[Sca-cooks] Vinegar circa 9th c. CE + musk

Tre trekatz at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 21 00:16:37 PDT 2012

While I don't know specifically about wine vinegar, I had an interesting experience with cider vinegar recently.

My husband makes cider and we had a batch go to vinegar, so I saved it to use for some of my SCA cooking. I made a cucumber salad for a recent event which I've made before with commercial cider vinegar. Usually, if I soak the cucumbers longer than a few hours, it comes out very tart. This time, using our homemade vinegar, I soaked them for several days, and still had some sweetness left. I was actually worried about it a bit, because the vinegar was MUCH sweeter than commercial vinegar...but it worked out really well.

Also, as far as thinning a recipe with wine to cut the vinegar, that's how we fixed a sauce that I made that was too tart. We thinned it with white wine and got a good flavor.

 From: "lilinah at earthlink.net" <lilinah at earthlink.net>
To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org 
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 11:18 PM
Subject: [Sca-cooks] Vinegar circa 9th c. CE + musk

Certain recipes in the Arabic language cookbooks feature cooking in wine vinegar. When i cooked one such recipe for a cooking competition, i diluted the vinegar with half as much water and some judges still thought it was too vinegary.

I am considering cooking a version of Sikbaj for my upcoming Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq feast. It was considered something of the king of dishes. It involves cooking a wide range of meats in wine vinegar - with some spices, of course, and some other ingredients. One Sikbaj recipe involves beef + a whole lamb in kneeling position + a kid in hunks + a whole chicken + some pullets + quails + sparrows (and garnished with cheese). If i cook Sikbaj i'll do a simpler version that uses two unspecified kinds of meat - i'm thinking of lamb and beef.

So once again i am wondering about the nature of vinegar 1,000 years ago. It seems to me it just had to be milder than our commercial standardized distilled vinegar, or some of these dishes cooked in vinegar would be less than delightful. I'm considering mixing wine vinegar with wine or raisin juice, so it won't lose as much flavor as it will mixed with water. Anyone know about earlier, probably undistilled, vinegars so i can make a reasonable ?


Also, several Sikbaj recipes call for musk, which is largely unavailable and definitely unaffordable. I keep searching for a safe-to-eat substitute and the closest i've come are the mythical Australian musk life savers, which i've never seen, let alone tasted. Anyone have any ideas for food safe musk flavor - or know where i can order a packet of said life savers post haste?

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