[Sca-cooks] Spices in meals: a thought and a question

jenne at fiedlerfamily.net jenne at fiedlerfamily.net
Tue May 5 07:23:44 PDT 2009

> If you can smell your neighbours' armpits at 20 feet, can you only
> stomach that lovely slice of venison if it is smothered in a very
> aromatic and spicy sauce?

Since underarm deodorant wasn't manufactured until the 20th century, and
daily immersion bathing wasn't practiced until well into the 20th century,
one can safely assume that there's nothing specifically *more* stinky
about the pre-seventeenth century as opposed to the nineteenth century
(whose food was notoriously bland).

Now, the late 16th and early seventeenth century, when massive personal
and room scenting with distinctive items like musk, civet, ambergris, and
lavender (as well as lots of rose) *might* have required more spices for
the user to NOTICE them; but the cookbooks of the time don't actually
reflect this as far as I can tell.

As for the mid-to-late seventeenth century and early 18th century (where
upper class people paranoid about plagues were urged to 'wash' only by
wiping themselves down with DRY linen and changing their undergarments,
that'd be even stinkier than our period of study.

-- Jenne Heise / Jadwiga Zajaczkowa
jenne at fiedlerfamily.net

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list