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

Phil Troy SCA adamantius1 at verizon.net
Wed Sep 8 20:03:55 PDT 2010

Maybe we need to distinguish between the reality that food was adulterated in various ways, for which we have records of severe penalties to prove the reality of it, and the idea that such foods would be disguised with imported spices far too valuable in their own right to make it practical.

So when we talk about the myth of heavy spicing being used to disguise off flavors of turning meat, we're addressing something pretty specific: a probably specious claim that medieval food is very heavily spiced (no real evidence it was, for whatever reason) in order to disguise rot -- it would not normally be cost-effective. In addition, just because these people didn't have refrigeration as we do, it doesn't mean they didn't practice hygiene and seasonal slaughtering to advantage.


Sent from my iPod

On Sep 8, 2010, at 4:35 PM, David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com> wrote:

>> It is not a 'myth' as much as just not as commonly practiced as sometimes
>> claimed.  In general, people don't try to disguise the 'off flavor' of
>> spoilage in the food they plan to eat themselves.  But, as long as there
>> have been unscrupulous cooks, they've tried to disguise the spoilage of food
>> they serve to others.
> Could be.
> But spices in our period were imported and expensive.  However unscrupulous the cook, it doesn't make a lot of sense to use ten pennies worth of spices in order not to have to throw out one penny worth of meat.
> And, so far as I know, there is no evidence that they did.
> -- 
> David/Cariadoc
> www.daviddfriedman.com
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