[Sca-cooks] Definition of "Period Cooking" was Re: Substitute for Potatoes?

Susan Fox selene at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 24 12:59:53 PDT 2009

Judith Epstein 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. 

All right, I think we have reached the "meat" of the matter.

Before anything else, the SCA is an educational organization with some 
roots in Academia.  In order to really call it a "period recipe," we 
need to be able to point to a recipe of some kind written in the 
specific historical time period. 

This is not to say that you can't cook anything you like, with whatever 
ingredients you like, but in the SCA's shared vocabulary, it's not 
"period" without an academic reference.  Same goes for costumes, jewelry 
or any other art or craft. 

It can be period-style, speculatively period, etc. but what you appear 
to be discussing not actually period cooking.  Yet.

There are a lot of foods which are made from ingredients known in Europe 
before 1650, but which were clearly invented after our time period of 
interest.  Hummus bi Tahini is one of those, sadly.  This does not stop 
me from bringing it for a tourney lunch but I am not entering it in any 
contests where academic references count.  Actually a lot of 
"traditional Middle Eastern Foods" are less than 200 year old 
"traditions," alas.

I mean naught but kindness and clarity and hope to see what creative 
culinary compositions you come with in the future.

Dame Selene Colfox, Caid

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