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

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Sat Oct 31 12:53:49 PDT 2009

On Oct 31, 2009, at 2:19 PM, Cheri or Anne wrote:

> I'm just wondering if it would be akin to baking a chicken in clay  
> on a fire?
> Just a thought.
> anne

Probably. My suspicion is that while ceramic pots, and even terra  
cotta, are something of a fancy foodie commodity now, they were cheap,  
plentiful, and easily replaced in many of the cultures our period  
recipes represent. I STR Le Menagier speaks of throwing away burnt  
pots (as well as the plethora of period references to putting foods  
into a new, clean, "fair" pot).

Talk to anyone using or making period-type clay pots today, and within  
minutes you get a dozen horror stories of pots that cracked when  
improperly used, placed too near the coals, or through simple  

Now note the Islamic recipes that speak of using a hot potshard as a  
means of browning foods on the top without an oven or broiler; I  
suspect broken clay pots were an everyday thing for these people,  
rather like coming up with uses for stale bread.

Broken potshards also turn up as rubble for filling hollow wall  
structures, for example.

If a recipe says to break the pot, my suspicion is that if the  
translation is accurate, they probably mean exactly that; or at least  
the seeming outlandishness of the statement to us is no reason to  
assume the translation is wrong.

Well, back to fooling around with salmon heads and bones, and  


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list