[Sca-cooks] to break or not to break is the question

Stefan li Rous StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Fri Oct 30 15:34:33 PDT 2009

Johnnae replied to me with:
<<< And of course the actual recipe is very easy to find by either
Googling or just going to His Grace's website and searching
An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century as Translated by
Charles Perry >>>

Perhaps I should have tried to look this up. But I was lazy and I  
wasn't sure whether "Stuffed, Buried Jewish Dish" was the name of the  
dish or just Cariadoc's description.

We have briefly touched on this idea of breaking a pot before to  
extract the contents. I can see a lot of reasons they would be willing  
to break a pot and a lot of reasons they wouldn't. And folks whose  
opinions I respect have stated opinions or suggestions on both sides  
of the issue. The main one against for me is, would this end up with  
fragments of cooking pot in among the food. Perhaps it is time for  
some "practical archeology" :-) But perhaps the clay is cheap, at  
least for the upper class and doesn't leave fragments in your food.

But one of the arguments for using coffyns of dough for pies is that  
they didn't have the pans necessary. It would seem that those baking  
pans would be/could be as cheap as the pot mentioned in this recipe  
and they would still be reuseable.

But are we really referring to breaking the pot, vs. breaking the (a)  
seal of dough or whatever? We've been working from a translation, not  
the original wording. What language was it originally written in?  
Could the word translate as "breaking the pot" but actually be a  
colloquialism that actually meant breaking the seal, although  
literally it means breaking the pot? There are modern examples such as  
"breaking a record".

Here is the whole translation again. But what is the original for  
"Then break the pot and put the whole mass on a dish, and cover
it with "eyes" of mint, pistachios and pine-nuts, and add spices."



A Stuffed, Buried Jewish Dish[42]
Pound some meat cut round, and be careful that there be no bones in
it. Put it in a pot and throw in all the spices except cumin, four
spoonfuls of oil, two spoonfuls of penetrating rosewater, a little
onion juice, a little water and salt, and veil it with a thick cloth.
Put it on a moderate fire and cook it with care. Pound meat as for
meatballs, season it and make little meatballs and throw them [p. 21,
recto] in the pot until they are done. When everything is done, beat
five eggs with salt, pepper, and cinnamon; make a thin layer [a flat
omelette or egg crepe; literally "a tajine"] of this in a frying pan,
and beat five more eggs with what will make another thin layer. Then
take a new pot and put in a spoonful of oil and boil it a little, put
in the bottom one of the two layers, pour the meat onto it, and cover
with the other layer. Then beat three eggs with a little white flour,
pepper, cinnamon, and some rosewater with the rest of the pounded
meat, and put this over the top of the pot. Then cover it with a
potsherd of fire[43] until it is browned, and be careful that it not
burn. Then break the pot and put the whole mass on a dish, and cover
it with "eyes" of mint, pistachios and pine-nuts, and add spices. You
might put on this dish all that has been indicated, and leave out the
rosewater and replace it with a spoonful of juice of cilantro pounded
with onion, and half a spoonful of murri naq?'; put in it all that was
put in the first, God, the Most High, willing.

THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
    Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****

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