[Sca-cooks] Cookbooks: Was Substitute for Potatoes?

Judith Epstein judith at ipstenu.org
Mon Aug 24 13:17:03 PDT 2009

On Aug 24, 2009, at 3:04 PM, Elise Fleming wrote:

> Judith wrote:
> >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).  
> >(snip) 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.
> I'm not sure if I'm understanding this correctly.  Are you saying  
> that if you were in charge of doing a documented period feast you  
> *would* or you *would not* use a period cookbook?  My first - and  
> second - reading is that you would *not* use one.

No, try a third reading. I may have left out a few phrases, so it's  
understandable that folks would misinterpret. Here's what I was trying  
to get across.

If I were putting on a documented Period feast, sure, I'd worry about  
documentation. That's expected. The assumption would be "I'm a person  
cooking for people who are wealthy and of high station, and would be  
able and willing to give books to mere servants doing the kitchen  
work. Therefore, I'll do it exactly as my liege lady and lord like it,  
which must be what's written in this handy book here, because they  
gave it to me and told me to use it."

If I'm cooking for myself and my encampment, *toss* the book, because  
I'm the master of this here kitchen!


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