[Sca-cooks] Smoked Meats in general

Johnna Holloway johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu
Mon Oct 9 18:15:15 PDT 2006

There is a paper by Johanna van Winter titled
"The Role of Preserved Food in a number of Medieval Households in The
Netherlands." It appears in Food Conservation. Ethnological Studies which
was published by Prospect Books in 1988.
The author makes several points about food conservation which have bearing
on the conversations on smoking and salting and preserving that have 
been going on.

The author makes the point that accounts are sparse prior to the 14th 
What accounts that do exist are concerned with costs, so the records 
often don't say
if the food was fresh or preserved in some manner. Salt for slaughtering 
is often recorded.
Sometimes it's recorded that it's 'meat bought per barrel' or 'dried 
plaice' or 'basket herring'.
Red herrings or smoked herrings are mentioned. Also mentioned is the 
fact that in the 15th century
herring was being gutted and salted on board the fishing ships allowing 
the ships to go farther out to sea
and stay longer before returning.The author says that the accounts 
indicate "that
there were various kinds of herring; smoked, salted and 'green', or 
almost fresh, herring among
others." It's also mentioned that cod was split and dried on sticks and 
imported from
Bergen in Norway.
This paper as The role of preserved food in Dutch medieval households is 
part of the new
which is being released by Prospect Books this autumn. See

Another collection that ought to be mentioned is Waste Not Want Not. 
Food Preservation
from Early Times to the Present Day, edited by C. Anne Wilson. 1991.
This consists of papers from the 1989 Leeds Symposium.

Anne Wilson leads off with this paper "Preserving food to preserve life: the
response to glut and famine from early times to the end of the Middle 
Ages." pp. 5-31.

She discusses air drying, burial, parching, smoking, salting, preserving 
and milk, salted meat and dairy products, salted fish, cereals, pulses, 
sugar, spices,
dried fruits, and wines.

There are a number of other books and papers of course. Wilson mentions 
a work
called Fish Saving which goes into all the methods of 'saving' or 
preserving fish.


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