[Sca-cooks] Venison, baked or roasted

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Thu Aug 20 04:25:33 PDT 2009

On Aug 20, 2009, at 1:38 AM, Alex Clark wrote:

> I have a few questions about the recipe "To bake venison" in the new  
> TI. Unfortunately, for such a short recipe a few questions put  
> almost everything into question.

I didn't see the article. Does this assume a period recipe in which  
venison is baked in a pan in the oven? If so, that would seem pretty  

> Firstly, in its original context the recipe is between recipes for  
> pie and roast venison.

Given that there aren't a while lot of detailed instructions for  
roasting meats, this could still be interesting.

> The recipes in general are not well sorted, so I would certainly not  
> suppose just from this that the baked venison has something to do  
> with pie, but it is clear that a distinction is being made between  
> baking and roasting. It is my understanding that the usual way to  
> bake would have been in a crust, and not in what modern people call  
> a roasting pan. Perhaps that is why the pan is still said to be for  
> roasting, even though it is used in an oven?

Yes. And probably why we roast beef but bake ham. We're simply  
omitting the pastry in the latter.

> In addition, there are references to venison pasties at least since  
> the 15th century. Might this baked venison have been otherwise known  
> as a pasty?

Yes. Very generally, a pasty is used as part of another cooking  
process (see some of Taillevent's fish dishes), or is otherwise  
consumed fairly quickly; pies could be used for longer storage, the  
air spaces filled originally with a custardy wine sauce (which would  
be acid and exclude air), later with butter, and still later with wine  
or stock-based jelly.

> Finally, the original recipe says "if the Venison be lene lard it  
> through with bakon." The modern interpretation calls for the bacon  
> to be laid on top, but doesn't "lard it through" mean to thread  
> lardons through the meat?

Yes. Fat laid on top is generally known as barding, and AFAIK, doesn't  
turn up much or perhaps at all in the English medieval/renaissance  
corpus. Larding, on the other hand, is stuck into the meat. At least  
one of the early texts goes to the trouble of distinguishing between  
larding with fat and studding with cloves or slivers of ginger.

Speaking very generally, with few exceptions, when a period recipe in  
English speaks of baking, it's some kind of pie, or else something  
that has evolved from a pie, like the pasties in a pot that appear in  
some of the French sources, or the modern baked ham.


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list