[Sca-cooks] Basting spit roasted meat

Dragon dragon at crimson-dragon.com
Thu Jan 31 12:14:47 PST 2008

Michael Gunter wrote:

>I'm doing some research on just what the drippings of
>spit roasted meats would be.  It is surprising that I'm
>running into such difficulty but I've gone through several
>manuals (Digby, Two 15th Century Cookbooks, Sebrina
>Welserin) and haven't found anything on spit roasting
>beef.  There are detailed instructions on how to roast
>birds and such but very little on roasts and even whole
>pigs or lamb.
>I've determined that the term "sewe" in Two 15th Century
>cookbooks means "drippings" as opposed to beef broth
>or stock. I'm still looking for some kind of concrete example
>of what we all seem to "know" about roasted meats.
>The best I've found was in broiling steaks that are basted
>with verjous, wine or vinegar and whatever herbs you want
>but not much better.
>Any sources out there for basting juices for whole roasts
>or what would compromise "sewe" of beef?
>I'm still looking and the results are surprising.
---------------- End original message. ---------------------

I'm going to go out on a bit of a limb here in that I am not fully 
familiar with the humoral theory of health that influenced the 
cooking of the Middle Ages but I am going to suggest that the reason 
you are having difficulty finding anything on roast beef is because 
they would not have considered that a proper way to cook it.

As I understand it, the theory says that beef is of a hot and dry 
humor and thus it would have been cooked by boiling more often than 
not to temper its hot and dry nature under the theory.

Again, my understanding is not complete as I really need to do more 
reading on it, but I have come across some notes to that effect in an 
annotated translation of Taillevant if I am not mistaken.


  Venimus, Saltavimus, Bibimus (et naribus canium capti sumus)

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