[Sca-cooks] Blancmange

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Tue Jul 3 18:57:12 PDT 2007

On Jul 3, 2007, at 7:29 PM, Suey wrote:

> Phil replied:
>> It may simply be an attempt on the part of non-cooks to recreate some
>> of the flavors they encountered in the Middle East, with perhaps an
>> incomplete understanding of those cuisines.
> Perry is a non-cook??? After looking at all that you people produce I
> think I fit in that category although people do compliment me  and are
> fascinated cause I can always produce something novel but man my
> mistakes are just as novel. Killed the eggplant the other day as I  
> still
> cannot conquer when to add the mint! Anyway if Perry is a non-cook why
> do gobble up all he writes? He fascinates me because he is so clear.

I have no issues with Perry. I was referring to the theoretical  
Returning Crusaders who had eaten chicken, rice, and almond dishes  
with sugar in the Middle East, may not have known exactly how they  
were made, but could conceivably have asked their cooks to produce  
something similar. I then compared this possibility to the pretty  
well-known scenario of 19th century English empire-builders returning  
home with a vague idea of some of the spices eaten in India, to  
create things like "curries" that were jellied and eaten cold, or  
based on cream sauce with curry powder added, and, of course,  
Worcestershire sauce ("from a recipe of a nobleman of the County").

I don't imagine Charles Perry would have done that, either ;-).

> I said:
>>>         Is this in reference to mehallaiyyah or mehalabeya? I do not
>>> think of medieval blancmange as a pudding but as a pottage and I  
>>> don't
>>> see it becoming a dessert until the 17th Century.
> Phil answered:
>> Well, what _does_ become a dessert prior to the 17th century, unless
>> perhaps you mean wafers, confits and hippocras? ;-)
> Ha ha ha! Fascinating material but this is another subject. I shall  
> send
> another message concerning this titled Hispano-Muslim desserts.

Well, I wasn't sure what relevance the view of blancmange as a  
dessert had; in the Middle Ages, although there were sweet dishes,  
very few of them appear to have filled the modern niche that a  
dessert does, unless it was wafers, comfits and hippocras.

Incidentally, regarding earlier incarnations of blankmanger under  
other names, we may need to consider a dish about which very little  
is known: dillegrout. It has been alleged (I think by Leonard  
Wibberley, in a book about English Coronation ceremonies) that  
dillegrout was a traditional Coronation dish, and that it may have  
been a porridge similar to blankmanger. As I recall (I have no access  
to any more information than what I am telling you now; don't even  
bother asking ;-)  ), this was supposed to have been a throwback to  
old English (as in pre-Norman) Coronation feasts; it may have been  
intended to add legitimacy to the claims of Norman kings that they  
"ate like Englishmen". Anyway, I vaguely recall reading that  
dillegrout has been served at several English coronation feasts, some  
relatively recently (say, Edward VII), and that there is alleged to  
be a family with a hereditary title of Royal Dillegrout Pottager (or  
some such). You might look in the Florilegium for more info on  
dillegrout, possibly dilligrout.

It's possible Johnnae or Bear may have some info on this.


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