[Sca-cooks] A question about meat-

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Tue Feb 16 20:43:48 PST 2010

The information about Charlemagne is from Einhard's The Life of Charlemagne 
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/einhard.html .  Einhard was a 
contemporary of Charlemagne and served in several capacities in Chalemagne's 

As I understand it, moist/dry are qualities of food stuffs (and other 
things) that need to be balanced in relation to to four humors (blood, 
phlegm, yellow bile and black bile).  Youths are moist while adults get 
progressively drier as they age.  Beef has the quality of being dry that 
becomes drier with roasting, moister with boiling.  So to maintain the 
correct mixture of food qualities for balancing the humors of an aging 
adult, meat, especially beef which is one of the driest meats, needs to be 
cooked in a moist manner.  I don't think the cooking method would do much to 
the lipoprotein levels found in the meat, where switching from beef to fish 
would.  Wanna bet who won the roasting argument?

I use Powell, Galen On the Properties of Foodstuffs for most of my humoral 
information, but there are a couple of pricier books on humoral theory which 
are probably better.  Devra had them in stock about a year ago when I saw 
her at ICG.

I've had a couple of insanely busy weeks culimanting today with fitting a 
permanent crown that has been waiting on my sinuses for two months.  It's 
good to have time finally to get back in the conversation.


> 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...)
> 'Lainie

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