[Sca-cooks] Historical Apples - substitutions for

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 31 09:36:45 PDT 2008

Femke wrote:
>Part of the problem is that it's so very regional.  There are 
>something over 7500 named apple varieties, worldwide.  Around 2500 
>in the US alone.  They crossbreed VERY easily, and throw up sports 
>regularly.  That's why pure stocks are usually created by grafting. 
>Differences between the red delicious of today and 30 years ago 
>isn't genetic - it's root stock choice, growing conditions, and 
>(like wine) terrior.  In my neck of the woods, the grocery store has 
>around 20 varieties.  30-40 at the farmer's market.  200-300 if I 
>want to go for a drive.  I suspect this isn't typical.
>So, what you probably want is less a substitution 
>variety-for-variety, than to understand what KIND of apple you're 
>looking for.  Most European apples from period are considered 
>subacid - sweet, with a low level of malic acid.  Pretty different 
>from the New World crab apple/old world dessert apple crosses common 
>The other factor is WHICH period apple you're going for.
>Better yet might be to order a sampler pack of period apples and 
>modern varieties from one of the growers like Treemendus and have an 
>apple tasting party.

Now that sounds like a fun idea!

>Is this more what you had in mind, Urtatim?

First, thank you for the details about specific apples, which i've 
snipped. It was definitely helpful.

Second, your general conclusions match mine, pretty much, although i 
hadn't settled on Jonathans. Alas, i remember Jonathans from days 
gone by and have had trouble finding them lately. I guess i need to 
start haunting the apple section of the Berkeley Bowl with more 
frequency. If they have so many other wondrous fruits, surely they 
have a good selection of apples...

Of course, i don't cook with apples all that often, and my raving has 
been about more than just apples, just using the apples as an 
example. My point is that if we apply all this to apples, then we 
have to apply it to *each and every ingredient*. And i think at some 
point that goes above and beyond the average person entering cooking 

Now, i realize that cooking competitions in different kingdoms may 
have a different goal. I thought the purpose of our cooking 
competitions, at least, was to stimulate and encourage historical 
cooking, so that an entrant doesn't have to be extremely experienced 
to enter and potentially win.

We do not have "graded" competitions... well, yeah, this summer they 
started competitions at the Kingdom level for people who've never 
entered a competition before/who're new to historical cooking. Most 
competitions are "Spoons" - Kingdom: Wooden Spoon; Mists 
Principality: Silver Spoon; Cynagua Principality: Copper Spoon 
(although the Principality of Oertha has the Silver Ulu, a curved 
skinning/chopping tool). The new one is the Linen Spoon - all 
entrants get a piece of cloth with a picture of a spoon on it (i 
don't recall if it's embroidered or printed). I have to say i have 
not been happy with the recipe choices - they seem to be chosen for 
brevity rather than suitability for beginners. That often means that 
some ingredients are quite vague ("good herbs") and, well, i'll admit 
i don't have full confidence in the person running them, having seen 
his cooking documentation.

And we often have enough trouble getting 3 entries (there were NO 
entries at the Mists Coronet 2 weeks ago). If we made it necessary to 
do extensive zoological, botanical, and mineralogical research into 
every ingredient, we'd get a couple entries per year, since we do 
have one or two people who go above and beyond, and they also have 
land on which to plant things. One has a home-built wood-fired domed 
oven, another has a meat smoker.

What is the acknowledged purpose of cooking competitions in other 
places? Are they open to anyone, or are they aimed at a particular 
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

My LibraryThing

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