[Sca-cooks] Historical Apples - substitutions for
lilinah at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 31 09:36:45 PDT 2008
>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
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