[Sca-cooks] Translation issues (was Happy about Scappi)

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Fri Jan 16 06:55:57 PST 2009

On Jan 16, 2009, at 8:51 AM, Louise Smithson wrote:

> The interpretation issues - lardo/strutto - lardo is a salted back  
> fat product which can (for some recipes) be rendered liquid it is  
> not lard, strutto is unsalted pork fat (NOT pork kidney fat as he  
> translates) that is melted and clarified with water this is lard. It  
> is the difference between using bacon grease and lard (as we know  
> them).  The translation gives lardo (in it's melted form) as lard  
> and strutto as melted pork fat.  Sigh.

Lard is always confusing; it has a number of possible interpretations,  
depending on who you talk to; it's especially tough for Americans who  
are used only to dealing with a pound block or tub of rendered leaf  
lard (which _is_, or at least should be, kidney fat). Here it's  
probably a matter of deciding whether to use the word that comes  
closest to the word being used in the original, to get the best  
lyrical or colloquial sense, or the best functional match -- for  
example, I've seen modern Italians use the term "lardo" for a variety  
of prosciutto and guanciale-type products; they contain fat but are  
neither kidney/loin-based nor rendered; the main requirement seems to  
be that they should be fatty, but something cured.

> Limoncello - little lemons, there are two kinds of lemons, big ones  
> (sweet) and little ones (sour), Scully translates these as Limes, a  
> fruit NEVER associated with Italian cooking.  Think about it!

Ehhh, not exactly. I believe he says, in a footnote, something more  
like, "the text of the recipe makes it pretty clear that he's  
referring to citrons, the term for which would translate into English  
as something like 'sour limes', but in the title the 'sour' part is  
omitted, leading to some confusing vagueness". It doesn't sound to me  
like he's caught up in the error or trying to get us to do the same;  
unfortunately he's just not expressing the nature or extent of the  
error very clearly, either.

And then, there's the question of "never saying never". We're trying  
to learn something new here; it would be unfortunate to close our  
minds to some possibility simply because it's something outside of our  
experience. Questioning it, OTOH, is a good thing.

> I'm planning on putting together an article for SCA use (probably  
> send it to TI to publish but keep copyright so that it can be posted  
> around places. If you can give me the recipe/book number for the  
> salted mushroom recipes I'll look it up and let you know what I think.

I think it's Book III, Lean Dishes Other Than Fish (or some such),  
recipes 235 and 236? They refer to mushrooms in the singular, which  
may be some sort of weird grammatical thing or other translation  
issue, or maybe some particular type of really big mushroom? Or maybe  
something else that happens to share a name, or sound similar, to  
mushrooms in general or some specific mushroom type?


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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