[Sca-cooks] Recipe Books

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Tue Mar 20 03:28:58 PDT 2007

On Mar 20, 2007, at 12:39 AM, Daniel Myers wrote:

> On Mar 19, 2007, at 12:49 PM, Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise wrote:
>> Most historians do think of medieval as having ended by 1400 though.
> I would say that the above statement is far from true.  On this
> matter historians appear to be very like economists - ask four of
> them a question and you'll get five different answers.

Agreed. My own feeling is that the question is subject to a pretty  
broad spectrum of regional interpretations. What may set the dates  
for medieval Britain may be (and almost certainly is) different from  
what establishes similar trends in Italy or Japan.

For myself, I'd identify the Middle Ages in Britain as being between  
the beginning of the end for Roman occupation -- 407-410 C.E., and,  
roughly, Bosworth Field. It would be different for some other locale.

With regard to there being a Culinary Renaissance in 1600, I'm not  
seeing it. While New World foods do begin to emerge as significant at  
around this time in some parts of Europe, I'd have to say that the  
changes in eating habits, at least those represented by written  
recipes, are far more evident between, say, 1550 and 1590 CE than  
they are in most of the actual 17th century. Putting it another way,  
there seem to be more important changes ushered in by, or around the  
time framed by, say from "A Newe Proper Book of Cookery" and the  
works of Dawson, than the period framed by Plat or Markham, to Digby.  
By the time of Elizabeth I's death, the shift is already quite well  
established -- more sugar in use, egg yolks and butter become more  
important as thickeners than bread crumbs, galingale, grains of  
paradise and cubebs are starting to be phased out (but ginger,  
pepper, cloves, mace and nutmeg still going strong), pastry becomes  
more clearly edible and less of a durable container, etc.

Perhaps, again, this applies more to some locations than  to others.


"S'ils n'ont pas de pain, vous fait-on dire, qu'ils  mangent de la  
brioche!" / "If there's no bread, you have to say, let them eat cake!"
     -- attributed to an unnamed noblewoman by Jean-Jacques Rousseau,  
"Confessions", 1782

"Why don't they get new jobs if they're unhappy -- or go on Prozac?"
     -- Susan Sheybani, assistant to Bush campaign spokesman Terry  
Holt, 07/29/04

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