[Sca-cooks] Period Portable Lunch Foods
lordhunt at gmail.com
Sun Feb 8 11:25:20 PST 2009
There is a region in Spain north of Madrid in Leon called the Maragato.
It is known for the people called the maragatos who isolate themselves
from the Spaniards. Some theories are that they date back to Arab
occupation. When the Christians threw the Arabs out of the area these
Arabs stayed on and are still there today They do not mingle with
others like the Amish although they are RC's. These people were known
for being very honest muleteers who exported and imported foods and
other merchandise to and from various regions of Spain. George Borrow
when selling his Protestant Bibles in Spain during the 19th Century
depended on them as he could not ride horses for the terrain there was
so dangerous or find his way without these guides, although they date
much further back.
Some claim that cocido is derived from the muleteer's lunchbox tradition
others claim it is from Roman times. The maragato lunchbox had two
levels, the lower contained coals and the upper food. When traveling,
the muleteer would eat the pork or game, chickpeas et al in his
lunchbox, in other words the cocido. Then he stopped at a roadside inn
where he would ask for a bowl of broth. This system came to be adopted
in the home. At first Napoleon's troops looked askance at this system
but found it the only way to alleviate a toothache by drinking the broth
after so much chewing. In Leon if one of the guests eats too much and
regrets it, he is told not to worry:/ "De sobrar, que sobre la sopa"/
(If anything is left over may it be the soup)./ /The soup can contain
bread and a chopped boiled egg or a raw beaten egg (in mine it is only
broth). Noodles were not included in the Middle Ages as they are today.
/Cocido/ is made to last a week. It is kept on the coals in the kitchen.
Shepherds and peasants too carry it with them to the fields and pastures
in a lunchbox.
It is curious that Spanish records in general only refer to coldcuts and
cheeses being carried in the saddle with red wine. Henry IV of Castile,
Isabel's older brother, in the 15th Century, did not consume alcohol but
died of ulcers for consuming the skin of intestines in which sausage is
stuffed, which the body cannot digest. He was a saddle king for 20
years. Washington Irving also describes his trip from Madrid to Granada
in the 19th Century eating cheese and cold cuts if I recall correctly.
More information about the Sca-cooks