[Sca-cooks] weird question - honey fast???

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Sun Aug 10 21:06:05 PDT 2008

On Aug 10, 2008, at 11:26 PM, Margaret Rendell wrote:

>> Suey <lordhunt at gmail.com> wrote:
>> My work is from 15th C Spain and before. Honey for us has nothing  
>> to do
>> with cows or any animals.

It's made by animals, and then animals eat it. Unless you ascribe to  
the theory that bees aren't animals, or are merely asserting that  
medieval people didn't consider them animals.

>> It is made by insects from pollen, plants. If
>> you could be so kind to read our  documents like the Archpriest of  
>> Hita
>> honey was allowed during lent as sugar.
>> Really I do not know where you are coming from???


> This is of course, a modern attitude, but the question that is being  
> asked is: did (any past groups of) Europeans ever feel this way  
> about honey - that although it isn't animal flesh, it is a product  
> from animals, and as such should be restricted during Lent in the  
> same way that milk and butter are.

Well, the original question was, in part, are there any Lenten or fish- 
day restrictions against honey, or any evidence of them, and why would  
Peter Brears seem to feel there might be. Of course, Brears was  
working on medieval English recipes, and there's no guarantee that  
what applied to Spain applied to England, or that the rules didn't  
change over time.

However, I note, from looking at those early Anglo-Norman culinary  
manuscripts that Constance Hieatt worked on for that Speculum article  
in the 80's, that one of the manuscripts contains two recipes for a  
subtlety of a tart decorated to look like a Turk's head. One is for a  
meat day, and includes rabbit, small birds and honey, and the other is  
for a fish day in the Yule season, and it calls for cooked white  
fish... and sugar.

If Brears had the impression that there were Lenten restrictions  
against honey, I could see how, if there are more recipe pairs of this  
type, he might get that idea.


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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