[Ansteorra] Re: eating horses and cats, oh my

g_r.cathan at att.net g_r.cathan at att.net
Fri Nov 23 14:49:43 PST 2001

The following article was published in the ELF HILL
TIMES No. 29, 1992

Geof Cathan


Gato assado como se quiere comere, or Roast Cat


Nige of the Cleftlands with assistance of Mathilde Meyer

	Sometimes, when looking through period cookery
books, I suspect it is just as well that out feasts
aren't all that authentic.  The following recipe comes
from Robert, or Rupert, de Nola, and the translation is
taken primarily from a facsimile of the edition of 1529,
published at Logroño.  For comparison, a few lines of
the Catalán version of the same book are also quoted.

And so... #122 Catalán version:
		De manjar de gat rostit(una vianda

Lo gat pendràs e matar-l'as, ço és degollar-lo. E quant
sia mort, leva-li lo cap e guarda que nenguú no-n menjàs
per la vida, car per ventura tornaria orat...

Folio xlij, Castilian version:

		Gato assado como se quiere comer

El gato gue este gordo tomaras, y degollaraoas y despues
de muerto cortar la cabeça y echarla a mal porque no es
para comer, que se dize que comiendo delos sesos prdria
perder el seso y juizio el que la comiesse.  Despues
dessollarlo muy limpiamente y abrirlo y limpiarlo bien,
y despues embolverlo en un trapo de lino limpio y
soterrarlo debajo de tierra...

Take a cat and cut its throat, and when it is dead cut
off the head and throw it away because it is not eaten.
Because it is said that by eating the brains you can
lose your mind and judgment.  Then skin it cleanly, open
and clean as well.  Then wrap it in a clean linen cloth
and bury it in the earth for a day and a night.  Then
take it from there and put it to roast on a roaster, and
cook it on the fire.  And when you begin to roast it,
base with garlic and oil.  And beat it well with a green
stick and continue beating and basting.  And when it is
roasted, cut it up like a rabbit or a goat kid, put it
on a platter, and pour over it garlic and oil with good
clear broth.  And you may eat this because it is very
good meat.

	Now I have to admit that when I finished this
translation I was very troubled about the instructions
concerning the "beating with a green stick" (verdaica in
Castillian and verga in Catalán).  It took a good search
through the French and Italian dictionaries to figure
out what was being said, and it still seems to make
little sense in a recipe that was odd enough as it was.
	Then an explanation arrived in August 1990
Victoria magazine.  In an article entitled "Old World
Cuisine", we learn that a Sardinian chef called Pietro
Vardue recalls watching neighbors roasting meat and
wondering why they repeatedly hit it with what seemed to
be a stick.  Their "weapon" turned out to be rosemary --
a technique for infusing meat with a pungent flavor that
he still employs in his kitchen.
	Hopefully not on roast cat.  Bon appetit.

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