[Sca-cooks] Balkan Roots - horseradish?

Volker Bach carlton_bach at yahoo.de
Wed Jun 18 13:32:05 PDT 2008

I just got a book of frescoes and icons from medieval Serbia and Macedonia and there is one thing that strikes me as odd. There's a wedding at Cana from the early fifteenth century, a Last Supper from 1389 and another Wedding at cana from 1307. They all share the usual features - knives on the table, but no other cutlery visible (except one spoon in a serving bowl), food in bowls, round  manchet loaves, wine served in glass bottles and metal goblets that look suspiciously liturgical. But in all three cases, there is also some sort of rootlying on the table. It is long and white with leafy greens sprouting from the top, and one picture shows that it is cut up from the lower end (it shows cut-off tops lying on the table). 

Does anyone know what's with this? I know there is a tradition of eating horseradish in eastern Europe. Could this be read as evidence for the habit? I don't think I've ever seen this in art outside of the Balkans, and AFAIK the only root vegetables that are enjoyable at all without cooking are sweet carrots and radishes. Does anyone know?

(The book is all about inverted perspective, mandorlas and icon brush stroke technique, it's no help at all)



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