[Sca-cooks] Myth of Spoiled Meat

Euriol of Lothian euriol at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 20 08:37:02 PST 2009

Well there was at least one spice that was readily available throughout most of Europe to just about everyone, I suspect, and that was mustard. Two of the three species of mustard plants are native to Europe according to The Penguin Companion to Food. Most of the pre-17th century culinary texts I've looked at have at least one recipe for mustard sauce.

One of the things I struggle with is the concept that a cook of these time periods would be trying to "cover the flavors" of other ingredients. Yes, certainly herbs (fresh & dried) were used but when I've looked at a 16th century herbal it discusses the humor of the particular herbs. I think it was far more about, in the cook's mind, balancing the humors of the food to the person and situation in which is being served.


 Euriol of Lothian, OP
Clerk, Order of the Pelican, Kingdom of Æthelmearc
Chronicler, Barony of Endless Hills

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy."
-Robindranath Tagore, Poet/Playwright/Essayist 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature

----- Original Message ----
From: Ian Kusz <sprucebranch at gmail.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Sent: Fri, November 20, 2009 12:28:31 AM
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Myth of Spoiled Meat

I have a question, though, about the availability of spices.

Not all things used to flavor food are, necessarily, imported.

Garlic can be grown throughout most of the world, and is included in many
old recipes.  Sorrel has a strong flavor.  Mint is also quite strong.  I
wonder if one can use these and other herbs (too many to list), as "spices"
to cover the other flavors of meat, whether it is gaminess, or what have
you.  Also, wouldn't these be more available to the poor?

On Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 12:54 PM, Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com> wrote:

> My post to Top Chef citing medievalcookery.com for something
> Top Chef should look at wasn't published.
> Johnnae
> On Nov 18, 2009, at 2:21 PM, Elise Fleming wrote:
> Greetings!  If anyone would like to have some facts to explain away the
>> myth of spoiled meat and spices, take a look at Doc's "Drummond's Rotten
>> Meat: When Good Sources Go Bad".  It's at
>> http://www.medievalcookery.com/notes/drummond.pdf and, while some of you
>> may have already found it (and his web site), perhaps there are a number of
>> others who might appreciate having a logical and well-written article to
>> back up our contention that spoiled meat being covered up with spices is
>> just a myth.  I am absolutely impressed with the article and how the
>> material is presented.
>> Alys K.
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Ian of Oertha
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