[Sca-cooks] a dinner report-

Laura C. Minnick lcm at jeffnet.org
Thu Aug 31 05:43:33 PDT 2006

I put on small dinner (for 7 of us, including His Majesty) last weekend, 
and it went very well- thought I'd give you all the lowdown, because I 
thought you might be interested. :-)

I determined years ago that it is just as easy to cook period food in camp 
as ordinary food- the issue seems to be one of familiarity- so I do it a 
lot to make it familiar, yes?   :-)

We had:

salad dressed with oil, vinegar, and pepper
A Tarte of Greens
Chykens in Hocchee
Chicken in Oranges and Lemons

So here are recipes and Notes...

         Green salads appear in any number of texts from the Romans on 
down, and many of them throw all manner of herbs and greens into the bowl. 
For a camping event, I pick carefully through the freshest of the wild 
sacks of salad at the market, and use that. Cuts down a great deal on the 
volume in the cooler.

~Tart of Greens~
         I found this tart in Le Ménagier de Paris (a medieval manuscript 
dated to circa 1393), online in translation by Janet Hinson 
. The translated recipe there is:

TO MAKE A TART, take four handfuls of beet-leaves, two handfuls of parsley, 
one handful of chervil, a bit of turnip-top and two handfuls of spinach, 
and clean them and wash them in cold water, then chop very small: then 
grate two kinds of cheese, that is one mild and one medium, and then put 
eggs with it, yolk and white, and grate them in with the cheese; then put 
the herbs in the mortar and grind them up together, and also add to that 
some powdered spices. Or in place of this have first ground up in the 
mortar two pieces of ginger, and over this grate your cheeses, eggs and 
herbs, and then throw in some grated old pressed cheese or some other such 
on to the herbs, and carry to the oven, and then make it into a tart and 
eat it hot.

In the interest of packing space, etc, I used mustard greens, parsley, and 
a bit of rosemary and sage. I shredded them finely and blended them into a 
bowl in which I'd beaten four eggs with a little ginger and stirred in 1 
pkg of the pre-grated 'Italian' cheese. Poured the mixture into a piecrust 
and baked it at about 350 for, oh, 30-40 minutes or so. (Baking in camp 
means checking the oven a lot.)

         Losyns and their counterpart, Macrows, are the mac-n-cheese of the 
medieval world. Recipes for them can be found in several places- my 
favorites are in the 14th c text _Curye on Inglysche_. They can be found 
online at http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/miscellaneous.html#3 .


Curye on Inglysch p. 108

Take good broth and do in an erthen pot. Take flour of payndemayn and make 
+ erof past with water, and make + erof thynne foyles as paper with a 
roller; drye it harde and see+ it in broth. Take chese ruayn grated and lay 
it in disshes with powder douce, and lay + eron loseyns isode as hoole as + 
ou myght, and above powdour and chese; and so twyse or thryse, & serue it 

I fill a pot partway with water, and either drop a couple of cubes of 
boullion (Knorr's is best) or a dollop of the 'Better than Boullion' goop 
into, and bring it to a boil. Usually for one 8x8 pan of Losyns, about 3/4 
of a regular-sized pkg of lasagna noodles is required, and one pkg of the 
grated Italian cheese. '

Cook the noodles, layer them in a buttered pan with cheese and a sprinkling 
of spices, bake at about 350 for 25? minutes, until the top is nicely browned.

~Chykens in Hocchee~
         Also from _Curye on Inglische_, and online at 
http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/poultry.html#3 ,

Chykens in Hocchee

Curye on Inglysch p. 105 
(<http://www.pbm.com/%7Elindahl/foc/FoC065_smallgif.html>Forme of Cury no. 36)

Take chykens and scald hem. Take persel and sawge, with o+ er erbes; take 
garlec & grapes, and stoppe the chikenus ful, and see+ hem in gode broth, 
so + at + ey may esely be boyled + erinne. Messe hem & cast + erto powdour 

Quick cheat- I used the leftover broth from the noodles to boil the chicken 
in- it was already warm even!

They scald the chicken at the plant, so I didn't do that, but I did pull 
the giblets <bleah!> and wash him out. I stuffed it with a mix of grapes, 
garlic, parsley and sage, and pinned it closed with a skewer, breast-side 
down. Boil in broth (pretty much deep enough to cover the bird) for about 
25-30 minutes, then turn the chicken over, and boil another 25 minutes or 
so. It's done when the drumstick is good and loose. Carefully pick it up 
with forks, let the broth drain a bit, and set it in a prepared dish. Scoop 
out the stuffing if you like, and sprinkle a light dusting of powder douce 
over it, if you remember to (I usually forget).

~Chicken in Oranges and Lemons~
         While I usually try to stick with recipes appropriate to my 
persona (French/English, 14-15th c), this was so yummy when I tried it, I 
use it even though it's Elizabethan. It is from _The Good Housewife's 
Jewell_ by Thomas Dawson in 1596. (Sorry, the online link is dead.)

  To boile a Capon with Orenges and Lemmons

Take Orenges or Lemmons pilled, and cutte them the long way, and if you can 
keepe your cloves whole and put them into your best broth of Mutton or 
Capon with prunes or currants and three or fowre dates, and when these have 
beene well sodden put whole pepper great mace, a good piece of suger, some 
rose water, and eyther white or claret Wine, and let al these seeth 
together a while, and so serve it upon soppes with your capon.

I used two oranges and three small lemons. (Peeling lemons was not the 
easiest thing I've ever done!) Peeled and cut into wedges, and I squooshed 
them a bit as I dropped them into the broth (again, water and a couple of 
Knorr's cubes). I added a handful of dried prunes and currants (I forgot 
the dates), some whole peppercorns, blades of mace, a good 'glug' (1/2 
bottle?) of pinot grigio, and a tablespoon or so of sugar. Stirred about a 
bit, then carefully poured in a tablespoon or so of rosewater. (I use the 
stuff from the Middle Eastern grocery, which tends to not be as strong as 
the stuff in the blue bottle.) Then I dropped the chicken (one of the 
cut-up chickens from Safeway- when I was there that morning, they only had 
one whole chicken that was thawed completely) into the *very* fragrant pot! 
It cooked for about 40 minutes, and we served it up in a large bowl, with 
the broth and fruit ladled over it.

         This one came from Sir Kenelm Digby: _The Closet of Sir Kenelm 
Digby, Opened_ (published posthumously in 1669). The recipe is online at: 
         The recipe itself is rather funny, as it reads:

To Make Cheesecakes

Digby p. 214/174

Take 12 quarts of milk warm from the cow, turn it with a good spoonfull of 
runnet. Break it well, and put it in a large strainer, in which rowl it up 
and down, that all the whey may run out into a little tub; when all that 
will is run out, wring out more. Then break the curds well; then wring it 
again, and more whey will come. Thus break and wring till no more come. 
Then work the curds exceedingly with your hand in a tray, till they become 
a short uniform paste. Then put to it the yolks of 8 new laid eggs, and two 
whites, and a pound of butter. Work all this long together. In the long 
working (at the several times) consisteth the making them good. Then season 
them to your taste with sugar finely beaten; and put in some cloves and 
mace in subtle powder. Then lay them thick in coffins of fine paste and 
bake them.

The cheese part is basically a farmer's cheese, cottage cheese, or ricotta 
type. I use a 16 oz tub of ricotta and two large (Trader Joe's has really 
big ones for great prices) eggs. I used maybe 1/4 of a stick of butter- the 
cheese is plenty fatty by itself. Added a bit of sugar (1/3 cup? I usually 
work in handfuls) and a bit of cloves and mace. And beat it together well.

James and I had gone blackberry-picking around lunchtime, so we had fresh 
berries. I washed them, and put a cup or so into the cheese mixture before 
I poured it into the piecrust. Baked the cheesecake at about 350 for a 
little over an hour- had to rotate the pan a couple of times to make sure 
it bakes evenly. After it cooled, I spooned more of the berries on top. 
(His Maj was especially happy with it, and was amazed that I made it on site.)

         This one is a late 14th c French recipe from the _Goodman of 
Paris_ (online at http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/drinks.html#6)


Goodman p. 299/28

To make powdered hippocras, take a quarter of very fine cinnamon selected 
by tasting it, and half a quarter of fine flour of cinnamon, an ounce of 
selected string ginger, fine and white, and an ounce of grain of Paradise, 
a sixth of nutmegs and galingale together, and bray them all together. And 
when you would make your hippocras, take a good half ounce of this powder 
and two quarters of sugar and mix them with a quart of wine, by Paris 
measure. And note that the powder and the sugar mixed together is the 
Duke's powder.

This one came out not quite as I'd anticipated, for a couple of reasons: I 
found that I was out of galingale, I accidentally added too much ginger, 
and when I grabbed what I thought was grains of paradise, I saw (after I'd 
added it) that I'd grabbed the sumac. Went back for the grains, but there 
was no way to take the sumac out. So it was a bit hot from the ginger, and 
slightly sharp from the sumac.

The wine was a bottle of Cranberry Wine (2003) from Regina's brother Will's 
farm in Coos Bay- he runs sheep, llamas, grows wine grapes, apples and has 
a small cranberry bog. He puts out a half-dozen or so bottlings of wine 
every year, and when I poked around to see what there was here at the 
house, the cranberry looked good... C'est la vie! (LA VIE!)

His Majesty's remark about the meal- 'that doesn't suck alot!' I think I 
was successful. :-)


"It is our choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our 
abilities."  -Albus Dumbledore 

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