[Sca-cooks] Early Period varieties of vegetables

Dan Schneider schneiderdan at ymail.com
Wed Apr 25 22:18:16 PDT 2012

Hej Tre,

Ah yes, carrots (and parsnips for that matter)-at least their use as food-are a seriously debated subject among VA foodies. There are a fair few people who maintain they weren't eaten at all (as opposed to being used medicinally), and even among the "eat them" side, there are lots of different views about what colours would be available. I know there were wild carrots found in a privy excavation in York, so if you're wanting only documentable foods, I'd go with wild, or small white ones; last year I found a pack of mixed colour seeds, and used those. 

In terms of cabbages vs kale, all I can offer is the fact that in Swedish, the word for kale is kål (pron "coal") and the names of all the other brassicas (except turnips) are derived from that: grönkål and vitkål (cabbages), kålrot(swede), blomkål (cauliflour) etc. To me, this is a pretty clearindication that kale was the original brassica and the others came in later. When cabbages came in I'm not so sure, but I'd say that your'e definitely right in assuming that kale is safe enough.

 On Thu, 4/26/12, Tre <trekatz at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Hmm...thanks. I may rethink the
> purple carrots then, and just use parsnips instead, as part
> of my research is showing that carrots and parsnips were
> almost interchangeable for a while, since they were very
> similar. I'll do further research first, though, as I keep
> finding conflicting information. (Currently I'm looking up
> information specifically on the history of carrots.)
> Thanks for the guess about the onions, too. I may try using
> shallots. I may actually be able to find something close to
> a wild onion, though. A yellow onion, though, seems to be
> the flavor I'm looking for.
> If head cabbages were available...what KIND of head cabbage?
> I've found pointy ones, round ones, and ones with dark,
> veiny leaves... and the red ones. It's the same problem I
> have with onions. "Cabbage" is a wide term, and the flavors
> and textures vary greatly.
> ________________________________
>  From: Terry Decker <t.d.decker at att.net>
> To: Tre <trekatz at yahoo.com>;
> Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 10:32 PM
> Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Early Period varieties of
> vegetables
> Purple carrots are an Asiatic varietal and are wrong for
> Viking/Anglo-Saxon. The European carrot of the day was the
> white carrot, Queen Anne's Lace. Colored carrots enter
> Europe from Spain several hundred years after.
> For onion, I would suggest a small yellow, as wild onions
> are near impossible to find, or shallots.  Don't worry too
> much about varieties.
> Kale is fine, but head cabbages were also available.
> For digging out the information try starting with:  The
> Cambridge World History of Food, The Oxford Companion to
> Food, and Pliny's Natural Histories.
> Bear
> > I looked in the florilegium and didn't see
> anything...but I may have missed it.
> > 
> > I'm trying to find varieties of several vegetables that
> would be at least close to the viking/anglo-saxon
> varieties.
> > 
> > I already found a source for purple carrots, so plan to
> use those.
> > 
> > I'm looking at Cabbage, and thinking of possibly using
> kale instead of modern cabbage, as some of what I'm seeing
> says that early cabbage was more leafy and less head.
> > 
> > 
> > I know several of my recipes call specifically for
> leeks, and that isn't a problem, but other recipes call for
> onions, and I was wondering what variety might be closest to
> what was available.
> > 
> > 
> > Has anyone done research into this, or have any ideas
> as to where I could find the information?
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