[Sca-cooks] Spices for preservation of meats

Anne-Marie Rousseau dailleurs at liripipe.com
Sat Nov 18 23:42:52 PST 2006

Hi all from Anne-Marie

On the use of meat and spices by the middle class, etc...

1. the inventories of Le Menagier a Paris, a 14th century cookbook
attributed to a burgois (sp) knight clearly calls for the purchase of a
large array of spices. So the use of spices was not limited to the very rich
at all. In fact if you look at the number of spices available in the general
marketplace, it would suggest that there was enough of a consumer base to
support this industry. Enough of a customer base means that more than just
the lord of the manor by my logic.

2. there are several recipes for spice/pickle mixtures specifically to
preserve meats ("the Lords Salt" in Cariadocs miscellany comes to mind right
off... and of course, there are the potted meat products, many of which
preserve by way of large amounts of fat in addition to the spices, etc
9which may be just a flavoring, granted!)

3. the peasant inventories detailed in Dyers "Standards of Living in the
Later Middle Ages" specifically list things like pigs. Even a lower class
person could afford one, which meant that meat, at least in fall, was not
unknown to them. Fish and small birds were free for the taking, and the
proscriptions for boon day meals and other feast events dictate that workers
and serfs were to be served meat, brawn and the like.

The idea that "only nobles ate meat" seems another one of those fallacies,
along with "they ate rotten food". Granted, the upper class diet would have
a lot MORE meat, and more expensive cuts (ie roasts rather than stews) but
that isn't all that different than today. 

Who eats hamburger and who eats steak? And how much of it? I know when I was
a starving college student, I could stretch a single sausage over several
meals while now I know I don't have to :). 

Or so I see it:

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