[Sca-cooks] sugar

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Sun Jul 15 17:14:19 PDT 2007

> The problem with this is that brown sugar is a modern invention, in
> which a little molasses is added to refined white sugar to give it
> added color, flavor, and moisture.

Prior to modern centrifugal refining, brown sugar was produced during the 
refining process which gradually extracted the molasses.  Since centrifugal 
separation goes almost directly to refined white sugar, modern refiners 
developed the technique of adding molasses back to white sugar to get brown 

> All of the evidence I've seen indicates that by the time sugar was
> being used in cooking instead of honey (in northern Europe), that
> they were already able to refine it as white as it can be made now,
> and could powder it just as finely as we can now.

Outside of some technological improvements, the process of producing refined 
white sugar is still pretty much the same as it was in 500CE.

> If you're trying to re-create the cooking of the poor, you'd be
> better off using honey.  Those who could afford sugar could also
> afford to use fine white sugar where it was appropriate.
> - Doc

Since refining was an iterative process, each pass added to the cost. 
Generally, if you didn't need white sugar for some specific effect, lower 
grades of sugar (if you required the taste of sugar) or honey could be used.

I quite agree that the choice of honey or sugar in cooking would be 
dependent on time, place and social class.


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