[Sca-cooks] Coffyn pan and bread bowls
Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius
adamantius1 at verizon.net
Sat Jan 19 12:10:50 PST 2008
On Jan 19, 2008, at 2:31 PM, Nancy Kiel wrote:
> We seem to have wandered far afield from the original discussion.
> My contention is that one does not need a mold to make a coffin
> and to use a mold defeats the raison d'etre for making an inedible
> standing crust.
Also probably true.
> I agree that not all pie crusts were meant to be inedible. I don't
> know enough about period cookware to know if they had pans you could
> bake a pie in and then remove it, to serve it free-standing. It
> would be interesting to see how stiff a paste you can make that
> would still be edible.
For that matter, how stiff you could make it and still produce a
smooth, kneadable dough that can be worked over a reasonable period of
In the end, we're not really going to know for sure, but usually you
can get a sense from the filling whether it's supposed to keep for a
period of time, or not. And then there's the fact that some recipes
specify for you to "make/raise a coffin in a trap", while others
simply instruct one to make a coffin.
> As to bread bowls...why do we use them today (I'm not clear as to
> their purpose)? If you want period portable food, have a meat pie.
> Rastons certainly present an argument for filling rolls with butter
> soaked bread, but translating that into a larger-than-a-roll piece
> of bread filled with stew is a bit of a stretch.
I thought Rastons were relatively large. And apparently I thought
wrong, or at least not absolutely correct: the 15th century recipe
doesn't specify size or number of servings. On the other hand, since a
cover at a feast often served two, it might be considered a large roll.
As for a rationale in period for what we now think of as a bread bowl,
it's hard to say, since people in period did address a number of the
issues a bread bowl addresses with trenchers (and later sippets and
toasts) and pastry in various forms. I think the bread bowl
(especially when using that name) evolved in someplace like San
Francisco, long considered one of the great sourdough bread centers of
the world. Considering this from a business point of view, they're
usually filling, and probably cheaper than the cioppino (chosen at
random as a San Francisco thing) you might fill them with, so you
might be able to sell a smaller order of cioppino at the same, or even
a higher, price. See, it's in a bread bowl! And it's _cute_!
[Have I mentioned my views on "cute" food? And note that "cute" is not
the same as "attractive".]
Then there's the Free Dunking License associated with such a dish,
that you might not get elsewhere, so it's fun food for some people.
Some might argue there's a marginal effect on bussing, cleanup, and
dishwashing, which may have actually been a big part of the trencher
mystique in the Middle Ages.
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