Cheese-Histry-art - 7/10/10
"Cheeses, A History" by Mistress Marcia of Jarrow Motte.
This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.
Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
Cheeses, A History
by Mistress Marcia of Jarrow Motte
Charlemagne was a reluctant convert. At first, he very carefully picked out the blue veins before tasting. The Bishop, his epicurean host, suggested that he try the tangy cheese with the mold intact. By the next morning, when Charlemagne bade farewell to the monastery, he had secured two chests of Roquefort Cheese to take with him, and ordered that a steady supply of two chests a year be sent to his palace in Aachen (1).
Roquefort Cheese, forms of fresh cream cheese, as well as other cheeses whose names or types are familiar to us today have been delighting Europeans since Antiquity.
The legendary "Happy Accident" of the nomad carrying milk in a dried sheep's stomach pouch on a hot day happened millenia ago. The milk plus the jostling and heat added to the residual rennet enzyme remaining in the pouch separated the curds from the whey. Those simple gummy curds would now be called Cottage Cheese, but then were considered more of a disaster by their owner. That is, until, having nothing else to eat, he tried them. The making of fresh cheeses is still very common among the nomadic peoples of the Middle East. Later "Accidents" lead to curing of cheeses by aging and smoking (2).
The first documentation of cheese comes from El-Obeid in Mesopotamia where Sumerian carvings circa 3500 to 2800 B.C. show goats and cattle being milked and dairy products being prepared (3). What are believed to be cheese pots were found in the tomb of Horus-aha, second Egyptian King of the First Dynasty, 3000 to 2800 B.C. Cheese remains were found in tombs dating back to 2300 B.C. (4), however, the actual variety of cheese has not been determined. In the Old Testament Job asks God rhetorically, "Hast Thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?" (5). Young David was delivering 10 loaves of cheese to the captain of his brothers' thousand, part of the Hebrew army arrayed before the Philistines when he had his famous one-on-one combat with Goliath (6). Cheese had become an important dietary constituent.
The Greek writer, Homer, in his Odyssey (850 B.C.) trapped Odysseus and his men in the cave of Polyphemus the Cyclops. Both the Cyclops and Odysseus' men believed that the cheese that Polyphemus made was the source of his strength. After he has been blinded, Polyphemus "....sat down and milked his ewes and goats in all due course. Then he curdled half the milk and set it aside in wicker baskets" (7). Many farm cheeses, even today, are traditionally formed in wicker baskets.
The Greeks worshiped the god Aristaeus as the bestower of "the gift of cheese" and agricultural arts to mankind. Aristotle in his On the Generation of Animals alluded to the process of human conception in the terms of cheesemaking:
"The male provides the `form' and the `principle of the movement,' the female provides the body, in other words the material. Compare the coagulation of milk. Here, milk is the body, and the fig-juice or rennet contains the principle which causes it to set" (8).
Greek interest in cheese was not purely philosophical however. Olympic atheletes trained on a diet that included cheese; and the residents of Delos, hosts of the games, had a cheese engraved on their coinage (9).
Even ordinary people used it in cookery. The citizens of Samos, an island in the Aegean Sea, invented the cheesecake (10). An Athenian recipe that comes down to us has been modernized to the following:
1 lb Dry Curd (for a richer cheesecake substitute 15 oz. of whole milk Ricotta and 1 oz. grated Myzithra Cheese)
4 Tbsp. honey
juice of 2 lemons
1 Tbsp orange flower water
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon OR 12 finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1-9" baked pie crust (Try lining a spring form pan with the Medieval pie crust recipe used later on for Norse Pies).
After the crust has been placed in the pan, line with alumunum foil and fill with beans. Cook at 425 F for 10 minutes, remove foil and beans and cook 5 minutes more.)
Put the first five ingredients in a food processor or blender, blend well. Add cinnamon or mint, blend again. Put in pie crust, bake at 325 F for 45 minutes, or until it is slightly risen, and set (11).
Another cheesecake recipe recorded by Athenaeus, the Greek writer, reads like this: "Take some cheese, pound it, and then put it in a brazen sieve. After straining it, add honey and flour made from spring wheat. Heat it all together in one mass, and when it is cooled, you have a cheese food that is sweet and worthy of the gods". It was used as a wedding cake, and in Argos, the bride served individual cakes to the groom's friends (12).
The Romans, as usual, took a good Greek idea and institutionalized it. Invading Roman armies took cheeses with them, and introduced cheesemaking to the peoples they conquered. Where they found especially good native cheeses, for example, in Chester on the west coast of Britain, production for export to Rome was given high priority. It was even said that the Twentieth Legion built a wall around "Deva" (Chester) to protect its Cheshire Cheese production facilities from marauding tribes. (No one seems to mention, at this point, that York and London were also walled cities who did not produce famous cheeses). Cheshire cheese is still availble, and very delicious (13).
The Romans were great and prolific writers on agricultural pursuits; and cheesemaking received close attention from Pliny the Elder (23 to 79 A.D.) in his 10 volume Natural History.
He recorded that many wagonloads of wheel-shaped cheese were transported throughout the Empire. Specifically described was Caseus Helveticus (Swiss Cheese) a cheese so hard it could be grated into a powder, probably the forerunner of Sbrinz or Saanen a hard cheese still produced. His best praise was reserved for "the cheese that bears away the prize" from the Nimes area of Gaul, none other than our old friend Roquefort (14). Columella, in his Rei Rusticae (On Rustic Matters) 65 A.D. was interested in the whole process of cheesemaking. He recommends several substitutes for rennet in the curdling process: thistle flower, safflower seed, or juice of green fig bark. The pressing, salting, and ripening of cheeses is encouraged to produce cheese without holes. The predecessor of the modern day Caciocavallo, a cheese similar to Provolone, was popular in his era. It was subjected to boiling water to make it kneadable and then formed, braided or pressed into a mold. A brine bath hardened the shape and then the cheese was smoked over a fire of straw or applewood (15).
In De Agricultura, Cato (234-149 B.C.) includes a number of recipes, one for cheese pastry, which the Romans seem to feel they invented. At least two of these could be purchased already made-Libum and Placenta (16). City dwellers' households as well as the large farms near Pompeii had separate cheese kitchens and rooms used to age cheese. In these "caseale", salted, unsalted, hard, soft, spiced or herbed cheeses were formed into loaves, millstones, flattened cones or bricks (17). Cato provides us with a recipe for Savillum, an everyday food in Ancient Rome. It is a compact cake made of cheese, honey and a gritty grain. The grain was probably millet if you were poor, cracked wheat, or what is known in the Middle East as Couscous, made from Durum wheat. The cheese used was most likely a fresh cheese and Ricotta makes a good commercial substitute. The Romans baked it in an earthenware pot in the coals of the fire.
1 cup + 2 Tbsp Couscous wheat cereal or cracked wheat
15 ounces Whole Milk Ricotta
1 cup honey
Grease a ceramic dish with oil and place the beaten mixture of meal, honey, cheese and egg in the dish and cover. Bake in a preheated oven of 375 F to 400 F for 45 minutes. Cover the top with a little more honey and the poppy seeds and return the uncovered dish to the oven for a few minutes. Let cool before removing from the dish (18).
A recipe for Pulmentum, a precursor of the modern day Polenta, the porridge eaten in central and southern Italy, still exists. The Roman cookbook Apicius de re Coquinaria contains a recipe for a type of aspic or "head cheese" containing cow's cheese, pepper, fresh mint, celery, egg yolks, capers, chicken livers, dry pennyroyal, pignola nuts, honey, vinegar, broth, fresh water, soaked bread and its liquid, and cucumbers. Another recipe suggests enhancing the flavor of Cottage Cheese with honey and brine or salt, oil, and coriander (19).
With the fall of the Roman Empire many of civilization's finely honed skills and arts were saved by the stability of the monasteries. Cheesemaking was a function important to the religious orders because of the number of meatless days required in their diet. The Cistercians, who were prohibited from eating meat altogether, experimented with rennet-less cheeses. They found curdling could be achieved by using the leaves of the Venus Fly Trap and Sundew plants (20).
Munster, from Alsace-Lorraine in France, is a monastery cheese said to have been first produced by Irish monks who settled in the Voges region in the seventh century. You will recognize it in the stores by its red-orange rind, surface ripened by the action of coryne bacteria. An ancestor of the modern Port-Salute cheese was also a monastery cheese. Trappist monks (modern-day Cistercians) have recreated it at the renamed Abbey of Notre-Dame de Port du Salute, originally built in 1233. Another monastry cheese called Angelot, now known as Port l' Eveque, (or the ancestor of Camembert depending on your source) was mentioned by Guillaume de Loris in his narrative poem Roman du la Rose circa 1230 A.D. (21).
The fine points of cheesemaking, however, did not remain exclusively with the monks. The 12th century Abbot of Maroilles, in France, requested an act of faith from the peasant farmers in the countryside surrounding his abbey. All the cows' milk produced on Saint Jean-Baptiste Day, June 24th, was to be made into cheese, cured and delivered to the abbey on Saint Remigius Day, October 1st. The tradition is still kept in the region to the extent that Maroilles cheese is served each year on Saint Remigius Day. By the 16th century this cheese was a favorite in the Spanish Court (22).
Gruyere, originally from the Haute Savoie and Franche-Comte region of France figured in another bit of Medieval extortion. It seems the elderly Count of Gruyere, to ensure safe passage of his soul into Heaven, decided to build an abbey. He determined to pay for the construction by levying a tax on every wheel of cheese sold. Soon after, courtesy of the hard working farmers, the famous Abbey of Rougemont was completed. The production of a Gruyere cheese needed more milk than one farmer's cows could produce in a day. This led to the formation of cooperatives in small huts called fuitieres. In 1267 A.D., the farmers of a small village in the Jura region were making a cheese called Vachelin, an ancestor of what we call Gruyere. Among the varieties of Gruyere found today are the Beaufort, without eyes, the Comte with huge holes, and the familiar Swiss Emmental (23).
Brie cheese is first mentioned in 1217 A.D. in the records of the Court of Champagne. For centuries it was a farm cheese with a rind flora that was very often red. Eventually it became known as the "Jewel of the Ile De France" and the "Cheese of Kings". Even the Three Musketeers finished their meals with Brie sprinkled with Burgundy (24).
The Medieval Norse were busy making the cheese we now call Jarlsberg, named for the old estate where Vikings first settled on the Oslo Fjord. The making of this cheese, now widely available, died out for centuries. Its revival is a result of a university project to rediscover the formula. Knut the Great (1016) brought Scandinavian cheesemaking to England. Vikings spread the skill to Normandy and Byzantium via the Volga and Black Sea. The Crusades (1096-1270) introduced new and interesting varieties to Europe and revived the cheese trade in the Mediterranean (25).
The Etruscans developed the recipe for Parmesan cheese. The Romans adopted it because the great wheels traveled so well. By the 10th or 11th century its evolution was pretty well complete. Medieval dairymen poured evening skim milk mixed with morning milk into a large cone shaped copper caldron and heated it over a fire. Rennet, extracted from the stomach of calves, was added and the curds began to separate from the whey. The curd was then cut with a branch of the spiky Bianco Spino tree or a metal tool derived from its shape. At the proper time the caldron was heated further, to approximately 130 F, then removed from the heat. The curd was drained and put in a wooden mold and pressed. Three days later the solidified cheese was soaked in sea salt brine for about a month. Finally the cheese was aged 18 months to three years (26).
Boccaccio, in his Decameron, describes a mountain of finely grated Parmesan cheese in the mythical land of Bengodi. On the top are people who make nothing but macaroni and noodles brewed in capon broth. The pasta is cooked "al dente" and tossed with farm fresh butter before it rolls down the mountain, gathering Parmesan as it goes to its final destination, the open mouths of the citizens below (27).
By the thirteenth century cheese markets seem to have sprung up in many of the trading towns of Europe. The town of Gouda sold its namesake cheese to the English and Scots. The construction of Saint Gotthard Pass in the 13th century opened Italy as a market for the cheese made in the Swiss cantons. In the 15th century Neufchatel, made in the Pays de Bay area near Paris, was purchased by the English merchants for the home Christmas market (28). In Hungary sheeps milk was being sold in a town called Kesmark (cheese market) (29).
In the late 14th and early 15th centuries cookbooks started to reappear, complete with recipes using cheese. Forme of Cury from the time of Richard II of England contains a Brie tart recipe as well as one for Sambocade, a curd tart with egg whites, sugar and elder blooms.
"Take and make a crust in a trape (pie plate) and take a cruddes (curds) and wryng out the wheyze and drawe hem thurgh a stynor. And put in the stynor crustes (make them into crumbs). Do therto sugar, the thridde part and somdel whyte of ayren (eggs) and shake thereinne blomes of elren (elderflower), and bake it up with curose (care) and messe (send) it forth." (30)
The French cookbook of the same period, Le Viandier by Taillevent, recently translated into English by Master Thorvold Grimsson (31), contains a considerable number of Medieval recipes using cheese. There are many soup and stuffing recipes as well as cheese crisps, cheese coated in a batter and deep fried. Many of the recipes call for a "harvest cheese". The assumption is that this cheese was made after the harvest of high fat content milk and sufficently hard that it could be crumbled (32). Most French cheeses today are either fresh or soft cheeses. If we assume that this was true in the Middle Aged also, Cantal, an extremely early member of the Cheddar family, predating Cheddar itself (33), becomes a prime candidate for the "harvest cheese" title. Cantal is still made, and can, occassionly be purchased in the Pacific Northwest. It has been compared to a Colby cheese in color and taste (34).
The recipe that follows is a modernized version of one of the recipes found in Le Viandier.
Norse Pies (35)
1 cup cooked roast; pork, beef or venison, cut pieces the size of peas.
2 Tbsp meat juices or beef stock
1 cup raw beef sirloin, cut pieces the size of peas.
1 tsp bacon fat (Heat fat in skillet on medium high until very hot and stir fry the meat until all the surface redness is gone, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.)
2 Tbsp pine nut paste (chop nuts finely and grind in a mortar)
2 Tbsp moist currants (36)
1 tsp sugar, turbinado or raw sugar would be closer to the original.
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup Cantal, Colby or Cheshire Cheese, cut pieces the size of peas. (37)
The Pastry (38)
11 Tbsp butter (1/4 lbs. + 3 tbsp.) cut in small pieces.
2 cups unbleached flour
1 egg yolk; put yolk in a measuring cup and fill to 1/3 cup with very cold water. Then add an additional 1 Tbsp of water; stir thoroughly.
Blend flour and butter together in a bowl until small particles of equal size are formed. Add the liquid to the flour mixture slowly, stirring with a fork to see that it is evenly distributed. Form dough into two balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour. Roll out on well floured waxed paper with well floured rolling pin. Make 12 - 5 1/2 inch diameter circles.
Mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl. Wet the edge of the pastry circles with a little water. Place filling on one half of a pastry circle and fold over and seal the edge. Place pies on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven 400 F for 15 minutes. Turn down the heat and cook for another 15 minutes at 350 F.
Recipes for making cheese and cheesecake circa 1604 A.D. can be found in Elinor Fettiplace's Receipt Book (39). Gervase Markham's collection of advice for The English Housewife, first published in 1615 A.D., contains an entire chapter titled "of dairies, butter, cheese, and the necessary things belonging to that office". The procedures for making different kinds of cheese are presented, and the care of the cheeselip bag or rennet is very detailed. "For touching the hanging of them (calves stomachs) up in chimney corners, as coarse housewives do, is slutish, naught, and unwholesome..." (40).
One of the most popular cheeses of modern times was developed in Elizabethan England, in a town called Cheddar. Its namesake cheese became the basis for the American cheesemaking industry (41).
The following table is a compilation of the Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance cheeses that are still available. Most of them will not be available everywhere. The best places to shop for the imported varieties are food markets like Pike Place Market in Seattle or Yamhill Market Place in Portland. Any good deli should have a few. Canadians will do much better as they have access to cheeses not imported into the United States, English Cheddar to name one. Imported cheeses are more apt to be made of the authentic Medieval ingredients, especially sheeps' or goats' milk, than their American counterparts. Some cheeses are not true cheeses at all, but made from whey, the liquid remaining after the cheese curd has been removed. Gjetost, a brown, sweetish goat "cheese" from Norway is one of the best examples readily available; and very Medieval. Mixtures of whey and new milk are also used to produce cheeses. Some cheeses, like Ricotta, are made from whey, protein albumen and milk fat in Europe. In this country they are required, by law, to contain a large percentage of milk also, courtesy of the dairy lobby. The cheeses found in the table are listed by the country that corresponds to the area that first produced them (42).
Cheese Country Remarks
Brie France Surface ripened by mold. The favorite of
Louis XII and Henry IV.
Camembert France Perfected by Madam Harelin in Napoleon's
time, but much older. Surface ripened by
mold, soft and runny inside.
Cantal France A high fat cheese of the Cheddar family.
It is believed to date from Roman times.
Gruyere France, Bacteria ripen the interior and produce
Switzer- the gas bubbles that make the holes.
Maroilles France A soft, abbey type cows' milk cheese. It
has been made for at least 1000 years.
Munster France, Soft cheese with an red-orange rind.
Neufchatel France Soft, lightly salted.
Port-Salute France It became popular in the 19th century
when Trappist Monks revived the cheese
Roquefort France The best of the blue cheeses. It is made
from sheeps' milk, and injected with blue
mold before aging in caves.
Saint- France The soft cheese mentioned in the account
Marcellin books of Louis XI in 1461 A.D.
Tommes or France Soft cheese treated with brandy and
Tommes De coated with grape pulp.
Gammelost Norway Brown, with the mold pressed into it.
Gjetost Norway A whey "cheese" made from goats' milk.
Jarlsberg Norway A Swiss type.
Nokkelost Norway A semi-hard, spiced cheese.
Pultost Norway Soft, fresh cheese made from soured skim
milk, known as Ramost or Knaost.
Estrom Denmark Rediscovered monastery cheese.
Skyr Iceland Sheeps' milk cheese, whipped with milk
and sprinkled with sugar. Tastes like a
Cheddar England Renaissance cheese sometimes colored with
saffron, carrot juice or pot marigold
Cheshire England Mentioned in the Doomsday Book. The
white variety is mild and quick starting;
the red (really yellow inside) is mild,
nutty and aged longer; and the blue has
accidental mold and a buttery texture.
Double England Single variety did not survive. Wheels Gloucester
have been rolled down Cooper's Hill one
day a year for centuries.
Wensley England A blue cheese originally made by
Dale Cistercian Monks of Jervaulx and
Fountains Abbeys, both now in ruins.
Edam Nether- From the 13th century.
Gouda Nether- A firm cheese that comes in wheels.
Saint- Belgium Similar to Port-Salut, originally from
Paulin Luxem- the 13th century Monastery of Lesse.
Gesindekase Germany This rennet cheese was made for
Herrenkase Germany A cheese made for the nobility in the
castles of the Teutonic Knights.
Sauermilch Germany A very common non-renneted family of
Appenzell Switzer- This soft cheese, dating from about 1571
land A.D., could only be exported when Swiss
needs were met.
Emmentaler Switzer- A raw milk cheese that became popular in
land the 16th century.
Glarner, Switzer- This semi-hard fatless cheese was made Schabzieger,
land by monks 1000 years ago as a food and as
or Sapsago a medicine.
Sbrinz Switzer- A hard cheese that was exported to Italy
land in the 15th century.
Vacherin Switzer- In the 15th century, this cheese was
land served at banquets in Fribourg.
Pinzgauer Austria A beer cheese that is the specialty of Bierkase
Sauerkase Austria A fresh type cheese with an orange rind.
Caciocavallo Italy A favorite of the Roman Emperor Augustus,
it's kneaded and smoked.
Caprino Italy This is a soft goats' milk cheese.
Gorgonzola Italy A mild blue cheese made from cows' milk.
Grana Padano Italy This Parmesan-like cheese has a lighter
Parmesan Italy A hard Grana type cheese that travels
Pecorino Italy Legend says that Romulus made this
sheeps' milk cheese.
Provolone Italy A kneaded cheese similar to Caciocavallo;
it is sometimes smoked.
Ricotta Italy The real thing is a whey "cheese".
Presukaca Yugo- A kneaded cheese probably introduced by
slavia, the Romans.
Somburski Yugo- This soft cheese has been made by the Sir
slavia, Serbians since the 16th century.
Feta Greece A sheeps' milk cheese that is ripened in
its own brined whey.
Myzithra Greece A "cheese" made from Feta whey and new
milk. Very like a Cottage Cheese when
fresh; can be grated when aged.
Homolsky Czecho- A sour milk cheese from the 10th century.
Olmutzer Czecho- The low fat curd cheese that was the Quargel
slovakia favorite of the Bishop of Moravia nine
Cascaval Rumania This kneaded cheese has been made since
Dobrogea, Roman times.
Erimis Turkey An ancient type of sheeps' milk cheese
Peynir that was sometimes smoked.
All cheese making countries have not been listed, most notably Spain, Finland, and Mongolia. These areas, and other cheese making areas important in the Middle Ages, lack documentation that a specific cheese that is made now, was made then. The U.S.S.R. wiped out its historic cheesemaking industry with the 1917 A.D. Revolution, and the wars and purges that followed. The Middle Eastern countries still make fresh cheeses for home consumption. Japan had cheese in the 7th century. With the arrival of the Portugese traders in the 16th century production started again (43).
The Chinese have never considered milk products fit for human consumption (44).
1. This anecdote appears in at least three separate derivative sources in various forms. In one the writer is Egin De Saint-Gall and the monastery is either Aveyron or Saint-Gall. Both Brie and Roquefort are mentioned as the cheeses presented to Charlemagne. The original story, however, is contained in De Carolo Magno written about 884 A.D. by the Monk of Saint Gall, Notker Balbulus, The Stammerer. He does not mention the name of the monastery or the cheese. The Latin word "aerugo", literally translated as "the rust of copper", is the word used to describe the cheese's imperfection. Brie partisans translate this as "skin" for the outer coat of mold the Brie possesses. The blue-green mold of the Roquefort, however, more closely resembles "rusty copper" and is the translation I have chosen. Two Lives of Charlemagne, p. 107; On Food and Cooking, p. 37.
2. Completely Cheese, p. 1.
3. The place name is also spelled Al-'Ubaid. A photo of a portion of the limestone frieze is shown in color on p. 28 of Peoples and Places of the Past. Completely Cheese, p. 2; The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 8.
4. Completely Cheese, p. 2.
5. Old Testament, King James Version, Job 10:10.
6. Old Testament, King James Version, I Samuel 17:18&19.
7. Completely Cheese, p. 3.
8. On Food and Cooking, p. 4.
9. Completely Cheese, p. 2.
10. Completely Cheese, p. 2.
11. I happen to like the dry curd version with mint topped with Damson plum jam. The British Museum Cookbook, p. 32.
12. Completely Cheese, p. 3.
13. Completely Cheese, p. 4.
14. Completely Cheese, p. 4.
15. The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 118.
16. The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 118.
17. The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 118.
18. The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 206.
19. Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome, p. 93, 174.
20. The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 46.
21. Completely Cheese, p. 7.
22. Completely Cheese, p. 7.
23. Completely Cheese, p. 8.
24. The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 92.
25. The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 38, 11.
26. The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 120, "King Parmesan", p. 96, 97.
27. The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 120, "King Parmesan", p. 96.
28. The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 66, 104, 82.
29. The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 141.
30. For the old versions that appeared in Forme of Cury as well as modern recipes try To the King's Taste, p. 48, 49, 102, 103.
31. Le Viandier Taillevent is one of the few Medieval cookbooks currently in print. According to the June 1988 issue of The Crier it lists for $8 plus $1.25 postage (U.S.)funds and can be obtained from Alfarhaugr Publishing Society, 1908 Oak Street, Eugene, Oregon, 97405.
32. Le Viandier Taillevent, p. 53. In the additions and corrections flyer accompanying this reference (dated May 11, 1988) is this notation: " harvest cheese Chiquart explicitly names Brie (Scully)". This refers to Chiquart's, On Cookery, and in fact the book mentions Brie twice (p.50,78): "Then get a quintal (120 lbs) of the very best Crampone cheese, or Brie cheese, or the very best cheese that can be had ...". The second entry in almost identical to the first. In neither is the term "harvest cheese" mentioned. Also, the definition of Crampone is never given. If the original definition of "harvest cheese" is still meaningful, Brie would not seem to qualify, as its texture is not "sufficiently hard that it could be crumbled". Cantal still sounds like a good candidate.
33. The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 89, 93; The Cheese Buyer's Handbook, p. 47.
34. Colby is not a "Cheddarded" cheese, however. The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 154,
35. Chiquart's, On Cookery, a Fifteenth-Century Savoyard culinary treatise, has a recipe for "Norse Pastries" also, but the recipe that follows it, "Rissoles", more closely resembles the one found in Le Viandier Taillevent for "Norse Pies" than the "Norse Pastries" does.
36. Websters New Collegiate Dictionary lists two types of currants. One type, a small seedless raisen grown in the Levant (and California), is readily available to American households. Most supermarkets carry the bright orange box from Sun-Maid labeled Zante Currants. The other type, the acid, edible fruit of the genus Ribes is very popular in Europe and especially England. It is probably the one originally used in the "Norse Pies" recipe. For baking, the black variety is preferred over the red, and English pastry cooks produce delicious currant pies, Eccles Cakes, and currant and custard tarts. Currant bushes are often an illegal plant in forested areas of the United States because they harbor White Pine Blister Rust, as do Gooseberries, a close relative of the currant. I have a plant in a half whiskey barrel on my patio. It is in its second year and produced a pint of dried currants this summer. I tried them in the "Norse Pie" recipe and found that slightly more sugar was required than when I used the Zante Currants. Black currant bushes may be ordered from Raintree Nursery, 391 Butts Rd., Morton, Washington,98356.
37. I was unable to get Cantal, though I still have hopes. I made several batches of this recipe trying Colby, Cheshire, Double Gloucester, and New York Smokey Sharp Cheddar. These all turned out slightly sweet, as, I am assuming the original intended. I also tried the recipe using a young (not blue) Wesley Dale, Mt. Capra Natural Raw Goat Cheese, and Feta. These all imparted a slightly sour taste. Lastly, I tried a French Roquefort. The pies turned out very juicy but suitable only for a Roquefort lover; but then I guess I am one.
38. This pie crust recipe is a modified version of one from To the Queen's Taste, p. 113. The original source is a cook book from 1588 A.D., The Good Huswives Handmaid for Cookerie. The dough will take a lot of manipulation and still stay somewhat flakey.
39. Elinor Fettiplace's Recipe Book, p. 100-103, 114, 115.
40. The English Housewife, p. 166-179.
41. Completely Cheese, p. 9.
42. Entries in this table are almost exclusively from The World Atlas of Cheese. This book, published in 1976, is most probably out of print, but is worth a trip to the library.
43. The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 187.
44. The World Atlas of Cheese, p. 186.
Apicius; Vehling, Joseph Dommers, editor and translator; Cooking and Dining in Imperial Rome; Dover Publications, Inc.; New York; 1977.
Berriedale-Johnson, Michelle; The British Museum Cookbook; British Museum Publications; London; 1987.
Chiquart; Scully, Terence, editor and translator; Chiquart's on Cookery; Peter Lang; New York; 1986.
Eekhof-Stork, Nancy; Bailey, Adrian, editor; The World Atlas of Cheese; Paddington Press Ltd.; 1976.
Einhard; Notker the Stammerer; Thorpe, Lewis, translator; Two Lives of Charlemagne; Penguin Books; Baltimore; 1969.
Fried, Eunice; "King of the Blues"; Connoisseur Magazine, April, 1985.
Fried, Eunice; "King Parmesan"; Connoisseur Magazine, September, 1986.
Holy Bible; National Bible Press, Philadelphia.
Markham, Gervase; The English Housewife; McGill-Queen's University Press; Kingston and Montreal; 1986.
McGee, Harold; On Food and Cooking; Charles Scribner's Sons; New York; 1984.
O'Keefe, Daniel; The Cheese Buyer's Handbook; McGraw-Hill Book Company; New York; 1978.
Pearl, Anita May; Completely Cheese, The Cheeselover's Companion; Jonathan David Publishers; Middle Village, New York; 1978.
People and Places of the Past; National Geographic Society; Washington; 1983.
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Sass, Lorna J.; To the King's Taste; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; New York; 1975.
Sass, Lorna J.; To the Queen's Taste; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; New York; 1976.
Spurling, Hilary; Elinor Fettiplace's Receipt Book; Elisabeth Sifton Books; Viking; New York; 1986.
Tirel, Guillaume; Prescott, James, translator; Le Viandier Taillevent; Alfarhaugr Publishing Society, Inc.; Eugene, Oregon; 1987.
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Copyright 1989 by Marcia J. Monthey, 1454 Selah Court, Richland, WA 99352. <monferret at yahoo.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.
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If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.