[Sca-cooks] medieval jerky

Suey lordhunt at gmail.com
Tue Apr 10 13:38:21 PDT 2012

Ailleagan wrote:

" I am working on a project involving medieval beef jerky. . . Does 
anyone here know of any extant recipes or descriptions for dried beef?
This is what I have:

*cecina*, OCast /çeçina/, Eng. jerky. The Leonese cured meat originated 
in the village of Cierzo, known to be a cold area but Montoro in 
_Cancionaro _claims that the origin is Jewish as they used it instead of 
salt pork and ham. It was known as a Jewish item as far south as 
Cordoba. Actually, jerked meat in southern regions meant salted meat. It 
is principally from beef and goat. This cured or jerked meat is the 
color of molasses. It is found especially in Astorga and had become one 
of the most important gastronomic dishes in the entire province of León 
by the 10^th C at least. Then beef jerky was sold in the markets of 
León. Historically, it is peasant food as the majority of households 
annually slaughtered a cow and two pigs to make homemade cured meats, 
including jerky, and for fresh meat as well. It is an ancestral food 
item of austere populations and known previously as castrated meat (of 
goat, lamb and/or roe deer). The oldest animals of the herd are fattened 
during three months in the farmyard for this purpose. It is then 
slaughtered between St. Martin's Day (November 11^th ) and the 
Immaculate Conception (December 8^th ). The meat is cured by placing the 
pieces in a trough and covering it with salt for 24 hours in order to 
absorb an adequate amount. Then the salt is brushed off. The meat is 
then marinated for 24 hours in a mixture of salt, long pepper, wine, 
garlic, thyme, oregano and nutmeg. Then it is prepared to hang from a 
kitchen beam or rafter.Sas believes that stanza 2255b of /Libro de 
Alexandre /should read: after the jerked meat was hung, the roots for 
kindling were brought [in January], i.e. /çenisa/(ash) is a 
transcription error and the word should be /çeçina/. The meat is cured 
by buring holm oak branches and cabbage stumps in the kitchen fireplace. 
With the arrival of spring, the people begin to eat the pieces. Instead 
of such a long smoking process, jerky may be aired for 14 months in the 
wind on a mountain peak. Lambjerky is thought to be the most delicious. 
That of goat is the toughest. Game too was cured in this way. Jerky, 
also, is cured in a similar fashion since time immemorial in the 
Highlands of Scotland. To be called a "jerk" in León or Scotland, must 
be a compliment. 2. an animal designated for cecina during its lifetime. 
[Castro. _Alimentación_. 1996:249; _Dialecto_. 1947:174; ES: "Cecina de 
León." Nov 25, 02; ES: Fortun. Mar 8, 02; ES: Sartori. Oct. 2, 02; ES: 
Wilson. Jun 9, 02; Bercero/Janer. 1983:271:2255b; Montoro/Ciceri. 
1991:200-203; Sánchez-Albornoz. 2000:34:39; Sas. 1976:130; and Tapiello. 

In other words if you find a current recipe it will be the same as in 
the Middle Ages - in rural areas at least.


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