Lrds-Salt-Exp-art – 6/10/05
"LordÕs Salt Experiment" by Lady Hauviette dÕAnjou.
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:
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.
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
"LordÕs Salt Experiment"
by Lady Hauviette dÕAnjou
The source of these recipes are: The Icelandic Miscellany (15th C),
Danish Manuscript-Codex K (late 13thC)and Danish Manuscript-Codex Q (14th C). The translation is by Nanna Rognvaldardottir.
Recipe no. 6:
Quomodo temperetur salsum dominorum et quam diu durabit. Geroforsnagla skal
taka. ok muskat cardemomium pipar. canel. ingifer. sitt jūmn vūge af hveriu.
utan canel. skal vera jafn þycktt vid alltt hitt annath ok svo micit steiktt
braud sem alltt þat er fyr er sagtt. ok skera þat alltt saman. ok mala með
stercku ediki. ok lata j legil. þat er þeirra sals ok um eitt misseri.*
*The scribe has erased "mi" from misseri and written "ar" (year)
How to make a sauce for lords and how many days it keeps. Take cloves and
nutmeg, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, an equal weight of each, except
the cinnamon, which should be as much as all the others, and as much fried
bread as all the above, and cut it all together and crush it with strong
vinegar, and put in a cask. This is their sauce and is good for half a
Danish manuscript, Codex K:
Quomodo temperetur salsum dominorum et quam diu durat. Man skal takū gŋrfūrs
naghlū. oc muscat. cardemomum. pipūr. cinamomum thūt ūr kaniūl. oc ingifūr.
allū iūfn wūghnū. tho swa at kaniūl ūr ūm mykūt sum allū hinū andrū. oc slyk
tu stekt brŋth sum allū hinū andrū. oc stŋt thūm allū samūn. oc malū mūth
stūrk ūdykū oc latū .i. en leghūl. Thūt ūr hūrrū salsū. oc ūr goth et halft
How to make a sauce for lords and how many days it keeps. Take cloves, and
nutmeg, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, that is canel, and ginger, an equal
weight of each, but the cinnamon should be as much as all the other spices,
and also fried bread twice as much as all the rest. Crush it all together,
and grind with strong vinegar and put into a cask. This is lordŦs sauce
and is good for six months.
Danish manuscript, Codex Q:
Mūn sculū takū gūrofūrs naghlū, muscat pipūr. oc ingifūr. af hwūr therū ūm
mykūt af cinamomum. ūssū the ūrū allū samūn. oc tysū ūmmykūt af hwith
brŋthū. stūkt ūssū thūt ūr alt oc stŋthū thūt samūn mūth ūddik. thennū
salsū haldū mūn goth i eth halft aar i en lūghlū.
Take cloves, nutmeg, pepper and ginger, an equal amount of each, and as much
cinnamon as all the others, and twice as much white bread, fried as it is
whole, and pound this together with vinegar. This keeps well for six months
in a cask.
Recipe no. 7
Quomodo condiantur assature in salso supra dicto. Þat sem madur vill af
þessu salse hafa þa skal hann vella j ponnu vel a glodum branda lausum.
Sidan skal madur taka villi brad af hirti ūda ra. ok specka vel. ok
steikina. ok skerra þat vel brentt ok j þann tima sem salset er kalltt. þa
skal þetta þar slūggiaz med. littlu salltti. þa ma liggia um þriar vikur.
Sva ma madur leinge verd veita. gūs endur. ok adrar villibradir. ef hann
sker þūr þunnar. þetta er betzta sals er herra menn hafa.
How to use the above sauce. Take what you want to use of this sauce and boil
it in a pan on hot embers without flame. Then take some game, hart or roe,
and lard it well, and roast it, and cut it well burned*, and when the sauce
is cold, then place the meat in it with a little salt. Then it can be kept
for three weeks. In this way geese, ducks and other game can be kept for a
long time, if cut thin. This is the best sauce that the lords have.
The original says "brentt", burned, but that is probably an error - the
Danish text has "brethū", broad, thick.
Danish, Codex K:
Quomodo condiantur assature in salso supradicto.
Thavūr man wil af hūnnū hauū. tha skal man wūllū hūnnū wūl .i. en pannū ofnū
hetū glŋthūr utūn brandū. oc skal man takū brathū af hiort ūllūr ra. wūl
spūkkūth oc stekū them wūl. oc skūrū them wūl brethū. oc thūn timū thūn
salsū ūr kald tha skal wildbrath .i. lūggūs mūth litūlt salt oc thūt ma
lygge thre ukū. Swa mughū man haldū goth hiortū brath. giūs oc ūndūr. of
man skūR them thiokkū. thūttū ūr the būstū salsū thūr herrūmūn hauū.
How to make use of the above sauce. When you want to use some of it, then
boil it well in a pan on hot embers without flame. And take a steak of hart
or deer, well larded, and cut into thick slices. And when the sauce is cold,
then place the game in it with a little salt and it can be kept there for
three weeks. In this way one can preserve steaks of hart, geese and ducks,
if cut thick. This is the best sauce that the lords have.
Danish, Codex Q:
Wilū mūn syltū thūr nokūt i. tha latū thūt wūllū. oc sithūn thūt ūr full
kalt tha skulū mūn stūkt wild brath kalt hiort ra. gaas. ūth annūn wild
bradh. skorūth i stykki lūggū thūrū i mūth lit salt. thūn sylt mughū mūn
gŋmū thre vkū.
If you want to pickle something in it, then let it boil, and when it is
quite cold, then place in it fried game, cold hart, roe, geese or other
game, cut into pieces and placed in the sauce with a little salt. This
can be kept for three weeks.
My Recipe Recreation
In approaching this recipe I wanted to make a large enough quantity that
I could use it as a "shelf item" and have the combined ingredients to
keep on hand for future use. As such I began with a fair quantity of
Cinnamon Zeylanicum (the recipe specifies canel) and using a metric
scale for accuracy, I weighed out the Cinnamon first to obtain the total
weight that all of the other spices should be combined. The recipes ask
for "an equal amount of each, but the cinnamon should be as much as all
the rest". In this my dilemma was should my measurements be mass or
volume. I chose mass and my reasoning is that most recipes are a
prescription in their origin (see the definition of "recipe") and as
such the ingredients would have been obtained in weighted amounts. The
volume of say ground nutmeg Vs cloves is substantially different and as
such only weight would give me equal amounts of each. My justification
for using grams in my experiment was that the scale I have is electronic
and can convert to either metric or imperial, however when using ounces
the scale can be out by as much a .2 of an ounce, but would only be out
by 1gm at the most. I have converted the quantities for those who do not
have access to a metric measurement, but would suggest that when buying
the ingredients that you simply buy in said quantities instead of trying
to determine the quantities in dry measure. This will ensure fresh
spices are used which may be instrumental in the preservative aspect of
this recipe although there is argument that the spices used in the
middle ages would have had a diminished strength due to the time spent
in travel and the adulteration by middle men. Finally, I have rounded
off the measurement to imperial since 1 ounce is equal to 28.35 grams
and my quantities of the spices were only 31g (greater than an ounce by
Base ingredients: combine the following dry ingredients and use 1 cup to
3.5 cups vinegar per recipe
Cloves 31g or 1 ounce Ginger 31g or 1 ounce
Nutmeg 31g or 1 ounce Pepper 31g or 1 ounce
Cardamom 31g or 1 ounce Cinnamon 186g or 5 ounces
Pepper 31g or 1 ounce
Bread crumbs 372g or 1.37 lb. (22 ounces)
Red Wine Vinegar 3.5 cups
1.5 LB of venison steak (I preferred a roast, but steak was all that was
2 TB lard
1 tsp. salt
Grind the spices and combine with the bread crumbs. Using a pestle,
grind the dry ingredients together to ensure the crumbs are well
inundated with the spices. Add the vinegar and further mash the contents
of the bowl.
Pour the spice/bread crumb/vinegar combination into a sauce pan and
place over low heat. Stirring regularly, bring to a full boil for 1.5 to
2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool thoroughly.
Meanwhile, remove any fat from the venison and spread lard over the
surface. Place in an oven proof dish, into the oven at 350 degrees for
35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Using a shallow covered dish, pour half of the cooled spice mixture into
it. Place the meat on top of this and then pour the remaining sauce over
the meat, making sure that it is well covered. Put the dish in a cool,
dry place (this dish is meant to be a preserved meat )and keep for up to
three weeks (although there are a few people who have kept it for
months and attest that it is perfectly safe I have yet to determine
The Codex K and Codex Q state that the amount of bread crumbs "fried
Bread" should be "twice as much as all the rest" as opposed to the
Icelandic Manuscript requiring "as much fried bread as all the others".
I chose to follow the earlier manuscripts and totaled the weight of all
spices and doubled it for the amount of bread crumbs.
The issue of "strong vinegar" was discussed on the SCA Cooks list and I
was advised to purchase a 7% vinegar that would be particularly strong
and seemed to fit the recipes requirement (it calls for "strong
vinegar"). However, I had been part of other discussions regarding
making your own vinegarÕs as opposed to using commercially produced
varieties and an unscientific conclusion was reached that since
vinegarÕs would have been used fairly soon after inception and having
been made using a suspected weaker "mother of vinegar" then the acidity
level would have been lower than what we have available as the average
vinegar today. As such, and considering I was unable to locate any
vinegarÕs with an acidity level higher that 5%, I used a common red wine
vinegar with a 5% acidity level. Red Wine vinegar was chosen as the best
accompaniment to game. The quantity of dry ingredients to vinegar was 1
cup dry to 3.5 cups vinegar. Anything less than 3 cups of liquid
produced a gel like mass that was almost impossible to bring to a boil.
The added .5 cup was to ensure coverage of the meat in the dish and to
account for the thickening of the product during cooking.
I combined the dry ingredients in a medium sized metal bowl and ground
the ingredients together as much as was possible using a pestle . Taking
1 cup of the dry ingredients and pouring in 3.5 cups of vinegar I
mashed the contents further. This sauce was then slowly brought to boil
on low heat stirring regularly to prevent scorching. The recipe directs
you to "take what you want of this sauce and boil it in a pan on hot
embers without flame" hence, the temperature was kept at 3 on the dial
of an electric stove.
I was lucky to have venison available to me although not in a roast but
steaks. The lady who translated the recipes, states that the word
"stekae" actually means roast, not steak and is probably the root for
the English word for steak. Since the roast is then further cut into
"thick slices", I felt it sufficient to follow the spirit of the recipe
using pre-sliced roasts. Not using a roast may have an effect on the
texture of the meat in the end, since the centre and edges of the meat
would cook simultaneously as opposed to varying times. In order to
compensate to some degree I folded the steaks into a larger "piece" of
meat and roasted them as such. Upon initial tasting, we found the
venison to be on the dry side, as the sauce had yet to penetrate the
meat. The next trial will be 5 days post the construction of the dish.
A modern analysis of the spices used in this dish
According to The Complete New Herbal, by Richard Mabey, Penguin Books:
Cinnamon bark oil is antibacterial, inhibiting E.coli, Staphylococcus
aureus and thrush (Candida albicans)
Cloves are strongly antiseptic due to the high percent of phenols.
Black Pepper stimulates the taste buds and helps promote gastric
Secretions. In addition, I believe there is some research out there that
says it is also a preservative of foods.
The Complete Medicinal Herbal, Penelope Ody tells us that:
Nutmeg is carminative (relieves flatulence, digestive colic and gastric
discomfort), is a digestive stimulant and antispasmodic, prevents
vomiting, appetite stimulant, anti inflammatory and is used as
digestive remedy especially for food poisoning. Used in large doses
(7.5g or more in a single dose) is dangerous producing convulsions and
Cardamom is antispasmodic, carminative and a digestive stimulant.
Ginger is a circulatory stimulant, relaxes peripheral blood vessel,
promotes sweating, expectorant, prevents vomiting, antispasmodic,
Copyright 2000 by Channon Mondoux, 6924 Angling Road, Portage Mi 49024. <channonmondoux at yahoo.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.
To view more of Channon MondouxÕs work go to her website: http://www.rencuisine.com">www.rencuisine.com or email her at: info at rencuisine.com
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.