[Sca-cooks] A question about meat-

Pixel, Goddess and Queen pixel at hundred-acre-wood.com
Tue Feb 16 13:09:36 PST 2010

On Tue, 16 Feb 2010, Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius wrote:
> On Feb 16, 2010, at 2:14 PM, Laura C. Minnick wrote:
>> As I mentioned just a minute ago, I'm rummaging around in Carolingian 
>> France, and I saw something interesting that sort of piqued my 
>> curiosity. 
>> Apparently, Charlemagne's doctors were after him to eat only boiled 
>> meats, but he loved roasted meat so that's what he ate, dammit! So I'm 
>> wondering, does boiling vs roasting change the fat and/or cholesterol 
>> etc ratios? Were his doctors actually on to something? I haven't been 
>> able to find any sort of answer here. (And I'd bet Bear knows where to 
>> find out...)
> Scully talks about it a lot in his books. It's [very] probably humoral, 
> as Margaret says. In general, meats of the kind that you roast in big 
> hunks are to some degree hot and dry in character, which is, in humoral 
> theory, why they are so often parboiled, larded and _then_ roasted... 
> basically to "zero them out", or bring them as close to a humorally 
> neutral or balanced state as possible. Verjuice, vinegar, parsley, and 
> ginger are generally also considered cooling, IIRC.
> Now, whether this is closer to the humoral theory of Tacuinum Sanitatis 
> or the humoral theory of Anthimus (they seem to disagree, occasionally, 
> on specifics), I couldn't say.
> Adamantius, who is not supposed to stir-fry beef with black bean sauce 
> for the same reason... chicken and seafood, yes, even pork, but not dark 
> red meat...

Pork is a cold and moist meat, while beef is hot and dry...

It's a combination of the nature of the food and the nature of the 
cooking method--roasting is hot and dry, while boiling is hot and moist. 
You want your cooked food to be as close to human nature as possible, 
i.e., slightly warm and slightly moist. This is why a lot of fish, with a 
very moist nature, is finished in the frying pan (a dry cooking method).

If Charlemagne's nature (as determined by his doctors) tended towards the 
choleric they would want him to avoid hot & dry foods and especially if
those foods were prepared using a hot & dry cooking method. Hence the 
recommendation for boiled but not roasted meat.

Margaret FitzWilliam, working on a major humoral theory research project

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