[Sca-cooks] Substitute for Potatoes?

Susan Lin susanrlin at gmail.com
Mon Aug 24 12:59:12 PDT 2009

I agree - you are not that different from our ancestors.  People learned
things from their parents, grandparents, etc.  They were apprenticed to
learned people and learned by doing.

I believe the main reason to consult books, particularly cookbooks in our
case it to learn from those books what was available and the techniques that
were used.  Not to follow blindly a recipe that was written down many years
ago because that recipe might not be the true recipe just someones
recollection or a listing of ingredients from someone not knowledgeable.  We
should look to these books and these recipes for general ideas and not
specific things that cannot be changed.  At least that is my interpretation
of "creative anachronism".  We should strive to know what has happened
before, what might be good to keep and what should be amended and then
document what we have changed so that we can show the relationship between
the old and the new.

While I appreciate the time and effort that has gone into each and every
translation and interpretation of these period works I can honestly say that
I am happy to use these translations rather than create my own - for the
most part, because I am not a linguist but I am happy that other people are.

I take recipes that I have read from period sources or translations and then
adapt them for my use.  I try to use ingredients that would have possibly
been available in period but when I cannot I acknowledge that they are not
and move on.

Maybe things will change as I have become more involved with this list and
see the passion that people have for authenticity.

I believe that each person must make their own choices on how to interpret
our journey through the modern middle ages.  I find it fascinating to see
how these myriad of journeys follow so many different paths.


On Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 1:26 PM, Judith Epstein <judith at ipstenu.org> wrote:

> On Aug 24, 2009, at 1:49 PM, David Friedman wrote:
>  On Aug 23, 2009, at 11:13 PM, Solveig Throndardottir wrote:
>>>  Noble Cousin!
>>>> Greetings from Solveig! Potatoes are from Peru. However, there are a
>>>> number of old world tubers available such as yams Dioscorea species which
>>>> originated in West Africa and Asia.
>>>> Yes, and I fully intend to use yams in my Period cooking.
>> Off hand, I can't think of any recipes in either the period European or
>> Islamic corpus that use them.
> The part I think is amazing is that people need BOOKS just to COOK. If I
> were putting on a documented Period feast, I would worry about that, because
> I'd be assuming I was in charge of feeding royals and nobles -- people who
> could afford to give books to their servants (cooks). But for the general
> populace, good grief. I never owned or used a single cookbook till I was
> about thirty and someone gave me one, thinking it was such a shocking thing
> that I didn't own any cook books. I assure you, though, I did cook, I never
> went hungry, and to this day it doesn't occur to me to consult anything in
> writing if I'm cooking for my family. I really find it hard to believe that
> I'm THAT different from our ancestors.
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