[Sca-cooks] menu planning for dietary restrictions

Tom Vincent Tom.Vincent at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 11 15:48:42 PDT 2006

I understand.  I don't think I'd ever want to encourage non-period 
substitutes unless I felt the benefit outweighed (pun intended) the 
change in flavor...which should be negligible in all cases.  A sugar 
substitute brings up a lot of additional baggage, for example, and would 
certainly alter the flavor of a dish that depended on the sugar for 
significant flavor. 

I'm looking more at the benefit of reducing unnecessary oils, those 
'stealth calorie' sources, rather than any integral ingredients.

I never claimed that low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar dishes are bland or 
distasteful (seems to be a small epidemic of folks putting words in my 
posts).  Quite the contrary:  I believe that those ingredients are not 
necessary to make a dish tasty, yummy or delicious.

Of course, none of the terms in those two sentences are objectively 
measurable, so it'll always come down to the opinion of the feast 
attendees.  They always seem appreciative of just about everything 
that's served to them (other than those horrid feasts a few people 
described a couple of months ago), so why not serve a healthy tasty dish 
instead of an unhealthy one?

Here's a real-life example:  A while ago, I was helping out with a 
feast.  One of the dishes I was preparing was chicken cutlets breaded 
and fried, then baked with onions sauteed in wine (a decent bulk 
burgundy, as I recall) & oil, then topped with shredded cheese (and not 
a particularly flavorful cheese, mind you).  Now, my thought was:  Why 
use a lot of oil frying the cutlets *and* frying the onions when the 
wine was going to provide the major flavor source?  We could have baked 
the cutlets in wine, sauteed the onions in wine, then topped the chicken 
with the onions and cheese for the final baking cycle.  There were, as I 
recall, no herbs or spices added to the dish.  Now, wouldn't a few 
seasonings more than offset the reduced use of oil?  Even without the 
extra oil -or- seasonings, the flavor combination of chicken, onion and 
wine could have stood alone.  Just a few thoughts.


Anne-Marie Rousseau wrote:
> hi Duriel et al from Anne-Marie
> I guess my point is, instead of making a period recipe (ie one that adheres 
> strictly to the list of ingredients provided in the original medieval source) into 
> a non period one (with the addition of food substitutes, fake sugars, etc) it is my 
> personal choice to provide options that people who are trying to watch their 
> fat/salt/sugar intake can choose.
> I disagree strongly that dishes that dont contain added fat or salt or sugar need 
> be bland or distasteful. some of my favorite recipes dont use any animal fats at 
> all! dont get me wrong, I like butter as much as the next person (it being my 
> heritage and all ;)) but I am also aware that my audience may not. Sauces are 
> servied on the side so that those who dont want Sauce Robert on their roast (hey, 
> there are some out there, I hear...) can choose the home made mustard instead. 
> lastly, for that yummy heart stopping lamb stew dish to really shine? teh best 
> foils are simple clean flavors that can allow it to stand out. So I plan my side 
> dishes accordingly. 
> between low carb, no sugar, no nitrates, vegan, lacto ovo vegetarians, "nothing 
> that has a mother" vegetarians, low fat, no fat, no trans fat, low sodium and all 
> the other permutations out there? by offering an array I'm the most likely to 
> provide everyone with SOMETHING they can eat guilt free, even if they cant eat the 
> whole thing.
> Sorry, but I dont buy that I need to not serve X for fear that some poor weakwilled 
> soul will indulge more than they should. that's not my job. and why is somoenes 
> problem with animal fats any more important than someone elses nut allergy, or 
> someone elses aversion to cinnamon? I produce a well rounded, well balanced meal 
> from recipes that I have reconstructed outo f medieval manuscripts. I make the menu 
> and the ingredients avilable beforehand (sorry, there is NO cheating or last minute 
> subs in my kitchen. being one of those folks with allergies, I'm really a stickler 
> about that...as is everyone else in our guild. we're lucky that way, I guess...). 
> Diners can choose to come and partake, or not. and in my experience, even the folks 
> who have a list as long as your arm of what they cant have usually walk away very 
> happy.
> again, each kitchen and each kitchen head will approach this differently (and vive 
> la difference!) but around here at least, the responsibility falls on both sides of 
> the blast doors....
> --Anne-Marie

Tom Vincent
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and
carrying the cross" - Sinclair Lewis

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