[Sca-cooks] Spices for preservation of meats
lordhunt at gmail.com
Sun Nov 19 10:19:31 PST 2006
I was delighted when I saw the two websites I found the first address only give an outline of the Prof. John M. Munro's speech but the entire speech is published at:
It does not make much sense to me as it is in English pounds, Canadian dollars and the days of work it took construction craftsmen for the purchase of the most popular spices.
The second website you mention from Yale seems to have timed out. I could not find it anywhere in Google.
Through google I did find a quote from F. H. M. Prescott's "Once To Sinai" at:
He mentions the prices for three spices in terms of the value of animals and/or US dollars and goes one to mention that peppercorns were used as currency but does not set a price to them.
As far a peasants in England and Spain are concerned medievalists are quick to note that the majority lived off of salt pork, bread, cheese and vegetable products or legumes. They never say what happened to the rest of the pig. I know of no law in either country concerning alms to the poor but the custom existed of giving the poor left over scrapes consisting mostly of left over bread after meals.
I know that the above may be stretching it a bit as peasants did have livestock and could attract wild birds by providing them with feed but England's hunting restrictions were a definite cause of the Peasants' Revolution in the 14th century.
Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick, friend and enemy of Edward IV of England in the 15th century, showed off his wealth by giving a sword full of meat to his guests for them to take home but not to beggars.
Further at the banquets there were different menus as per the rank of the eater. The lord of the house, for instance, was supposedly the only one to eat horse meat for fortification prior to going off to war (no one ever says what was done with the rest of the horse). High ranking slaves of the Islams in Spain were given entails which for them was a real honor.
Henry IV of Castile was absolutely devastated by his half brother's unnecessary slaughter of animals in the mountains outside of Segovia in the 1460's. He always restricted the killing of only that which would be consumed in his household.
Terry Decker or Bear wrote:
Spices were expensive, but were not beyond the reach of anyone who could acquire a modicum of wealth. As for the relative cost, who, when and where must be considered in the equation. A couple of papers on the subject of spice prices can be found at:
The hunt was often reserved to the nobles, but not necessarily the meat.
For example, for centuries the German Jaegermeister's have had the privilege to sell part of the meat taken in the hunt as part of their wages and were to provide a portion of the hunt to orphans, widows and the needy.
Domesticated livestock are outside of the purview of the hunt and in many jurisdictions birds and fish were taken commercially and sold in the markets.
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