[Sca-cooks] A question of philosophy

Euriol of Lothian euriol at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 6 06:55:18 PDT 2011

I suppose for myself it would depend on the situation. And for the situation you described, I would put in the cinnamon.
If you take on the context that pepper is a spice, as is cinnamon and sugar, then if you just happen to have those two ingredients on hand...
To some this might be "justifying" the use, but I do not think that a person from the middle ages would take the substitution as being out of the norm.
And sometimes it is easier to get people enthused about medieval foods by showing them that it is not so different from modern foods.


From: Claire Clarke <angharad at adam.com.au>
To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
Sent: Sunday, June 5, 2011 4:55 AM
Subject: [Sca-cooks] A question of philosophy

At an event recently I was doing a bit of adhoc cookery (you know, the 'it's
the last day, what can we make out of all the left-overs' kind of thing) and
one of the things I made was apple fritters. I was working from memory of
the period recipe, but having gone back and looked at it, I came fairly
close. At the time, someone said 'these would be great with cinnamon', which
was true (although they were pretty good anyway). But having, as I said,
gone back to look at several mediaeval (English) recipes for apple fritters,
I haven't seen any with cinnamon in them (a couple with pepper, which is
interesting). So I'm guessing the 'apples go with cinnamon' connection which
seems so automatic to us, hadn't been made in the 15th century. 

Anyway, what I'm wondering is, as period cooks, what you think the
appropriate approach should be:
    - no cinnamon if there's no cinnamon in the period recipe (the
'we're trying to give people a mediaeval experience' philosophy)
    - cinnamon makes it good so put it in (the 'we're trying to make
people's stomachs happy' philosophy)
    - put no cinnamon in the fritters but sprinkle them with cinnamon
sugar, 'cos even if it doesn't say specifically to do this with the
fritters, because they did that in period with other things (the
'desperately trying to justify oneself' philosophy)?

Personally my approach is generally the first, but I also know I have made
adjustments on other things, beyond making necessary ingredient
substitutions, incorporating what I know are more effective or safer
techniques, or using period variations on recipes. I feel rather more
resistant to making changes purely on the basis of taste (in the general
rather than specific sense). 



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