[Sca-cooks] seals and pike fish

Robin Carroll-Mann rcarrollmann at gmail.com
Fri Jun 4 11:55:22 PDT 2010

On Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 2:15 PM, Stefan li Rous
<StefanliRous at austin.rr.com> wrote:

>Guillaume posted two recipes from "Nuevo Arte de Cocina" which might be
> for fur seals, although I'm not sure that the directions for cooking a fur
> seal and a pike fish would be combined. The two animals seem so different.

I want to thank Guillaume for making this suggestion.  I am not
certain that the recipes he provided are for seal, but researching the
issue has caused me to identify a mistake I made in my translation of
de Nola.

The 1529 Libro de Guisados has a recipe for "Lobo de Mar" which I
translated as Wolffish.  As Guillaume points out, the Wolffish doesn't
exactly resemble a pike.  And it's a cold water fish.  So I went back
to the root text, the 1520 Libre de Coch, which is written in Catalan
(a language related to, but separate from, Spanish).  The same recipe
is labelled "Lop" (modern spelling, "Llop").  This is the Catalan word
for "wolf".  According to the modern Catalan dictionary, it's also the
short version of "Llop de Mar", another name for "Llobarro", aka
Dicentrarchus labrax, the European Seabass.  "Robalo", the modern
Spanish name for this species, appears in Diego Granado's 1599 Arte de

I think this -- or one of its relatives -- may be the fish referred to
in Nuevo Arte de Cocina.  I am fairly certain that the "Lop/Lobo de
Mar" in de Nola is not a seal.  For one thing, his instructions for
roasting it are: "And if you want to eat it roasted on the grill,
divide it in half, in such a manner that it is opened from the top
towards the bottom".    That doesn't sound to me like an instruction
for grilling a sea mammal.

It's an interesting topic, and one that illustrates how difficult it
can be to identify food animals based on old and sometimes archaic
common names.

Brighid ni Chiarain

Robin Carroll-Mann
rcarrollmann at gmail.com

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