[Sca-cooks] Period vegatables.....

Marcus Loidolt mjloidolt at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 2 05:02:56 PST 2008

"Lilinah" <lilinah at earthlink.net> Wrote:

I was not talking about seeds in turnips (they'd develop in the flowers,
not the roots :-), but rather the likelihood that turnips today are not
what they were 500 to 1400 years ago.

For most if not all of
period, celery did not have thick, crispy, moist, crunchy, bland stalks
we know today. Instead celery was mostly like the top of a bunch of
modern celery (if it hasn't been cut off - which it mostly is). Celery
was a bunch of short, thin, stringy, tough, bitter stalks which were
not used in cooking - it was the large flavorful leaves that were used.

the point i was trying to make was not about a few individual items. It
was how much just about every commercial type of fruit and vegetable
available in most markets today is different from the produce of the

So, must we address how *each ingredient* differs in our
documentation? Because it is not enough just to say, "Turnips were
different back in the day, but i can only get modern turnips at the
market," because that does not address *how* they differ. And frankly,
it's not easy to figure out the differences for all ingredients.

no way i can fit a run-down of every ingredient, plus everything else
that needs to be discussed in cooking documentation, onto 2 or 3 pages.

The judging form used in the Kingdom and the Principalities of the Mists and Cynagua can be found at:

i've mentioned, around here most people look at the "Spoons" as an
entry into historical cooking, and not a test of the pinnacle of
expertise, as far as i can tell.

How long is documentation in
cooking competitions supposed to be in other places in the SCA? As long
as you need? A very few pages? Does it vary with the competition?


Johann von Metten here, usually a lurker, though a fairly consistent Cooking/Agricultural Judge here in the Midrealm.
I've found all this discussion on period apples and other fruits and vegatables quite intervegetablesr>I DO expect cooking entrants to be able to discuss variants and differences between modern and medieval produce. IF you can't find a medieval apple, find one that has as long a 'pedigree' as you can...If you can't find an old apple, then TELL me that you know they may have  been different (and how if you can...) and then tell me what variety you used instead and why...(Its what they had, It was cheapest, whatever...)
But DO tell me the What's, the Why's and the How's ofWhys dish...

While modern Celery IS quite different than Medieval Celery, we know from various Classical Roman writers that they knew well how to cover and blanch the stalks of celery to produce a product probably not too unlike our own today...Also the herb Lovage is a remnant of the antique celery, producing a flavor much like the flavorful leaves. 

Turnips on the other hand have NOT changed a good deal from the time that Culpepper or even Gerard illustrated them in their respective herbals. If I recall,( my copy is not with me at the moment..)Fuch's Herbal has several turnips varietals in it and describes the flavor variants of each, This one strong, this one mild, this one bitter...ect...

Again, this may be a Midrealm thing, but I want the entrant to tell me as much as they can about their entry and provide a reasonable discussion about pre-16th century cooking as it pertains to their dish. IF they need to use as many as 5 pages...fine but please be concise and direct, and use what footnotes/bibiographies as appropriate! Need not be lengthy but useful...

Abot Meister Johann von Metten, OL
yes one of those wierd Midrealm Laurels..
Poultry and all thing agricultural....


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