[Sca-cooks] Yams was Substitute for Potatoes?

edoard at medievalcookery.com edoard at medievalcookery.com
Tue Aug 25 12:12:23 PDT 2009

> -------- Original Message --------
> From: "Anne-Marie Rousseau" <dailleurs at liripipe.com>
> Hello! My apologies for giving the simplistic explaination.
> The original text in casteau describes several recipes for "tartoufles". The
> word in medieval Italian (I was told) meant "truffle" but the recipes made
> no sense to be truffles....(stewed in red wine and butter?  Roasted as one
> does chestnuts and served with sauce? )
> In 1604, Olivier de Serres published his "theatre d'agriculture et mesange
> des champs". Therein he says "this plant, called cartoufle, bears fruits of
> the same name resembling truffles and so called by some"  this can be paired
> with a botanical drawing by another artist, clearly showing a potato vine
> and its roots(A History of Food, Toussaint-Samat)
> Cotgrave does not give the word tartufle, as written by Casteau. He does
> however give the word Cartoufle (described as "a shrub that bears a
> mushroom-like fruit, also the fruit itselfe") and a separate entry for
> "truffe", which describes  "a most daintie kind of round and russet root, or
> rootie excrescence, which growes in forests, or dry and sandie grounds, but
> without any stalke, leafe or fiber annexed unto it"
> We therefore can reach the conclusion that tartufle does NOT mean truffle
> (an item that had its own entry) and that cartufle based on cotgraves
> description meant potatoes. De Serre says that cartufles are sometimes
> called truffles by some (perhaps the Italians?) and there you go.

That makes it clearer, thanks.

Interesting though, some of the descriptions sound like puffballs -

- Doc

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