DYKIP-Veg-Frt-art - 6/2/09
"Did You Know It's Period? Part 2 - Vegetables and Fruits" by HL Rowan Houndskeeper.
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
This article was first published in "The Barge", the newsletter of the Barony of Three Rivers, Calontir.
Did You Know it's Period? Part II: Vegetables and Fruits
by HL Rowan Houndskeeper
Continuing the previous article's discussion on medieval foods that are easy, tasty, and actually very "modern", in Part II we cover recipes for several vegetable and fruit dishes.
There are two main things to remember about fruits and vegetables in period cooking.
1) Unless dried, pickled, or otherwise preserved, fruits and vegetables were only available seasonally. There was no fresh asparagus in the winter or fresh peach pie in the spring.
2) New World plants were not available for most of our period.
A few New World items started to appear (usually as "novelty" foods) on the menus of the rich in the late medieval/renaissance period, but before 1492 they were not available at all in Europe. So make sure that the fruits and vegetables you select are all European, Asian, or other Old World varieties. New World vegetables to be wary of include corn (maize), potatoes, tomatoes, peppers (the hot or sweet varieties of the Capsicum genus), and most of our common bean varieties (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaseolus" title=Phaseolus>Phaseolus genus including lima, butter, navy, kidney, black, pinto, and the standard french green bean P. vulgaris). Confusion can occur because Europeans used words such as corn, peppers, green beans, etc., in their recipes, but they weren't referring to the same plants that we as Americans use these words for today.
The nursury rhyme "peas porage hot, peas porage coldÉ" may be Victorian, but peas were a common vegetable dish in Europe during our period, with numerous recipes available. This is perhaps a little looser of a redaction than some of the previous recipes we presented - the original suggests that this dish may have been more of a pottage of mashed peas (due to the "boil them till they burst" line in the original recipe). This would produce a dish similar to some modern English methods of serving "mushy" peas as a side to roast beef.
Applesauce seems to be another one of those extremely common recipes across European cultures. Some of the recipes are quite simple, such as the Koge Bog (Danish 1616) recipe that basically calls for diced apples to be boiled with sugar. Others are more complex like the Vivendier (French 15th c.) recipe that calls for the apples to be sauted in butter after they have been boiled – in effect cooking the apples twice. In addition, while many of the period recipes, such as those presented here, are quite similar to the modern recipe for fresh applesauce, there are other period applesauce recipes that might seem very odd to the modern diner. An example of this type is the Wel ende edelike spijse (Dutch 15th c.) recipe for "Applesauce in Lent" that calls for fish liver as one of the ingredients.
I leave it to you to experiment with your own redactions of the Danish and French applesauce recipes presented here (below) to see if you believe them to be different enough from the English recipe that you might like them better.
Like applesauce and peas, there are a large number of period salad recipes from nearly every culture across our time period, most of which seem to call for an oil and vinegar dressing. The basic redaction for all of these recipes boils down to take what leaf lettuce and other greens you have (such as spinach, cress, endive, or mustard), add fresh herbs (such as mint, parsley, thyme, or sage), and sometimes add nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, or pine nuts) or fruit (such as raisins, oranges, or lemons) or possibly other vegetables (such as cucumbers or pea pods), or add hard boiled eggs or cheese, or even flowers (organic editable varieties only – and make sure they have not been exposed to pesticides), then dress your salad with a simple vinaigrette. Of course, this is pretty much how we make salads today. For comparison against the Form of Cury (English 14th c.) recipe above, I've included three other period recipes for you to play with. But in the end, salad is salad, whether medieval or modern.
Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century (Including the Forme of Cury). Hieatt, Constance B. and Sharon Butler. The Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, 1985.
Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. Austin, Thomas. The Early English Text Society by N. Trbner & Co., 1888.
Koge Bog: Containing a hundred useful pieces, which are about brewing, baking, cooking, aquavit and mead to make, as is useful in house holding &c. which before not in our Danish Language is issued in print. Printed in Copenhagen, by Salomone Sartorio, 1616. Translated by M. Forest at www.forest.gen.nz/Medieval/articles/cooking/1616.html
The Vivendier: A Fifteenth-Century French Cookery Manuscript. Scully, Terence. Prospect Books. 1998. via website at http://recipes.medievalcookery.com/applemuse.html
Platina. On Honest Indulgence (De Honesta Voluptatae). A little work on foods and honest indulgence by the very learned man Platina: Printed with the work and care of Father Laurentius de Aguila for the Distinguished Duke Peter Mocenicus. Venice, 1475. Evans, Susan J. Falconwood Press. 1989.
The Good Housewifes's Jewel. by Thomas Dawson, 1596. with an introduction by Maggie Black. Southover Press. 1996.
Wel ende edelike spijse: manuscript UB Gent 1035. translated by Christianne Muusers at http://www.coquinaria.nl/kooktekst/Edelikespijse0.htm
Copyright 2008 by Teresa Roberts, 9900 Juniper Ct. St Louis MO 63123. <tkroberts at toast.net>. 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.
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.