[Sca-cooks] on topic: Healthy Feasts - was OT: diet, was sugar problems

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius.magister at verizon.net
Sun Aug 6 18:03:06 PDT 2006

On Aug 6, 2006, at 6:47 PM, Tom Vincent wrote:

> Well, the SCA has already taken the religion, disease, slavery,
> brutality and historical methods for crown-gaining out of the historic
> period, so what's wrong with modifying the dishes to conform with
> healthier dietary guidelines?

I've already pointed out something wrong with it. There are also  
things right about it, but I didn't know I was trying to ram an  
argument down anybody's throat.

>   Hell, you don't even use real swords!

To what "you" are you referring?

> After all, it isn't called Modern Middle Ages for nothing.

That's correct, and it's called The Current Middle Ages for an even  
better reason. Stefan, is there an article in the Florilegium devoted  
to "letting the best be the enemy of the good"? Surely you're not  
suggesting that there's no point to periodicity simply because the  
corporate administration of the SCA has foisted off some rules on us  
that build some flaws into the game.

> I didn't suggest strictly 'Lenten food' or 'food for the poor'.  No  
> one
> did, so your red herrings don't help,

What on earth is this, a UseNet flame war? What red herrings? I said  
that some of the revisions in question might be viewed by medieval  
people in that way. Has the whole question of periodicity just  
suddenly become irrelevant?  You asked if SCAdian cooks do something,  
a number of them said no, they generally don't do that, at least not  
quite in the way you described, and why they don't. Nobody said it  
was bad for those who wish to work that way, to do so. If this is  
some kind of personal crusade, more power to you. I'll let you know  
the next time my group holds an event, you can volunteer to come  
cook. I'm sorry if this is more rude than I generally tend to be, but  
I'm running out of patience with this, and trying to understand, and  
explain, why.

> but how about revisions to period
> recipes (and their previous modern redactions) in favor of healthier
> substitutions?  Cutting the butter in half, the cheese in half, the  
> oil
> in half?  Simple changes like those?

Half of an unknown quantity, since medieval recipes rarely supply  
that information? Yes, that would be simple. It comes down to using  
amounts that seem reasonable at the time.

> No, I didn't see your feast menu, but I'll try to search through the
> archives to find it.  It sounds wonderful!

It worked out well, but the point was that if people wanted to wallow  
in disgusting excess, the wherewithal was there, but if people wanted  
to eat a healthy meal and still be full, they could have done that.  
Many people did, just as they do when ordering off the menu in a good  
restaurant. And I do go around the feast hall, pushing the somewhat  
uninspiring-looking braised kale with olive oil, minimal coarse salt,  
and garlic. I've even been known to threaten to withhold dessert. I  
just don't do a health-food-type menu, and nobody in their right mind  
has ever accused me of not caring, or suggested that doing otherwise  
would demonstrate caring to a greater extent.

> One feast I did didn't include any added fat except some butter in the
> apricot-mead glaze for the Cornish game hens and some butter &  
> Parmesan
> cheese in the Risotto Milanese.

That sounds good, but I'd rather do more documentably period food,  
much of which doesn't require a lot of added fat, and/or tends to  
have no guidelines on how much should be used, so the recipes  
integrate seamlessly into any desire to keep the fat levels down,  
when they're called for at all. There's plenty of period food that  
isn't actively unhealthy, and I like to base my menus, for the most  
part, on that premise. I know some cooks will use the whole  
"fat=decadence" concept as a sort of crutch, but I don't believe in  
that, and I don't think too many here do.

> Maybe not everyone wants to be helped, but that doesn't mean we
> shouldn't try to provide a supportive, constructive environment.

No, it doesn't. We should try to be supportive, but I think most of  
us do that very thing.


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