[Sca-cooks] Break the pot

Karstyl karstyl at gmail.com
Fri Oct 30 14:49:28 PDT 2009

Suey wrote:
> Hrefna wrote:
>> Porous pots are not necessarily non-hygienic. . . .
> I have never seen a PS saying do not throw out a tagine cause one wants 
> the flavors to transfer from on one dish to the next. I have only seen 
> 'break the pot'.
> A curious point is that we have to break the pot in Spain where pots 
> were clay or of other materials. During the Middle Ages, Spain was 
> exporting clay pots to England. I do not recall any English recipes 
> calling for breaking those pots. Do you?
> Also I cannot find my reference but I clearly remember someone between 
> the 13th C Al-Andalus MS and Nola saying that the cooks did not trust 
> the dishwashers. They took the pots outside and lay them on the ground 
> bottom side up so the pots acquired the bad elements from the earth!
> When you publish that ditty make sure you quote me hey ;-) !
> Suey

The note about tagine's is one from modern sources, but I used it as a 
point of what is carried over in an unglazed clay pot. I have, and use, 
a few unglazed clay pots. I never fear poisoning my guests.

It would make more sense for an area that made more pots to treat them 
as more disposable. I do know that there were pots being made in Britain 
throughout the middle ages, that is where I have studied pottery forms 
the most. They had both production centers and at home/small town 
potters. I would think that the fuel to fire the pots would be way more 
expensive then the clay and the labor to make them, so maybe Spain had 
more fuel, or cheaper fuel. Imported pots were always more expensive, 
they are heavy, bulky, and break easily. There were imported pots, but 
many of the home cooking hearth pots were not imported. (I would add 
sources, but I am on my way out to a Halloween party, and am still 
sewing my costume.)

Most of the 'break the pot' recipes I remember have to do with the 
contents solidifying and the neck being smaller then the body, so if you 
did not want to break up your food, you would have to break the pot.

The bit about cooks not trusting the pot washers with the clay pots 
shows that they did wash them, if they were never washed then you would 
not complain about the washers!


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