[Sca-cooks] Gastronomica Article

Elise Fleming alysk at ix.netcom.com
Fri Aug 28 06:07:13 PDT 2009

Johnnae sent:
 >Last but not least Mark Morton and Andrew Coppolino's Cooking with
 >Shakespeare is reviewed. After mentioning that recipes calling for 
 >swan's blood, a peacock, or a calf's head are "unavailable, difficult 
 >to obtain, and stomach churning," the review ends with a funny sort of 
 >endorsement, indicating that the book offers "plenty of recipes" 
 >(albeit strange ones) for a Shakespearean or culinary history class 
 >feast. The reviewer warns, however, "if you are looking for something 
 >quick and tasty when you are running late at work,or something elegant 
 >and intricate to displease a discriminating modern palate, you'd better
 >look elsewhere."

I'd almost add, if you want something actually Shakespearean, buy 
something else.  I didn't look closely at the "food" recipes, but I did 
look at the sugar/dessert ones.  The first thing I saw was that the 
authors say that sugar paste is a combination of sugar and almonds. 

They also equate "comfits" with "suckets" and have the potential cook 
making sugared orange peel (crisp, no less), and sticking it upright 
into marchpanes.

Finally, they give the period recipe for an ambergris-flavored sweet. 
The modern recipe calls for some minute fraction of an ounce of 
ambergris.  I don't recall the actual amount but it was something like 
.007 oz - something that would be a challenge to measure.  By 
happenstance I looked at the list of words (at the end of the book) for 
which they give explanations.  I noticed ambergris.  They mentioned that 
it came from whales and that it was unavailable today so that if you 
were making a recipe with it, leave it out.  Then, why o why did they 
put it *in* the modern version??  (Yes, I know ambergris can be obtained 
on the internet in other countries.)

I was really disappointed with what they didn't know about that chapter!

Alys K.
Elise Fleming
alysk at ix.netcom.com

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