[Sca-cooks] Spicing

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Thu Aug 7 13:57:20 PDT 2008

----- Original Message ----- >How big a household are we talking about,
>though?  The kind of place that we have cookbooks from are often feeding a 
>very large number of people, and would go through spices faster than the 
>average family today.
---------------- End original message. ---------------------

I understand that factor, but we are also talking
about some of these inventories showing many
pounds of cinnamon or some other spice. I seem to
recall one of them saying something like 100
pounds of cinnamon on hand (or maybe it was
pepper). That is an enormous quantity, even for a large household.

I'll try to remember where I saw that and if I
can find it, I'll post the reference.

Even cooking for large groups several times a
year and liking my food quite flavorful, I have a
hard time going through even one pound of
cinnamon in a year. Or pepper for that matter.



Spices were measured in Troy weights, so that 100 pounds is about 81 pounds 
avoirdupois.  The quantity you state suggests a Royal household which in 
turn suggests a lot more people being fed than a standard great household.

Before the 16th Century, availability of spices could be an iffy 
proposition, so if you could afford it, you might stock up when you could. 
Since Venice was the primary source for spices in Europe, the further you 
were from Venice or the harder the trip, the less opportunities you might 
have to buy spices.

If you had to cook 500 meals a day (2 meals for 250 people per day), how 
much spice would you use?  Thats 182,500 meals in a year.


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