wrong, or he may have been

simply speaking of a very specific group or caste. On the other hand, he

also said that chickens were kept, just not eaten by the group in

question. This is a tough call to make, but the possibility also exists

that Ms. Green is no more (nor no less) qualified to judge the

significance of chicken bones in a midden than Caesar was.





Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999 00:02:28 -0500

From: Steve Hughes <shughes at vvm.com>

Subject: SC - Re: Celtic Chickens


Dear SCA-Cooks,

Here is more information on Celtic chickens and about about Miranda J.

Green. After reading this message, you may see why if you were going to

quote from one a single source about the Celtic World you might want to

choose her.


Miranda J. Green resides in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and is

a Lecturer in Celtic studies at the University of Wales College of

Cardiff, and a senior Lecturer in History and Archaeology at Gwent

College of Higher Education.  She has written extensively: The Gods of

the Celts (1986), Symbol and Image in Celtic Religious Art (1989),

Dictionary of Celtic Myth and legend (1992), Animals in Celtic Life and

Myth (1992) and Celtic Myths (1993),and  The Sun-Gods of Ancient Europe

(date not given). She is also the editor of the encyclopedic work_ The

Celtic World_(1995). I own copies of _Animals In Celtic Life and Myth_

and _The Celtic World_.


Here begins the first chicken reference from _The Celtic World_ Chapter

11, from the section  entitled "Rural life and Farming"  written by

Peter J. Reynold who writes on p. 190 about chickens:


"Bone evidence for poultry is meager. Caesar remarks that geese were

kept for pleasure (anim. causa) but makes no reference to chickens.

Since chickens were widespread throughout the Mediterranean countries,

their presence in Britain probably warranted no special mention. Geese,

however, held a special place in what for Caesar was contemporary Roman

history. Exactly what is meant by anim. causa is difficult to interpret

since the real meaning is about spiritual pleasure. Our knowledge of the

importance of birds in the Celtic spiritual world barely ranks the goose

as especially significant. Nonetheless the image of a Celtic Farmyard

must be populated by free-range chickens and geese. As for specific

types it is attractive to think of the chickens as being Old English

game fowl. These birds have a reputation for hardiness and aggression.

The cocks have been much sought after as fighting birds. It is

interesting to speculate whether some of the circular buildings were not

house but cock pits. That would, indeed, have been anim. causa and fits

into a long tradition of the sport. The geese could well have been the

grey lag, an elegant, medium-sized bird also given to a degree of

territorial aggression but not against its own kind as the case of

fighting cocks."


Ok, so we have a number of possibility for chicken bones. Were they egg

layers or fighting cocks. Were they Old  English game fowls, or India

Chickens. Read on.


Note to the person  could you find an English translation and give us

the editor and page number where Caesar says the Gauls did not eat



In regard to Miranda Green's _Animals In Celtic Life and Myth_ her

footnotes and bibliography in small print cover p. 243 to 273 of the

book. The bibliography contains Irish Gaelic, German and French language

sources. References to chickens are made on page 6, 22-24, 34, 82, 96,

107, 110, 125-6, 142, 182, 196.

P. 6 refers to chicken eggs.

P. 22-24 is part of a chapter titled "Food and Farming: Animals in the

Celtic Economy" a section starting on page 22 is  titled "Chickens and

Other Birds." Here it states that the earliest remains of chickens were

from the Th c temperate Europe. P. 23 states: "The chicken of the Celtic

Iron Age were Red Jungle Fowl imported from India or the Far East." It

states that the chickens were kept for their eggs and their flesh

particular during the later iron Age in Gaul and Britain. It remarks on

the fragility of chicken bones and how they are easily destroyed by

domestic animals such as dogs and pigs. Some chicken bones were found in

graves in Gaul. Green confirms that Caesar states that geese and

chickens were shunned as food by the Britons. She goes on to state that

domestic fowl are still found in Britain among Iron Age food debris. She

names a site, late period at Iron Age at Danbury and mentions that

chicken keeping increased during the Romano-Celtic period.

P. 34 deals with eggs. It indicates that the archeological record

suggests that chickens, ducks and geese were kept for their eggs. Eggs

were in the grave-goods of the Celtic warrior chieftain and his chariot

at La Gorge Millet (Maine).

P. 82 refers to the above grave again and states there were eggs, a

fowl, joints of pork and a knife to eat them while a superb

Etruscan-made flagon held his wine.

P.96 Chapter 7 deals with sacrifice and ritual and states that animals

play an important part as intermediaries/messengers to the God

especially birds. It states that humans were rarely used as sacrifices.

It was more common to use animals. Domestic animals were most common.

(Note: I can locate a period description of a Viking funeral for you

that mentions the sacrifice of a cock.)

P. 107 in the Free Galosh period, domestic fowls were a popular

offerings in graves.

P. 110 burial of cockerels at shrines were probably related to an emblem

of a the god honored by that animal. (IE: Mercury's particular

companions are  the goat and the cock.)

P. 125 mentions Caesar and the geese/chicken aversion of the Britons,

but also states that both geese and chickens appear as food-offering in

Galosh graves. It states "Chickens in graves show signs of having been

prepared as food, the heads and legs missing or the heads split in

two."  Her foot note refers to "P. Mendel, 1984. "Contributions a

l'histoire de l'elevage en Picardie: du Neolithique a la fin de l'age du

fer" Revue Archeologique de Picardie, numero special." (Sorry, about not

having the correct French accent marks.) My poor and hasty translation

with a BA in English from Rice University, Houston, Texas (my MA in

English lit is from Trinity University San Antonio. My Thesis was

written on the Science Fiction Novel by Ursula K. LeGuin _The Left Hand

of Darkness_) and my 4 years college of the title would be:

Contributions to the Digging at Picardie: Concerning the Neolithique at

the end of the Iron Age.)

P.142 Mentions a coral-inlaid brooch from the Reinheim princess's grave

in the form of a hen. It also states that domestic chickens were found

at the Hallstatt stronghold of the Heunreberg in Germany.

P. 182 shows a drawing of Romano-Celtic figurine of a cockerel from

Nijmegen, Netherlands.


The last reference to chickens just mentions that mythologically Birds

were considered keen sighted, able to fly leaving behind the bonds of



So this is the low down on the Celtic Chicken according to Miranda J.

Green's research.


Many Medievalist also read the books written at the turn of the century

concerning travelers experiences on the Irish Islands. This is because

the culture remained relatively unchanged on this islands from the

Middle Ages. In Synge's book on the Aran Island mentions the crowd a

couple of loudly quarreling neighbors drew a crow and held them for a

couple of hours as the invectives flew. Seems the Celtic tradition of

taunting the enemy before battle carried down to this example of the

admiration of the invective as an art form. Seems the inhabitants of

Aran at the turn of the century also operated on SCA time. As you can

see, my area of interest, if not expertise at this time is the Celtic

World and Ireland. As a newcomer to e-mail discussions, I had hoped to

get a discussion going in an area of interest too me. Well, I certainly

have managed that. I would like to add that some of the artfully couched

irony and sarcasm in regard to my message was not lost on me. If the

intent is to discourage a newcomer from participating in discussions,

then I fear I have disappointed you.


I am happy to announce that one benefit of this message is that as

Chronicler for the Shire of Tempio, I now have another article to add to

my upcoming issue.


I would like to thank all of you who commented on my message once again

for your courtesy and instruction.It would also be nice if people

actually identified themselves with more than one name quoted sources.

I  hope that in future messages all of us will be more consciences and

consistent in citing our sources.



Pamela Hewitt, the Harper



Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2005 10:53:20 -0400

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks]Hagen books and others

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




Alcock, Joan P. Food in Roman Britain. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK and

Charleston, SC: Tempus, 2001. Alcock presents archaeological evidence

for what the Romans ate in Britain. This is not a recipe book.


Even earlier -- Wood, Jacqui. Prehistoric Cooking. Stroud,

Gloucestershire, UK and Charleston, SC: Tempus, 2001.

It covers what the prehistoric Celts ate. She talks about the problems

one encounters when attempting to recreate the life of a people who

left no written records.


Johnnae llyn Lewis


<the end>

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