[Sca-cooks] Period substitute for tomatoes?

Judith Epstein judith at ipstenu.org
Fri Aug 21 07:51:12 PDT 2009

Thanks, everyone who's said don't bother finding a substitute for  

Yes, I'm aware that my areas of interest did without tomatoes for a  
few thousand years. Yes, I'm aware that there are extant recipes for  
those foods. And yes, I even intend to use those, most of the time.  
When I have time to sit and follow a recipe, sure.


Normally, on a Friday I wake up around 5:30 AM, and from that moment  
on, I am working. I'm prepping my menu, heading to the vegetable  
market, sticking ingredients into the crock pot to make for dinner,  
cleaning, doing laundry, going crazy. At around 2:00 PM, I go to the  
grocery store, shop my everloving tail off, and rush home. Once there,  
around 5:00 PM, dinner is done -- so I take it out of the crock pot  
and put in the ingredients for the next day's lunch/dinner. In the  
winter, this is all even more complicated, because I do most of the  
prep on Thursday instead of Friday, because sundown (and therefore  
Sabbath) can come as early as 3:40 PM. There isn't a moment to spare,  
and that's when I've had the whole week to clean, do laundry, pre-chop  
vegetables, thaw meat, and so on. I don't have to set up my house just  
so I'll have a place to cook and a place to sleep!

When I get to an event that opens at five on Friday, though, and  
Sabbath begins around 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM, that gives me VERY LIMITED  
time in which to follow someone else's recipe for foods that have to  
be completely cooked and edible at least an hour before sunset.  
Subtract the time for finding parking, unloading the vehicle, setting  
up camp, and cooking... you can see that already I'm well behind. I  
will need something that I can prepare that takes ten minutes or less,  
which means (1) nothing complicated, (2) nothing I don't know like the  
back of my hand already, (3) if possible, something that doesn't need  
to be cooked. For that, I'm going to need recipes I already know well.  
For now, that means substituting medieval ingredients in modern  
recipes, rather than learning new recipes (which I do intend to do,  
but haven't done it yet -- remember how I'm extremely new, having  
attended exactly one event as an adult?).

So, if you could just help a sister out, rather than lecture, I'd  
really, really be appreciative. If there is a way to get that fresh,  
flavorful burst (without using eggplant if I don't have to -- I know  
it's all the rage in the medieval Near East, but I don't actually like  
it)... I'd love to know what it is.

Judith / no SCA name

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