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no-fire-cook-msg - 6/9/00


Period no-fire and solar cooking.


NOTE: See also the files: ovens-msg, iron-pot-care-msg, drying-foods-msg, fried-foods-msg, meat-smoked-msg, breadmaking-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, 3 Nov 1997 17:21:33 +1100 (EST)

From: Charles McCN <charlesn at sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>

Subject: SC - no-fire cooking


From my current pet source - Hieatt & Jones in Speculum v61 # 4 (1986) pp

859 - 882.


To cook without fire, put your pot inside another (A kind of double

boiler, I guess) and put water and slaked lime in the outer pot, seal,

and wait 'for the time it takes to walk six or seven leagues'. Your stew

will be done.





Date: Mon, 9 Feb 1998 11:34:53 SAST-2

From: "Ian van Tets" <IVANTETS at botzoo.uct.ac.za>

Subject: SC - cooking without fire, among others


Master - Gaius? (are we supposed to attach a title to a

cognomen, which is after all a nickname?) - I asked ages ago about

haybox cookery and you responded with a late period source which used

hot water and a blanket for heating the mash when brewing, for which

I remain extremely grateful.  I have just found this:


Cooking without fire.  Instructions for cooking meat without fire.

Take a small earthenware pot, with an earthenware lid which must be

as wide as the pot;  then take another pot of the same earthenware,

with a lid like that of the first;  this pot is to be deeper than the

first by five fingers, and wider in circumference by three; then

take pork and hens and cut into fair-sized pieces, and take fine

spices and add them, and salt;  take the small pot with the meat in

it and place it upright in the large pot;  cover it with the lid and

stop it with moist, clayey earth, so that nothing may escape;  then

take unslaked lime, and fill the large pot with water, ensuring that

no water enters the smaller pot;  let it stand for the time it takes

to walk between five and seven leagues, and then open your pots, and

you will find your food indeed cooked.

(Two Anglo-Norman Culinary Collections - this one BL Add 32085 -

Hieatt and Jones, Speculum 61/4, 1986)


I think this is pretty amazing.  It's not actually relying on

conserving already created heat, as I read it, but on the heat

produced by the addition of the lime to the water.  And then, of

course, you have lots of limey water to play with afterwards.  The

MS, according to Hieatt and Jones, contains nothing later than

documents from early in the reign of Edward 1 (1272-1307).






Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 06:48:28 -0600 (CST)

From: L Herr-Gelatt and J R Gelatt <liontamr at ptd.net>

Subject: SC - Solar Cooking in period????


Hi Folks!


No, I have not lost my gourd: It's a serious question. Are there any

references to solar cooking in period? I ran across the following, which

quite clearly states that the SUN was to do the drying/cooking of the dough

(btw this is one of my favorite dishes, and my kids request leftovers in the

lunch box the next day. I read it with fresh eyes yesterday and was struck

by the solar cooking bit. Redaction is available if you really want it.):


>From The Goode Huswife's Jewel by Thomas Dawson, 1596:

To Make Apple Moyse


Roste your apples, and when they be rosted, pill and straind them into a

dish, and pare a dozen of apples and cut them into a chafer, and put in a

little white wine and a little butter, and let them boil till they be as

soft as Pap, and stirre them a little, and straine them to some wardens

rosted and pilled and put in some Suger, Synamon, and Ginger, **and make

Diamonds of Paste, and lay them in the Sunne**, then scrape a little Suger

uppon them in the dish.


This raises all sorts of interesting WAR COOKING questions. Unfortunately, I

still have snow in front of my house and a cloudy forecast for the next few

days. Has anyone tried cooking the pastry this way? Can anyone in a warm

climate try it? I think the dough will have to be rolled VERY thin in order

for it to work in a timely fashion. Do we need shiny baking sheets or

dark-coated ones? I am fairly sure that solar ovens (which would do the

baking in about 20 minutes, regardless of climate)are a modern invention...I

was researching them for a child at the library last month. How would this

differ from results in a normal oven (puffing, browning, etc).


Curiosity killed the cat, etc....





Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 06:59:15 EST


Subject: Re: SC - Solar Cooking in period????


Here's a solar reference for y'all.


>From De Re Rustica, by Columella in AD 60:


"Take rainwater kept for several years, and mix a sextarius of this water with

a pound of honey.  For a weaker mead, mix a sextarius of water with nine

ounces of honey.  The whole is exposed to the sun for 40 days, and then left

on a shelf near the fire.  If you have no rain water, then boil spring water."


Walk in peace,




Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 08:42:07 -0800 (PST)

From: "Mike C. Baker" <kihe at rocketmail.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Solar Cooking in period????


- ---L Herr-Gelatt and J R Gelatt <liontamr at ptd.net> wrote:

> No, I have not lost my gourd: It's a serious question. Are there any

> references to solar cooking in period?



I believe there are plenty of incidental references -- most dried

meats / fruits / fish which were not also being smoked, for example.


Yeah, technically some of the fish were more air&freeze dried than

solar-dessicated ... but even in Scandinavian / Icelandic regions

there are some solar effects.


Recent mention on this list of the North African / Arabic "eggs in a

sealed pot with onionskins" I believe described a "traditional" as

opposed to an "original" method of preparation. (check prior traffic

for details: essentially, sealed pot with water,eggs,onions)


I'm not sufficiently well-read in the surviving cookbooks / recipes,

beyond what I've gleaned from watching here, to speak at greater



Adios -- Amra / Pax ... Kihe / TTFN -- Mike

(al-Sayyid) Amr ibn Majid al-Bakri al-Amra  /

Kihe Blackeagle (the Dreamsinger Bard) /



Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 13:47:31 -0500

From: "marilyn traber" <mtraber at email.msn.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Solar Cooking in period????


eggs in onion skins is

beid hamine' and is a desert nomad dish, one burying the pot most of the way

in hot sand and letting it sit for the day. turns the eggs brown from the

dye inherent in the onion skins, and leaves an almost imperceptible onion

taste where the shells have slightly cracked when simmered[if you do it on a

range where the heat is higher than in the sand]




Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 00:30:25 -0400

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

Subject: SC - unusual cooking methods?


Ian van Tets (or was it Cairistiona?) wrote:


> What about unusual cooking methods?  The Anglo-Norman Culinary

> collection refers to cooking in a pot surrounded by slaking lime;  we

> watched a rather fun video a couple of weeks ago which talked at one

> stage of cooking stews in a wooden bucket, the heat provided by means

> of a rock heated in the fire.  Any others?


Yes, on a similar line is the description from my brother-in-law (backed up

also by a video) of modern-day Mongolian herdsmen cooking in a sealed

ten-or-twelve-gallon milk can, using red-hot rocks in a sort of pressure-cooker

effect. They cut up what appeared to be a kid (as in goat, y'unnerstan'), with

wild leeks and kaoliang (sorghum "wine", about 180 proof, or vodka if that's

all they could get), a small amount of water, some dried soup  mix donated by

the American guests, which were considered a fortuitous but not essential

addition to the pot, several red-hot stones, and the lid, which clamps on to

form an airtight seal. The can is then knocked over on its side and a sort of

soccer game is played with it for between 10 and 20 minutes. They open the can

with the aid of a long pole (superheated steam under high pressure not being

something one should stand close to), and dish up their stew, which is both

browned as if roasted but tender as if steamed. There's also a lot of very

rich, but not especially thick, gravy. First the stones are passed around for

good luck (some of them are still glowing a bit, but there's a way to hold them

without serious burns if your touch is light and you don't hold them too long),

followed by the stew, bao bing, which are sesame-topped wheat flatbreads a bit

like South American arepas, which are in turn like small cornmeal tortillas,

only thicker. All washed down with Russian vodka and increasingly rowdy songs

at the campfire.


The Russian vodka actually doesn't surprise me too much; I've been to far too

many Chinese banquets where the beverage of choice for adults is cognac (yay!)

or blended Scotch (boo!), served in water tumblers. Coca-cola is for children

and tea is for dessert ;  ) . In fact, I recall some pretty rowdy singing at

those, too. Hmmm.





Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 17:26:20 -0400

From: dy018 at freenet.carleton.ca (Micaylah)

Subject: SC - An unusual cooking method


Has anyone ever heard of the term "hay stew'? This method of cooking

involves digging a hole, lining it with hay, placing the cooking stew in the

hole (in a pot...duh!), and packing the hay in and burying it for several

hours. :) The flavour of the heated hay permeates the stew and makes for a

wonderful meal.


Also can it be documented into our time frame at all? If so, I want to use

this method for an event soon, but need the documentation.





Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 22:57:08 -0400

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

Subject: Re: SC - An unusual cooking method


Micaylah wrote:

> Has anyone ever heard of the term "hay stew'? This method of cooking

> involves digging a hole, lining it with hay, placing the cooking stew in the

> hole (in a pot...duh!), and packing the hay in and burying it for several

> hours. :) The flavour of the heated hay permeates the stew and makes for a

> wonderful meal.


> Also can it be documented into our time frame at all? If so, I want to use

> this method for an event soon, but need the documentation.


Insulated cookery (well, sort of) appears in Gervase Markham's instructions for

infusion mashing of malt for English ales, circa 1615 (but apparently

republished from his earlier writings from an unspecified date). How much that

helps, I dunno...he uses blankets and such to keep his vat warm, not hay.





Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 22:23:09 +0200

From: Thomas Gloning <gloning at Mailer.Uni-Marburg.DE>

Subject: SC - Chemical heating?


There are two German recipes where the use of unslaked lime in the field

of cookery is mentioned:


- -- From a 15th century Zürich manuscript

"Wiltu ein ey braten in einem brunnen, so nim ein tuch vnd tu dar in

vngelöste kalk vnd das ey dar in vnd henk es in den brunnen".

Roughly: 'If you want to cook an egg in a well/in water, take a

cloth/rag, put unslaked lime into it, put the egg into it and hang it

into the well/water'.


- -- From a 15th century Konstanz manuscript

"10.1. wiltu ain hünlin süden on für vnd on wasser, so nim zwo zinin

schüschlen vnd zerschlach daz hu:on in fier tail vnd tu:o daz in die

schüsslen. vnd tu:o schmalcz vnd win vnd salcz dar in, vnd stürz die

schuslen über andren vnd mach ainen taig vnd verstrich die schüslen, da

mit daz kain tunst dar vs gang, vnd secz die schüsslen vf ainen kalch

stain vnd bedek si mit kalch stain vmb vnd vmb, vnd nim win vnd schüt

der kalch stain, daz es durch nider rin, so wirt daz hu:on gesotten


Roughly: 'If you want to cook chicken without fire and without water,

take two tin dishes, divide the chicken into four parts and put these

parts into the dishes. Add grease, wine and salt and put the dishes one

over the other. Prepare a dough and make the dishes tight with the dough

so that no vapor/steam gets out. Put the dishes onto lime and put lime

stones all over the dishes. Then take wine and pour it over the lime so

that it runs/drips through the lime stones, then the chicken will be

cooked soon'.


The source for both recipes: Trude Ehlert: Die (Koch-)Rezepte der

Konstanzer Handschrift A I 1. Edition und Kommentar. In: Ingrid Kühn/

Gotthard Lerchner (eds.): Von wyßheit würt der mensch geert...

Festschrift Manfred Lemmer. Frankfurt a.M. 1993, 39-64.


According to a chemist, Trude Ehlert asked, it is possible to cook a

chicken this way, if there is enough supply of lime and water/wine (see

note 43).




<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