[Sca-cooks] Sca-cooks Digest, Vol 8, Issue 79

Suey lordhunt at gmail.com
Mon Jan 1 12:31:43 PST 2007

> Carole Smith wrote 
> I'm questioning the size spoon used here.. .  
> 	If you ask an English person for a spoon (in their kitchen) you will be handed a tablespoon.  It's larger than ours by a third.
>    Adele de Maisieres <ladyadele at paradise.net.nz> wrote:
>     Suey wrote:
> Um, a teaspoon of sugar is between 4 and 5 grams.
Reviewing my records I believe it was Robin Howe editor of Zara 
Groundes-Peace, _Mrs. Groundes-Peace's Old Cookery Notebook_ who wrote 
that ½ teaspoon of sugar per week to was given to members of the 
household which does bring us down to .237 grams or .08 ounces per week 
as opposed to US calculations in 1971 that 28 lbs of sugar that were 
consumed per person annually but I will not have access to the book 
until February to verify this.
    Anne Wilson in _Food and Drink in Britain_ does  state somewhere 
after page 100 (again I can't verify the number at this time) that 
although Elisabeth I had all the sugar she wanted it was unknown to the 
majority in England during her time.
    Terry Decker wrote: "Sugar use in general expanded during the 15th 
Century due to greater production."
    Sugar production did expand in the 15th C with Spain's acquisition 
of the Canary Islands but I would not date the 'expansion' until the 
17th Century when sugar plantations began to thrive in the Carribean.
    Laura C. Minnick wrote about "servants' allotments". Servants were 
not given luxury consumables in the Middle Ages. As a matter of fact 
there were different menus for the high table and the lower tables. 
Barajas-Benavides points out that a favored black slave was given liver 
in the Alhambra while others were reduced to gruel, bread and water. 
Poor family members lived in noble households in England. They were 
given a quality of food a little above that of  servants. I would not 
have liked to be one of them in Margaret Paxton's household.
    I do not recall that Howe or whoever does not specify how many 
members of the 'household' received sugar which could make a difference 
as to that actually consumed by those at the high table for example.
    Also it must be taken into account that surviving accounts and 
banquet recipes are from nobility who kept scribes. Their spices have no 
reflection on what the populous consumed as a whole.

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