[Sca-cooks] Sugar sponge

Suey lordhunt at gmail.com
Fri Aug 3 16:56:34 PDT 2007

Johana thank for all your websites. Checked them out to no avail but I 
think they will prove very fruitful info for other items.
I found this on internet as my books have given me no clue as to grades 
of processed sugar in the Middle Ages:

Loafsugar: We buy our sugar mostly granulated or powdered, but in the past sugar was sold as cone-shaped loafsugar. Before using it, the sugar had to be grated on special graters. Before 1600 all sugar was cane sugar. I don't know whether it is the same everywhere else, but in the Netherlands cane sugar is always light brown, either from added molasses, or from not being 100% refined. Refined cane sugar is as white as refined beet sugar. Unrefined brown sugar may contain small traces of minerals and such, but nothing you don't get by consuming your ordinary daily food. However, there is a slight difference in flavour, brown sugar has more taste.
The loafsugars on medieval miniatures are white, not brown. The cane sugar was as refined as possible. If you want to prepare medieval recipes the authentic way, you'll have to use white, refined cane sugar. If you can't get that, you'll have to choose: either use unrefined cane sugar which has a slightly different flavour and can end up colouring the prepared dish in an unintended way, or use refined beet sugar which has the same flavour and colour as refined cane sugar, but is actually an anachronism. 

	Yeah, more or less, tongue in cheek -. I think sugar grades were due to more or less boilings in the Middle Ages. Why are we going to take out the molasses and then put it back in? I priced sugars the other day in the supermarket. Brown sugar is as in medieval times is cheaper than granulated. So why is not more expensive if the molasses is removed and then added again. Should it not be the other way around? 
	Things are starting to fit in as per my thinking although unsubstantiated to date: dark brown, light brown, granulated, castor. Now we have to fit in the Spanish "red". Would that be integral? And "pink", would that be light brown or caramelized? Is integral or dark brown the result of one boiling? Would pink be the result of three boilings in medieval terms? I can't find anything to confirm my ideas.   
	Ah Doc you asked a while back why do I not try using honey instead of sugar. I do in various recipes as I cover Castile from 1300 until 1474 and Aragon only in cooking (I include Nola as I think the text was written by then) and have tried using honey in cheese cake. It resulted in such a goo-ie mess I would not eat it much less The Family and believe me my cheese cakes are one thing I can brag about. But I tell you with brown sugar they create family fights over the last morsel to the point that now I have to make two every time, one for mother-in-law and the other for the rest of the family!

/  mthei
   1. sugar sponge reference (Johnna Holloway)
   2. Re: [Sca-Cooks] New TI was Pasties article in the new	T.I.
      (Johnna Holloway)
   3. Re: Sugar sponge (Johnna Holloway)


Message: 1
Date: Thu, 02 Aug 2007 23:52:23 -0400
From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>
Subject: [Sca-cooks] sugar sponge reference
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Message-ID: <46B2A677.9010507 at sitka.engin.umich.edu>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

Found the reference in Ian Kelly's book
on Careme, titled Cooking for Kings which came out
in 2003.
Careme is described as boiling a mixture of sugar and water.
When that boils, he adds a pinch of "calcinated alum and then cream of 
tartar to fling, a pinch at a time, into the sugar lava.
The bubbles, the ebullitions, became as large and bright as the eyeballs 
of a fresh cod." p 19
shows what Careme was creating by using a variety of poured and pulled
sugar syrups.

I've seen this sort of thing done on the Food Network here where
I think it was Jacques Torres was creating sugar rocks and coral pieces
by making a sugar concoction that ended up being full of holes.
Looked like coral when it had hardened.



Message: 2
Date: Fri, 03 Aug 2007 06:46:01 -0400
From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] [Sca-Cooks] New TI was Pasties article in the
	new	T.I.
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Message-ID: <46B30769.1000700 at sitka.engin.umich.edu>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

Just a few other thoughts on TI.

TI is just a magazine. Once upon a time publication in TI was one
of those holy grails. An article in TI meant prestige. Everyone received TI;
everyone read TI. It's different now. I would guess the majority of SCA 
never see a copy.
The BoD wants a more popular magazine, hence the new format and guidelines.
The BoD hired the new editor with the instructions that this would be 
the format.

What does it mean to write for TI these days?
Do the research, write the article, cite the sources, re-edit the article,
submit the article, wait until they publish the article or articles in TI,
and you hear nothing.... unless of course you make a mistake and then of 
the skies open and the complaints rain down.
The best one can expect in terms of comments is the
"TI's ok--- when are you going to set up a website?"
Or "I never read TI, haven't in decades. It only publishes trash.
When are you going to get a website?"

Why do I write for TI? At least under the old format it did give me a 
place to publish
the longer articles. And it allowed me to avoid working on my book on 
Elizabethan stuff.


Daniel Myers wrote:

>> I too am unimpressed with the quality of the articles in the new TI.   
>> I wouldn't expect a change though, given that we are not the target  
>> audience - there are too few of us "geeks" (no offense meant to any  
>> here) and they want to sell more copies than that.
>> - Doc
> ------------------------------
> Message: 3
> Date: Fri, 03 Aug 2007 07:32:33 -0400
> From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Sugar sponge
> To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
> Message-ID: <46B31251.70102 at sitka.engin.umich.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> I don't know that we are definitely going to be able to say what was what
> with regard to all the terms in sugar and candy terminology.
> I do work in confectionery and early recipes at times. The recipe will often
> be a sketch and end with words like " till it candies" or "it is done."
> If one stirs the mixture until it grains, that's one product. Don't stir 
> it as much and
> it's something different. Cook slightly higher and it's different from 
> the mixture
> when cooked at a lower temp. Same ingredients, same amounts, same 
> instructions.
> I am thinking also that these problems are the result of translations 
> and more translations and we are dealing with descriptions
> of sugars and candies here and sketchy recipes at best.
> But it is interesting and a puzzle.
> Johnnae
> Suey wrote:
>>     My points are: could sponge sugar have been pink due to the 
>> processing after the third boiling? and is this the correct translation 
>> of the medieval item? Did it take on a sponge-like appearance after 
>> fluffing?
>>     Thank you all for your contributions. I find this so much fun as you 
>> try to enlighten my ignorance! Darn I wish I had a few canes around to 
>> play with.
>> Suey
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