[Sca-cooks] whisks

edoard at medievalcookery.com edoard at medievalcookery.com
Tue Jul 13 06:58:34 PDT 2010

> -------- Original Message --------
> Question about the whisk.  So far as I know they didn't have our modern
> equivalent but (IIRC) at least one of the German recipes for 'schnee' or
> 'snow' or some other beaten egg white recipe calls for the use of a besom,
> which I gather would perhaps be like a small broom-like bundle of thin
> branches that could be used to whip much like a whisk.  Am I on the wrong
> mental track here?  Should I track down where I read this and share? If it
> was a kitchen implement, why wouldn't they use it when needed? 

I didn't come across the German recipe in a quick search, but I did find
a similar French one:

To make snow. Take a pot of new cream, 4 ounces of sugar, 4 ounces of
rose water: take a little white broom like a large handful of twigs, &
beat very strongly the cream half an hour long, then let it rest, & you
will see scum form thereon like snow: then take a skimmer, & skim the
snow off, & put it on a plate, a trencher thereunder, after resting
taste the snow, & beat again the cream like before, until you have
enough snow: then put it into little plates, a branch of rosemary
therein, & serve so. [Ouverture de Cuisine (France, 1604)]

There are also these earlier English recipes that modify a stick to make
a simple whisk:

To make a dyschefull of Snowe. Take a pottell of swete thycke creame and
the whytes of eyghte egges, and beate them altogether wyth a spone, then
putte them in youre creame and a saucerfull of Rosewater, and a dyshe
full of Suger wyth all, then take a stycke and make it cleane, and than
cutte it in the ende foure square, and therwith beate all the aforesayde
thynges together, and ever as it ryseth take it of and put it into a
Collaunder, this done take one apple and set it in the myddes of it, and
a thicke bushe of Rosemary, and set it in the myddes of the platter,
then cast your Snowe uppon the Rosemarye and fyll your platter therwith.
And yf you have wafers caste some in wyth all and thus serve them
forthe. [A Proper New Booke of Cookery (England, 1557)]

Take a pottle of sweet thick Cream, and the white of eight Egs, and
beate them altogither with a spooone, then put them into your Creme with
a dish full of Rosewater and a dish full of Sugar withall, then take a
stick and make it clean, and then cut it in the end four square, and
therwith beat all the aforesaid things togither, and ever as it ariseth,
take it off, and put it into a Cullender, this doon, take a platter and
set an Apple in the midst of it, and stick a thick bush of Rosemary in
the Apple. Then cast your Snow upon the Rosemary & fill your platter
therwith, and if you have wafers, cast some withall, and so serve them
foorth.  [A Book of Cookrye (England, 1591)]

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