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whale-meat-msg – 2/2/10


Use of whale meat in period. Recipes. Substitutions.


NOTE: See also the files: whales-msg, fish-msg, salmon-msg, horse-recipes-msg, pickled-meats-msg, fish-pies-msg, exotic-meats-msg, eels-msg, frogs-msg, blood-dishes-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: Mon,  6 Dec 2004 11:38:47 -0600

From: "ysabeau" <ysabeau at mail.ev1.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks]Whale/Porpoise meat

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


I work for a Japanese company so I just turned around and asked a

couple of co-workers. They said whale meat is really tough and

stringy. They likened it to brisket as far as texture and

toughness. I'm not sure how that correlates to the description

below. They said it is usually served in thin strips because it is

so tough. One of them said it has more of a "sweetish/sour" taste

than beef. They both said they didn't like it and that it needs to

be cooked for a long time in a sauce.



Barony of Bryn Gwlad




---------- Original Message ----------------------------------

From: Jeff Elder <scholari at verizon.net>

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

Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2004 11:32:29 -0600


> Another Article about whale meat:

> http://observer.guardian.co.uk/foodmonthly/story/0,9950,547250,00.html

> and an excerpt on flavor from same article:

> Syotaro Akiyama, a photographer from south Japan, is a vocal

advocate of eating whales since he first tried it in the 1960s in

a sushi restaurant. He wrote: 'I placed it in my mouth, chewed it

three times and it just melted and spread through my whole mouth

flavouring the rice. As I swallowed it, the taste was better than

the richest cut of blue fin tuna. I still remember thinking how

could anything taste this delicious? Heated through, it tastes

like meat; uncooked it is like fish.' But the powerful flavour is

not to everyone's taste. 'I hated it at school - we always used to

have it with lots of ginger to hide the taste and make it

palatable. I wouldn't go near it now,' said my Japanese guide.

> Simon Hondy



Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2004 14:01:19 -0500

From: Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks]

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


> Anyone have any idea of what to replace Porpoise with?  I have no personal

> desire to cook that particular animal. Redoing one of the Henry`s wedding

> feast in April and its on the menu.


Venison. Someone from period writes that you use porpoise on fast days

to replace venison... so the reverse would also be true, I expect.


-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at fiedlerfamily.net  



Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2004 13:58:14 -0700

From: James Prescott <prescotj at telusplanet.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks]

To: jenne at fiedlerfamily.net, Cooks within the SCA

      <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


At 14:01 -0500 2004-12-06, Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise wrote:

>>  Anyone have any idea of what to replace Porpoise with?  I have no  

>> personal desire to cook that particular animal. Redoing one of the Henry`s  

>> wedding feast in April and its on the menu.

>  Venison. Someone from period writes that you use porpoise on fast days

>  to replace venison... so the reverse would also be true, I expect.


Viandier has an indirect reference to this.  In recipe 144 Porpoise

we have "Split it along the back, cook it in water, and slice it into

strips like venison."  This does not prove that venison was a suitable

alternative, but does suggest that the possibility was in the mind of

the author.


On the other hand, the venison recipes in Viandier are not particularly

similar to the porpoise recipe.


In Chiquart Scully says in a footnote "The Venison of Dolphin is a

dish made simply by preparing this fish according to the standard

recipe for large game meat"; and there is a recipe for Fresh Dolphin

and a recipe for Salted Dolphin.  In the latter recipe we have the

explicit "It is served, in place of venison, with rice."





Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2004 20:49:37 -0600

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks]

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


> Anyone have any idea ofwhat to replace Porpoise with?  I have no personal

> desire to cook that particular animal. Redoing one of the Henry`s wedding

> feast in April and its on the menu.

> Da


Does the menu specifically call for porpoise or dolphin?   Corypheana

hippurus is found worldwide and has been referred to as dolphin for a long

time (along with porpoises and other critters).  You may know it better by

its Hawaiian name, mahi-mahi.





Date: Tue, 07 De 2004 09:08:47 -0500

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

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Porpoise recipes

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


The 15th  century Beinecke recipe collection at Yale

which was published as An Ordinance of Pottage by Hieatt contains

porpoise recipes. Number 26 is Numbelys of purpas or of

other fish; number 27 is Purpays yn galenteyn and number

28is Purpays or venyson in broth.


So even in the actual English texts you have in recipe 26 subsituting

"venison," "codlying, congir, and of other gode fyssh also."

Number 28 says: "make venyson in broth in the same manner."


Thorvald already noted that this was the practice in

some of the French manuscripts, so substitution was apparently

commonly done. Hieatt again suggests that they ate

porpoise in Lent and venison or beef in the recipe



Johnnae llyn Lewis



Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 07:37:42 -0800

From: David Walddon <david at vastrepast.com>

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Whale meat


I believe that there are a few articles on Whale meat in PPC and in the

Oxford Symposium papers. I do not have access to the index at the moment but check there as well as Davidson.




On 1/19/10 7:30 AM, "Vandy J. Simpson" <vsimpson at gto.net> wrote:

<<< So tell me, does anyone have any favoured recipes for whale? I'm primarily

interested in early period/Norse food, but realize that in that case I could

probably just throw bits in kettle over the fire. I think I'd like to optimize

this one time experience!


I understand there are probably some 'traditional' Norwegian recipes, but

thus far I'm only finding vague hints.


Mortraeth, Ealdormere / Vandy, Ontario, Canada >>>



Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 09:21:50 -0700

From: edoard at medievalcookery.com

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Whale meat


A quick medieval cookbook search turned up only two references to whale:


On a fish day, when the peas are cooked, you should have onions which

have been cooked as long as the peas in a pot and like the bacon cooked

separately in another pot, and as with the bacon water you may nourish

and serve the peas, in the same way; on fish days, when you have put

your peas on the fire in a pot, you must put aside your minced onions in

another pot, and with onion water serve and nourish the peas; and when

all is cooked fry the onions and put half of them in the peas, and the

other half in the liquid from the peas of which I spoke above, and then

add salt, And if on this fish day or in Lent there is salted whale-meat,

you must do with the whale-meat as with the bacon on a meat day.

[Le Menagier de Paris]


GRASPOIS This is salted whale, and should be sliced raw and cooked in

water like bacon; and serve with peas.

[Le Menagier de Paris]


Maybe if you have enough you can salt some of it.  ;-)


- Doc



Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 15:24:16 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Whale meat


Nanna mentions whale meat in her book

Icelandic Food & Cookery.


There really aren't any surviving early period Norse recipes of any  

sort. The latest TI which arrived today talks about Norse foods.


There are traditional recipes for whale meat.



Apparently they also ate whale meat during WWII in Britain and there were recipes created then because no one knew what to do with it. Those might be findable.





Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 13:33:27 -0800 (PST)

From: H Westerlund-Davis <yaini0625 at yahoo.com>

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Whale meat


Trying to get whale meat in the U.S. will be impossible to get. Tried it, even with my Systr-in law living in Iceland. Only a few countries actually still serve whale and even horse.


Jo's Icelandic Recipes have both modern and period recipes for Icelandic diets, including whale.  Binky whale has a very nice mild and gentle taste with the texture of Coby beef.


Iceland is like a frozen time capsule for all things Viking, including the language.


Whale recipe: http://icecook.blogspot.com/2006/08/how-to-cook-whale.html


Aelina the Saami....still looking for a good Skyr recipe.



Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 13:49:12 -0800 (PST)

From: emilio szabo <emilio_szabo at yahoo.it>

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: [Sca-cooks] whale meat and whaling


Not what you were asking for, but maybe providing background for culinary uses.


De Smet, W.M.A. (1981):

Evidence of Whaling in the North Sea and English Channel during the Middle Ages.

In: Mammals in the Seas. Volume III: General papers and large cetaceans. Rome, 301-309.


It's available at books.google.com




<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