[Sca-cooks] Leftovers, questions and discussion [long]

Huette von Ahrens ahrenshav at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 7 19:56:32 PDT 2010

Thank you Johnnae!

I think I have two of the books you mentioned somewhere and obviously haven't gotten around to reading them yet.  I will have to change that.

As for the oven thing, I was going to add that to my arguments, but then the Barony is heavily into cast iron cookery and I could just imagine them stating that one could bake in cast iron dutch ovens or fry the pasties instead.  I just didn't want to get into that argument or mention that cast iron wasn't period either.  Sigh.


--- On Tue, 9/7/10, Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com> wrote:

> From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>
> Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Leftovers, questions and discussion [long]
> To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
> Date: Tuesday, September 7, 2010, 5:31 PM
> Now as to peasant diets and
> leftovers, I am afraid I see this as two questions.
> Who had leftovers? The status of leftovers?
> If you start with leftovers, and look in OED one is
> instructed to look up leave (verb) and that leads to:
>  e. leave over. trans. To allow to remain for future use;
> to let ‘stand over’ for subsequent consideration. Freq.
> in pa. pple. left over, remaining, not used up.
> 1887 Times (weekly ed.) 14 Oct. 3/2 He thought the matter
> might be left over for the present.
> 1892 ‘MARK TWAIN’ Amer. Claimant xii. 107 Irish stew
> made of the potatoes and meat left over from a procession of
> previous meals.
> left-over, a. and n. shows up as
> B. n. Something remaining over; esp. a portion of some
> article of food left over from a meal. Freq. pl. Also
> transf.
> 1891 Cassell's Family Mag. May 374/1 They all like change
> of diet, so I provide all sorts of things, with the result
> that the ‘left-overs’, as I call them, are appalling.
> So the term is 19th century.
> ---
> They may have dined on the remains of a previous meal, but
> they didn't dine on a left-over.
> and
> What did the peasants eat?
> You might check out these titles:
> Adamson, Melitta Weiss.  Food in Medieval Times. 
> Greenwood Press, 2004.
> Dyer, Christopher.  "Did the Peasants Really Starve in
> Medieval England?"  in Food and Eating in Medieval
> Europe, ed. Martha Carlin and Joel T.Rosenthal. 
> Hambledon Press, 1998.
> for the urban poor
> Carlin, Martha.  "Fast Food and Urban Living Standards
> in Medieval England." in Food and Eating in Medieval Europe,
> ed. Martha Carlin and Joel T. Rosenthal.  Hambledon
> Press, 1998.
> (One might ask where all the ovens and the fuel for said
> ovens were to bake all those leftover containing pasties
> should the conversation again turn to that topic.)
> Johnnae
> On Sep 7, 2010, at 6:57 PM, Huette von Ahrens wrote:
> snipped
>  Then someone said that pasties were the best way to use up
> leftovers.  I wrote back and said that I could find no
> evidence of this at all.
> > 
> > This discussion then digressed into the "lack of
> evidence was not evidence of lack" argument, with most
> saying that who knew what the peasants did? 
> Unfortunately a local duchess popped in an said that it made
> perfect sense to her that people would eat their leftovers
> that way.
> > 
> > My contention with this was that peasants had to be
> better food managers than we modern people have to be
> because they did not have refrigeration or any way to keep
> leftovers.  It was my contention that a peasant wife,
> knowing how many mouths to feed, would only serve enough to
> feed her family and not have leftovers.  It was my
> contention that if she had made a mistake, either they would
> eat the rest, or, if the dish didn't taste good, feed it to
> their dogs or pigs, or she could use whatever was leftover
> to make a soup or pottage for the morning, cooking it over
> the dying hearthfire.
> > 
> > I haven't really based any of this last argument on
> anything other than research I had done years ago.  I
> can properly document how food gets distributed in a royal
> or noble house, but my knowledge of peasant ways isn't as
> good.
> > 
> > Although the argument has ceased on the Baronial list,
> I keep wondering about the concept of leftovers by the lower
> classes.  Am I even in the ballpark?  Or am I way
> off base here?  Does anyone have ideas or books I can
> look at to see how leftovers were treated?
> > 
> > Thanks.
> > 
> > Huette
> > 
> > 
> > 
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