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

lilinah@earthlink.net lilinah at earthlink.net
Mon Oct 2 16:33:34 PDT 2006

Hrothny wrote:
>I am bookmarking that page. Like 'pink isn't period' (we don't hear that
>very often anymore) and 'lucet work was done by Vikings' there seems to be
>some topics that just roll around and around the SCA community.
>Thank you, everyone for the resources and the extra information. It's still
>a source of amazement that one can ask a question and find good, scholarly
>information in response in less than half a day. I love the Intar-web!

Well, there are several issues here. And they pretty much all hinge 
on the word "period".

Is pink period? Well, yes, and no. The issue is not "did anyone wear 
pink fabric ever before the year 1601?" or "did anyone make pink dye 
ever before the year 1601?". The issue is to isolate the specific 
times and places - and it cannot be settled by paintings. I mostly 
see what i would call pink in the 16th century. Pink is a pastel 
color - a pale color - and all too often i see people point out 
not-fully saturated blue-reds - the kinds from kermes, or cochineal - 
and call them "pink", when they would not consider a similarly 
saturated color a pastel if it were blue or green. That's because 
people often use modern fashion color terminology - like Elsa 
Schiaparelli's color "hot pink", which is a fairly saturated color.

Tomatoes? How "period" is something that was eaten in Europe in only 
a part of the last century of the time the SCA covers? It was clearly 
eaten only by a limited number of people in a limited number of 
places. And the SCA covers - by consensus from the fall of Rome to 
the end of the 16th century (and the last year of that century is 
1600) - that's about 1,000 years or more, depending on which fall of 
Rome... so how common is something eaten for maybe 60 years out of 
1000... since that's about 6 per cent of the time - meaning that 
about 94 per cent of SCA period, no one in Europe or Asia or Africa 
was eating tomatoes.

Why are people so anxious to say that common foods of today are 
"period"? Why not look at what foods were actually *commonly* eaten 
in that consensual 1000 years? That will get one closer to the table 
of the people whose cultures, for the most part, we are trying to 
re-create or imitate or at least suggest.

According to one food book i read - sorry, can't remember which... 
maybe Oxford Companion to Foods - the tomato was still looked upon 
with great skepticism in England through the 19th century and into 
the 20th. I'm not saying no one grew them or ate them, but even 100 
years ago they were not commonly enjoyed in England.

Why is it so hard for people to do without modern familiar items for 
a frickin' weekend? There are 365 days in a year - is it so hard to 
do without for dozen or so Saturdays? They can eat all the tomatoes 
they want for the other 353 days!!!

Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita
who ate chunky peanut butter on pecan-cranberry bread in her pavilion 
at an event last weekend, but would never dream of trying to find 
excuses for it.

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