[Sca-cooks] Simple plates was Size of Trenchers

Barbara Benson voxeight at gmail.com
Sun Jul 5 10:27:15 PDT 2009

I have not seen this reference, but I doubt that they were using
parchment for this purpose. If the reference is to "paper" plates then
it is most likely actually paper. Paper was being manufactured in
Spain as early as 1150 and the first of the Fabriano mills were
established in Italy in 1276 with paper being recorded as being used
in the same Italian area as early as 1154. By the 1400's paper would
have been widely available and used in Italy as well as many of the
other European countries.

It was considerably less expensive to manufacture than parchment and
would have been seen as "disposable" whereas parchment was much more
highly valued for it's other uses. I would love to hear more about
this reference to paper plates - paper things are one of my "special"
interests and particularly challenging due to their very ephemeral

Serena da Riva

On Sun, Jul 5, 2009 at 11:57 AM, David Walddon<david at vastrepast.com> wrote:
> I have to dig through my books but I am fairly certain that I have a
> reference to "paper" plates (oiled parchment?) being used as an plate in
> Italy in the 1400's. IIRC it was Venetian.
> Does anyone else recall the reference?
> Otherwise I will start digging.
> We are having a Scappi cooking day today so it might be tomorrow.
> Eduardo
> On 7/5/09 8:45 AM, "Bronwynmgn at aol.com" <Bronwynmgn at aol.com> wrote:
>> In a message dated 7/5/2009 11:28:05 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
>> dephelps at embarqmail.com writes:
>> <<Perhaps an alternative solution to the original question might be in how
>> meals were served in inns of the period or at sea in period and later.   At
>> sea common meals were, if the evidence from the Mary Rose is examined,
>> served on billets of wood with a shallow hollow carved into them.  These
>> might or might not have been turned and thus dish shaped round.  Such could
>> be done relatively cheaply out of pine boards as rectangle "plates",
>> branded
>> and sealed.  They would of course require collection and washing up.  >>
>> But is there a method of cleaning these that would satisfy the food safety
>> inspectors (who do inspect the food shops at Pennsic) and not destroy the
>> billet after a few washings?  In my experience, wooden feast gear does not get
>> along well with dishwashers, and I suspect that a food safety inspector
>> wouldn't be too keen on hand-washng them.  So renewing them would be a
>> significant expense in time and money.
>> A friend of mine has been known to use non-pocket pita bread as a
>> "trencher".  Perhaps an option would be to offer the pita alone, or pita with
>> a paper
>> plate under it for those who are more concerned about dropping their food
>> or getting their hands dirty.
>> Also, using trenchers or billets limits you to either solid or pretty darn
>> thick foods.  Soups or stews would need a bowl of some sort.
>> Brangwayna Morgan
>> Shire of Silver Rylle, East Kingdom
>> Lancaster, PA
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