[Sca-cooks] al-Bagdadi substitution question

Barbara Benson voxeight at gmail.com
Mon Jun 7 15:15:00 PDT 2010

I thank everyone for their thoughts,

It is unfortunate but for the sake of planning a feast the decision
regarding what kind of fig, date, lamb etc ... is predominantly made
under the very strong influence of a budget. I have $7 a head to cook
a Baronial Investiture feast for 100. My primary goal is to do
everything in my power to bring glory to my Lord's table so that we
might delight and dazzle those in attendance at this august occasion.

But compromises will have to be made - ones I would not make if I had
my druthers. I know that there are different types of figs and
different types of dates - and that the figs in my back yard are most
likely far cry from the figs that were available in period, but that
is something we deal with all of the time in recreation cooking. The
beef I buy will be corn fed the chicken factory farmed and the flour
industrially produced, it is not what I would like - but I do not have
much choice. I have not had much luck convincing the general populace
that quality is more important than quantity. The expectation is for 3
- 4 courses and if I presented 1 course of organic, locally raised,
heritage breed yadda, yadda, yadda - well I would be booed out of the
hall. And unfortunately where I live and the cost of foodstuffs means
that the expense of such things would leave me with enough money for
one course.

I totally understand the tiny seed issue - but considering this dish
also has poppy seeds in it, I didn't think that would be a problem.
And I too find the flavors to be significantly different, but I was
thinking back to a discussion we had on this list many moons ago about
what the period mindset thought about substitutions vs what the modern
mindset thought.

Dates are pretty darn expensive, and I have free figs in my freezer.
Both dates and figs are sweet and, when dried, they have a similar
texture - which is why I thought I might be able to swap them out. I
was trying to work in a period mindset and wanted to run it by the
group thought of those here on the list - to make sure that I am not
completely crazy.

In a modern light, both figs and dates are "luxury" items in that they
are pretty darn expensive and hard on the feast budget. Instead of
swapping dates for say - raisins - I thought figs might be OK because
they still convey the same tone of an expensive treat at the end of
the meal.

If the general consensus is that is a totally stupid idea then I will
probably go another direction. I would just really like to find a way
to use these figs and save the money for something else.

Serena da Riva

On Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 5:23 PM, Susan Lin <susanrlin at gmail.com> wrote:
> I find dates and figs to be completely different.  The tiny seeds in figs
> really bother some people.  There are different kinds of dates and figs - do
> you know which would have been period for the recipe and which would not or
> are you assuming that a fig is a fig and a date is a date?  Just curious.
> On Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 3:18 PM, Elaine Koogler <kiridono at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I find the flavor of figs somewhat different from that of dates...the
>> latter
>> has, for me, a darker taste.  I know that dates are, from what I have seen,
>> more frequently used in sweets like this than dates but both are period and
>> it should be ok...it would just not be a true redaction of the period
>> recipe...
>> Kiri

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