[Sca-cooks] Substitute for Potatoes?

Saint Phlip phlip at 99main.com
Mon Aug 24 14:19:34 PDT 2009

On Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 4:47 PM, Judith Epstein<judith at ipstenu.org> wrote:
> On Aug 24, 2009, at 3:37 PM, Saint Phlip wrote:
>> You're thinking yourself into a box, again, Judith. The reason that
>> Medieval people didn't need books to cook from is because they had
>> traditions handed down to them from the cooks who taught them.
> After all the discussion of "something isn't traditional just because your
> grandmother taught it to you," this statement needs a wee bit more detail to
> make it really, strictly correct.

When was your grndmother born? 20th century some time? And, how do the
traditions youyr grandmother used relate to the traditions a person
in, say, 14th century Constantinople might use? There's a lot of years
there, Judith.

Yes, cooking is an evolving art, just as English is an evolving
language. But, just as we might have a bit of difficulty understanding
Chaucer's English (and Chaucer, ours), a Medieval cook might well have
a bit of trouble understanding how we can call something cooked when
we stuff it in a box for a few minutes, just as we might have trouble
understanding how they could stand to wait for hours while a broth
simmers next to the fire.

The answer to both questions is the same- both are completely
legitimate ways of doing things, given the materials at hand. They
didn't have microwaves, and unless most of us go to a great deal of
trouble, we generally don't have hearth fires to simmer things by.

However, we moderns have advantages. We CAN do things their way, if we
work at it, whereas they can't do things our way, unless they work at
it for a few centuries ;-) And guess what else? They is us, a bit down
the road ;-)

So, if we want to do things their way, we need to understand how they
actually did them- and at least we hve the clues provided by the
documents they made,

So, reading Medieval cookbooks is the best way to start, for most of
us. I suppose we COULD go dig up a long dead cook and ask him or her
how to do things their way, but long dead corpses tend not to be very
communicative, even if we could understand their original language.

>> It's the smith who makes the tools, not the tools which make the smith.
> Ironic sig: I haz it.
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Saint Phlip

Heat it up
Hit it hard
Repent as necessary.


It's the smith who makes the tools, not the tools which make the smith.

.I never wanted to see anybody die, but there are a few obituary
notices I have read with pleasure. -Clarence Darrow

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