[Sca-cooks] seals and pike fish

Sam Wallace guillaumedep at gmail.com
Sat Jun 5 14:02:13 PDT 2010


It sounds as though you had a good time in the search! I have been doing 
a bit of research since my initial 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 

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
> Cocina.
> 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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