[Sca-cooks] Opinions was Crocodile was Magpies

Johnna Holloway johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu
Tue Mar 4 17:42:59 PST 2008

We've had these conversation over the years and if the archives
were available I'd refer you to those postings.
There have been hundreds of these posts regarding recipes, redactions, 
food history, etc. But there are no archives so let me try to explain.

The point that Bear was trying to make and I in my earlier post when 
asking for references and recipes
(as regards the Romans eating crocodiles) is
that we could say anything if this list was just a collection of 
opinions, unsupported by research or facts.

We could pronounce that "I believe Henry VIII often ate crocodile, but 
Anne Boleyn
didn't like it and that was the real reason that she lost her head.One 
of the reasons that
Henry VIII went along with the split from Rome was over the eating of 
crocodile on
holy days."
As for a source I could say that it's my opinion and that makes it 
valid. Or I could
just refer to JM Barrie as my source.

This is not the game we play and anyone saying that Henry VIII ate 
crocodile should expect
to be asked to produce research that stands up to scrutiny.

What one can do on this list is ask questions like "What do magpies 
taste like?" or "does
anyone think that the Romans ate crocodiles in Classical Rome?"
What is likely to get one called out are assertions like
"Considering all the other unusual things (by modern standards) that the 
upper class Romans consumed, I would be surprised that Crocodile and 
snakes of various kinds are not among them."
What is that assertion based on? What have you read? What sources? Which 
In Latin or translation?
So what's the proof, or in the case where's the proof of the crocodile 
in the banquet?

You have to realize that a number of us do have the libraries and the 
research skills and the time
to actually look into such things. Many of us have been collectors and 
researchers for decades.
A number of us can reach over and withdraw numerous copies of Apicius 
plus another
50 books on eating in the ancient world, agriculture, domestication of 
animals, culinary histories, etc.
Some of us own everything that is available on medieval Chinese cuisine. 
Others own everything
on Arabic or French or English, etc.When someone says something that 
doesn't ring true, expect
that someone may in fact ask "What's the source or the recipe?" Where's 
that beef?
And by the way Dalby's Food in the Ancient World From A to Z does not 
list crocodiles as a food source!

Johnnae llyn Lewis

Kimberly Vallance wrote:
>   I know I am new to the list only posting a few times, but I have been
> watching conversations and a few things have come to my attention,
> specifically with this conversation. Just because someone can not whip out a
> reference does not make their opinion a flight of fancy as someone stated.
> No more then my opinion of fresh tomato being icky is a flight of fancy or
> that khli *a fermented meat dish of Morocco* is just ewww.
>   An opinion is not the same thing as saying something is a fact. It is to
> quote m-w.com 1 a*:* a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about
> a particular matter 2 a*:* belief stronger than impression and less strong
> than positive knowledge.
> I rarely post to this group as I am afraid of getting my head bitten off for
> being wrong or having the wrong opinion. I can see having documentation if
> someone wanted to present something as a fact. But getting on someone for an
> opinion? Now I will probably get flamed and told how wrong I am but meh I
> don't like watching someone get flamed for an opinion.
> Anne

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