[Sca-cooks] seals and pike fish

Sam Wallace guillaumedep at gmail.com
Fri Jun 4 13:44:47 PDT 2010


It sounds as though you had a good time in the search! I have been
doing a bit of research since my intial post. The translation has been
bothering me. In doing so, I found a reference that Platina had also
written recipes for seal and scorpion, too. I had not heard of any
such thing and had a look at Platine en Francoys. I believe the
"scorpion" in question turns out to be scorpionfish or another rock
fish. The "seal" - loup de mer - translates to sea bass, with lots of
description about the animal. My guess us that the French and Spanish
"sea wolf" terms were equivalent and both meant what we refer to as
sea bass and that at some point in the 19th or 20th century there was
a shift in what it meant in Spanish.

Thanks for the additional information. I have time this weekend to
work on some translation projects. With any luck, I will be able to
wrap this one up.



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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