[Sca-cooks] Questions on coffee

Gretchen Beck grm at andrew.cmu.edu
Wed Jan 27 06:44:28 PST 2010

--On Wednesday, January 27, 2010 7:30 AM -0700 edoard at medievalcookery.com
>> -------- Original Message --------
>> From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius" 
>> And in the end, some of this might be akin, in terms of social impact,
>> to finding that buried Tudor banana peel; are we, as researchers,
>> looking for the "gotcha" experience, neener neener, or a more accurate
>> overall representation of everyday life in our period?
> Add to this that the blanket question "Is [x] period?" can be so
> generalized as to be pointless - it leaves out the important specifics
> of where and when.  If you use "average medieval Europe" as a guideline
> then no, coffee is not period.  It wasn't consumed in the typical
> European culture throughout the middle ages.  If you use "ever consumed
> anywhere that had any contact with Europe in the time period before
> 1650" then coffee (along with just about any African, Asian, or American
> foodstuff) is "period".
> I find the whole "Ferderic of Lyon once wrote in his journal that he had
> pifflefish while visiting Lilliput in 1648, so pifflefish is period!" to
> be a disingenuous exercise for the sole purpose of justifying the
> individual's choices in the SCA context.
> - Doc (who's feeling cranky today)

All true -- but it is a way of thinking encouraged by the entire social
structure of the SCA. The fact that in one room we have Vikings rubbing
elbows with 16th C Dutch tradesmen, who are fighting next to the Spartan
regiment, who are camped next to the "we're peasants, but we're really
fairies" crowd makes it a very difficult mold to break outside the large
research context (and even sometimes within it).  Now, I'm not saying this
is good or bad (I know the argument that one brings up), just pointing it

And, the context has been true of several threads lately -- not just
coffee. Sandwichs, Mac and Cheese, etc. The names all evoke a food fixed in
the average everyday American kitchen, even if there is a recipe in a
pre-1600 cookbook for a dish that is similar in construction.

toodles, margaret

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