[Sca-cooks] Intent or Interpretation

Deborah Hammons mistressaldyth at gmail.com
Thu Mar 3 21:02:11 PST 2011

Actually this was one of the recipes, and the other from Sent Sovi frying
cabbage in beef fat. Thanks for the ammunition.  Salvo forth.. :-))


On Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 9:57 PM, Robin Carroll-Mann
<rcarrollmann at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 11:39 PM, Deborah Hammons
> <mistressaldyth at gmail.com> wrote:
> > The dilemma is:  A vegetable dish calls for animal fat
> > frying as the method.  If you substitute oil for a vegan version, or
> butter
> > for those a who don't care...can you still represent it as a period dish?
> I suppose it depends on the specific recipe and the culture.  In the
> period cuisine I know best -- Spanish -- many vegetable recipes
> suggest olive oil as a substitution for pork fat.  Olive oil is the
> default for Lenten versions of Spanish recipes, and Lenten recipes
> from other Christian countries use various kinds of oil.
> "Although the foods that you can make for meat days are infinite, many
> of them can be made in Lent, because in the chapters on those foods
> where I say to blend them with meat broth, those sauces or pottages
> can be thinned with salt, and oil, and water, but first you have to
> give it a boil; and in this manner, it is as good as meat broth if it
> is well-tempered with salt, and if the oil is very fine.  And in this
> manner, many foods which are served  for meat days can be made in
> Lent, and this is nothing but the custom of men to alter foods from
> one thing to another."
> Ruperto de Nola, Libro de Guisados (Spain, 1529)
> Translation copyright Robin Carroll-Mann
> Now let's look at his recipe for chopped spinach, which calls for the
> vegetable to be fried in bacon fat.
> "You must take spinach and clean it, and wash it very well, and give
> it a brief boil with water and salt; then press it very well between
> two chopping-blocks, then chop it very small.  And then gently fry it
> in bacon fat; and when it is gently fried, put it in a pot on the
> fire, and cook it; and cast in the pot: good broth of mutton, and of
> bacon which is very fatty and good, only the flower of the pot; and if
> by chance you wish it, in place of the broth, cast upon it milk of
> goats or sheep, and if not, of almonds; and take the bacon, and cut it
> into pieces the size of fingers, and cast them in the pot with the
> spinach; and depending on what the season it is, if you wish, cast in
> fresh cheese; you may do it likewise, like the abovementioned slices
> of bacon; and if you put in a great deal, do not put it in until the
> spinach is entirely cooked, and cast this in a little before dishing
> it out; and if you wish also to cast in tender raisins which are
> cooked, you can do it all around the spinach; and if you do not wish
> to put in these things, neither bacon nor grated cheese of Aragon,
> cast parsley and mint with it likewise; and the spinach will be
> better."
> There are a lot of possible variations on this recipe: broth or milk
> (animal or almond milk), pieces of bacon or not, cheese or not, etc.
> There is NO mention of using oil to fry the spinach, but I believe
> that the first passage I quoted gives me "permission" to do so.  I
> believe I can make a Lenten version of this recipe with olive oil and
> consider it period.
> Brighid ni Chiarain
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