[Sca-cooks] spoiled meat

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Tue Jul 21 03:52:57 PDT 2009

>I received the latest issue of Renaissance Magazine. In the past few issues
> they have added "the Castle Kitchen" by Alice the Cook. So far, the 
> recipes
> don't seem to have documentation but being in the magazine seems to imply
> some sort of documentation.

"Renaissance" is the general magazine for the RenFaire crowd.  The articles 
are generally written in broad strokes, so nuances and conflicting 
information often are overlooked.  It can be a fun read, but I wouldn't 
trust it as accurate.  Being published in "Renaissance" doesn't imply 
documentation, merely that the editor liked what he read and didn't spot any 
glaring errors.  Peer reviewed, no.

> Her recent recipe is Apricot Brandy Stuffed Pork.
> Here are my questions.
> 1. I had come to understand brandy was post 1630s, am I incorrect in this
> understanding?

Roughly 1300, attributed to Arnaldus Villanova at Monpellier.  Brandy in 
cooking, who knows.

> 2. She states: "In renaissance dishes from many cultures, meats and fruits
> were often combined. Originally, the sweetness of the fruits was used to
> hide the acrid smells of spoiled meat and/or to remove the saltiness of
> preserved (salted) meat. The fruits...."
> Now I know that the use of spices to cover rancid meat is a myth but what 
> of
> her statement of fruit to cover spoiled meat?

Opinion, bull.  Fruit would likely be used to offset sour and salt, meld 
flavors, and provide some mild acidity, but it won't handle rancid.

> She has written 2 cookbooks "Renaissance cooking" and "Renaissance Cooking
> II: Visiting the Silk Road". Her bio says that she recreates recipes that
> have been in the family since 1400s as well as exploring French, Spanish,
> Italian, Middle Eastern, and Indian cuisine. Plus she specializes in
> British, Irish, Scottish and Welsh cuisine. This does not help me figure 
> out
> whether I should just enjoy the recipes and take her statement with a cup 
> of
> salt or a bucket of salt.
> Thank you,
> De

Enjoy it, but unless you can verfiy a source, don't trust the historical 
claims.  Think Aresty, probably without the scholarly background.


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