[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 20:41:57 PDT 2006

On Aug 6, 2006, at 10:54 PM, grizly wrote:

> I would contend in my particular pratice of my craft that there is  
> a certain
> lack of loyalty were I to do that for my own redaction.  The  
> recipes says to
> put that exact amount of butter in for the dish.  As I endeavor to  
> recreate
> these dishes, I would put in 12 yolks and a walnut sized butter wad  
> in each
> coffyn.

It occurs to me that fewer than 12 yolks might not only change the  
texture of the dough, but it might even simply fail to incorporate  
the amount of flour specified. And then, in the end, we can't be  
certain how 16th century unsized egg yolks compare with the typical  
supermarket large, extra-large, or jumbo eggs. Certainly you can make  
conscious choices to change the effect the recipe is going for, and  
go with a piecrust recipe you know works, but let's not pretend we  
know it's the same as that in the original recipe. I'd try the recipe  
as written, to the best of my ability, first, figure out why  
instructions are written as they are, and then try to make such  
changes as seem best after knowing what a successful version of the  
pie looks and behaves like.

You might actually get away with less butter in the pie itself,  
especially since they may have been working with leaner chickens, but  
generally recipes calling for a piece of butter the size of a walnut  
tend to be looking for a proportion appropriate for thickening a  
broth into a sauce. It might be worth looking into how changes in  
butter content will affect that.

I'd consider adding just a bit of soaked, unflavored gelatin, to make  
the juice just a touch thicker with less butter (I do this very often  
for low-carbers, too). The chickens will contain gelatin anyway,  
which tends to be released under pie-baking conditions.

>     The dough texture would be significantly different if you cut the
> yolks by, say, half.  Less fat, less tender crust.  The tender,  
> edible crust
> being the whole point of difference with 1300's coffyn pastes.   
> Your method
> of fat reduction works for me in the far more vague instructions,  
> but this
> one gives precise directions.

Well, reasonably precise. I have no problem with deviating from a  
recipe, if the choice is informed as to why the instructions are  
given as they are, but I'm a little shy of doing this and claiming  
that it's faithful to the original.
> Your personal choice to change the recipe is yours, and I make no  
> judgement
> about what you choose.  I prefer recreating the dish, and choosing  
> some of
> the other scads of chicken dishes when I need one that have little  
> or no
> fat, like the three below.  If the dish offends thee, cut it out  
> and find
> another.  Egads, there are a couple of dozen texts out there that  
> we have to
> choose from, and more being translated for us every year.

It also calls into question the idea that we're pushing all this  
unhealthy food on people. Certainly the body of available recipes  
doesn't really suggest this was a universal problem in period,  
although it's conceivable some cooks are distorting the total  
picture. I just haven't seen a lot of evidence for it, myself.


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