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

Elise Fleming alysk at ix.netcom.com
Fri Oct 30 16:51:27 PDT 2009

Greetings!  I think our modern view is clouding the issue here.  We 
think clay pots are something to be kept and relatively costly (to us). 
  We wouldn't toss out our pans.  But... we do.  We use disposable foil 
containers for roasting meats, baking pies, and so on.  We think nothing 
of throwing out valuable metal dishes.  To us, they cost nothing and are 

Stefan wrote:
 >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".

I helped translate the Anonymous Andalusian recipes from Spanish into 
English, and it was breaking the pot, not the seal.  Perry agreed with 
the translation of pot when he went back to the Arabic.  While the 
English don't seem to have broken pots with the frequency mentioned in 
the Anonymous Andalusian recipes, perhaps the Spanish were more 
accustomed to making cheap clay pots and using them in a disposable 
fashion.  I'm not sure that the Spanish used dough coffins with the 
frequency that the English recipes mention their use.

As to leaving fragments of clay in the food, I'm wondering if there is a 
commonality among the texture/thickness/solidity of the foods where the 
pots were broken.  I certainly wouldn't expect a broken pot with a soupy 
mixture, but I would suspect that with solid foods, and with skill, 
there wouldn't be lots of little bits of clay pot hiding in the 
resultant food.

Alys K.
Elise Fleming
alysk at ix.netcom.com

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