[Sca-cooks] *Sigh* That tomato thing - again

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius.magister at verizon.net
Mon Oct 2 08:50:12 PDT 2006

On Oct 2, 2006, at 10:10 AM, Chass Brown wrote:

> Who said it has to be proven as Common use. Just proof of use  
> should be
> sufficient.

Sufficient for what? See, people who have actually done the research  
aren't questioning that the food was known and sometimes used.  
Bothering to make the assertion at all seems to carry greater import  
than the simple fact that these cultures did know about the existence  
of the tomato, unless it's used in specific contravention of a claim  
that they aren't known or used in period. Since it's usually pretty  
clear that anyone who would make such a claim either A) hasn't picked  
up a book, or B) is nuts, you sort of have to assume there's more to  
this discussion than that. It has not, as they say, occurred in a  

> As a whole our group is moving towards document hell.

That's an opinion some would argue with; one could as easily say the  
SCA is being taken somewhat more seriously for its scholarship now  
than it used to be, and an increased emphasis on documentation is one  
reason for that. Of course, nobody is making anyone prepare or read  
documentation they don't want to.

> I
> agree on somethings, Documentation is needed, like A&S competitions. I
> appreciate a period feast (or periodoid) but the only documentation I
> want to see on it is a list of ingredients so I can see if I am  
> allergic
> to what's in it. My point is it was shown they were in Europe in our
> time frame for the group and used.

Yes, they were. So were brain surgery, microscopes, republics, human  
rights, and all sorts of other useful stuff, and yet these things  
sometimes seem to not be well represented in our little  
representations of period life. Are these the first things you think  
of when you think of life in late medieval Europe, or the first thing  
you'd teach someone else in preparing them to wake up in the morning  
to live A Day In The Middle Ages?

I think that to a great extent, people looking to play this game,  
unless they're in it for the beer, in which case they can play  
anywhere, and consciously or not, are looking into bringing to life  
the great forces that shaped period life -- the shift from tribalism  
to nationalism that leads to the development of kingdoms and  
feudalism. You know, the Age Of Chivalry, where it came from and  
where it went. Part of this is to investigate the role something like  
a simple tomato might have played in this larger picture, and  
represent it fairly.

> Ya know 1550 is inside our time frame
> there..... So loosen up it is Just a Game. The more you denigrate
> someone the less likely they are to try next time.

Except I didn't do that, nor did, I think, anybody else, and I don't  
think it's the easily discouraged new folk who are getting involved  
in a discussion that begins, "Tomatoes _are_ period, you know..."

> One could say
> something like "Well yes Tomatoes were used in late period, but  
> were not
> commonly used until after our time period and in period times they  
> were
> using the green tomatoes not the ripe/red tomatoes as per sources  
> XY&Z.
> If you would like I could show you where I got my information and we
> could discuss this", instead of the bash and Nazi effect of "Tomatoes
> Aint period, Proove they are period, wait you proved they were period
> now prove they were common place".

And I clearly identified that type of statement as rhetoric for a  
specific purpose, and made no attempt to engage in what you're  
calling "the bash and Nazi effect", nor to denigrate anyone or their  
actions. The truth is that I don't always have much concern for, or  
opinion on, what other people do in the SCA. Sometimes I note what  
others do, and sometimes I'll even have an opinion on it, and  
generally that'll have to do with whether I think something is being  
responsibly or irresponsibly taught to others.


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