[Sca-cooks] tisane

emilio szabo emilio_szabo at yahoo.it
Sun Nov 4 11:14:57 PST 2007

> Here are some others.

Thank you very much! Let us look at the quotations before 1500 only, that
17th century texts may refer to a tea-oid preparation comes as no surprise,
but these are not mediaeval.

*?a1450 /Macer/ (Stockh Med.10.91)*
84:  Medle þe iuus of leek [with] ptisane [vr. petisane].

*?a1450 /Macer/ (Stockh Med.10.91)*
167:  Take þis herbe in þe iuus of tysane [vrr. ptisan, tipsan].

The two quotations from the English Macer refer to
the traditional ptisana. The first one is from the chapter on porrum
and renders 11th century Latin:

 "... Cum ptisana succum Porri sorbere iuvabit".

The second quotation is from the chapter on elleborus albus:

"In succo ptisanae vel mulsa paneve coctum
Sumere praecipiunt alii, sic utile dicunt".

By "alii" he refers to ancient authorities other than 
Plinius, whom he quoted before. 

*c1475 */Mondeville/ (Wel 564)*
153a/a:  Al maner potage as pesen, almaunde mylk, gruel ptisanne..&
oþere siche.

"gruel" indicates, that it is not a kind of tea, if I am not mistaken.
I cannot look at the fourth quotation, I do not have the edition of the
Thornton Manuscript around here.

> If each of these quotations and or recipes were searched in the 
> original texts, I suspect that at least some are for something 
> other than barley water or are barley waters mixed with other herbs.

Barley water mixed with other herbs is not what I am looking for, 
this was already done in ancient medicine, e.g. Galen suggests to
add chives and dill in preparing the ptisana. But this is not
what I would be inclined to call "tea". What I am looking for is 
a recipe that states clearly that herbs boiled in water
were called "tisane" prior to, say, 1500. So far, I do not see 
any such recipe. 

Thanks for pointing me to the Middle English Dictionary. What
a great thing that its online. They have two senses, the second 
being "headache", the first one is:

1. (a) Shelled or cooked barley; (b) a medicinal drink made from shelled barley and water; ~ water; gruel ~.

It makes me wonder that they did not mention the use of "tisane" for 
tea. I think they would have noticed if "tisane" was indeed used often 
to refer to tea during the Middle Ages. Hence, up to now I see no 
evidence supporting the original claim: "While we moderns call a tea 
any dried herb steeped in water, in the MA such a beasty was often 
called a tissane."


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