[Sca-cooks] menu planning for dietary restrictions...was Re: Lamb with Roasted Apples and Onions

tom.vincent@yahoo.com tom.vincent at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 11 12:22:20 PDT 2006

One of my concerns is 'stealth calories' in tempting dishes that *look* healthy, but are actually laden with oils & salt, for example.
It's a massive problem in restaurants.  They list dishes that *sound* healthy, but are actually soaked in oils & salt during preparation so any benefit the base ingredient had listed (like grilled or steamed) is often wiped out by sauteeing or with a sauce.  A nasty trick that won't be addressed until restaurants are required to list the actual nutritional content of their dishes.
Sort of like a chain I encountered called 'Steak & Ale' where the only ale to be found was in the name of the restaurant.
If the oil-soaked, but aromatic, yummy and enticing lamb dish is prepared by the original recipe, those looking to eat healthy will almost certainly partake, to their own detriment.  
Some might be embarrassed to ask about the ingredients (and quantities, if the cooks even know...a lot of 'stealth oil' is used in SCA kitchens, I've noticed).  
Some might not be able to pass up a taste or don't want to appear to stick out of the crowd, as it were.  
Maybe they're just too tired or hungry to care.
However, if the healthier version is prepared, everyone could enjoy the dish with much less anxiety and damage.
'Balancing' out an oily, tasty dish with non-oily side dishes sounds alot like drinking a diet soda with a banana split. :)
Also, an intoxicatingly fattening main dish that really isn't available to those trying to watch their calories is almost cruel.  Like having the best drinks be alcoholic while the flat, warm sodas are 'available' to those who avoid booze, if you will.
I noticed that you referred to the main dish as 'yummy' but not the substitute.  See my point?
If a period recipe doesn't have measurements, it's up to the cook to redact it, so if it calls for oil, we can try the dish with just a tablespoon rather than 1/4 cup.  If it calls for salt, just a dash rather than a teaspoon.
So if a period recipe calls for an unknown quantity of butter and I put in 1 tablespoon, how can you say I *reduced* it?  'Reduced' it from what?  Maybe somebody else's modern interpretation?
And if (for a feast) the recipe called for 12 egg yolks and we use 6 with a yolk-substitute, so what?  Maybe we've just done our friends in the SCA a favor.

Tom Vincent
Republican agenda: Crush the middle class into poverty, rape the environment, enrich corporations, restore slavery, install a theocratic dictatorship. Fight back! 

----- Original Message ----
From: Anne-Marie Rousseau <dailleurs at liripipe.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Sent: Friday, August 11, 2006 2:31:36 PM
Subject: [Sca-cooks] menu planning for dietary restrictions...was Re: Lamb with Roasted Apples and Onions

hey all from Anne-Marie
when faced with menu planning, I often try and balance things to satisfy the modern 
mindset of what is "healthy" while still maintaining my own personal standards of 
using only documentably period recipes.

to this end, it is very possible to provide a selection of dishes, all of them 
within the medieval corpus that still meet various dietary requirements.

if you serve as your main dish some uber yummy and heart stopping lamb stew thingie 
(mmm. lamb), you can balance it with side dishes that dont contain butter or other 

also, interestingly, many medieval dishes dont specify the addition of salt. if you 
refrain from using commercially packaged seasonings, broths, etc and do stuff from 
scratch, I think you'll find that much medieval food is naturally lower in sodium, 
even if you add salt as a seasoning to taste.

lastly, the use of sugar is fairly prevalent through medieval and especially the 
later corpus. but there is nothing that says you cant offer alternatives for those 
who choose not to partake. for example, along with that yummy dariole (custard pie 
made with the yolks, sweetened with honey and dates), serve some small fruit tarts 
or baked apples or ??  so that people concerned about such things can police their 
own sugar intake.

I'm a big fan in people taking personal responsibility for their own diet but I'm 
also a big fan of me, as a good hostess, providing them the tools so that they can 
pick and choose from the menu to suit their own needs.

or at least thats how I do it....

--Anne-Marie, who given the choice would rather just a have a dish that normally 
doesnt have butter than to take one that is supposed to have butter and reduce it.
Sca-cooks mailing list
Sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list