[Sca-cooks] Search Techniques

Euriol of Lothian euriol at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 4 10:19:15 PDT 2012

A very interesting question you pose.

I recall when I assisted with the prep work for the first Jingles Feast (early 1990s, Province of Southern Shores, West Kingdom) that the head cook had been working with a book. This is when I first learned that there was published material to be had. I remember early on getting a copy of Miscellany, Take a Thousand Eggs or More, and the Collection that Cariadoc & Elizabeth had made available. I would read these resources and found what inspired me.

Slowly my library has grown over the years, and continues to do so.

I then found email groups like this one and collected emails when someone shared a new source or a new book. I then took time to organize all this information and put it together on my website and now have a list of books and links to various facsimiles, transcriptions and translations. These have become my starting point for searching things today.

I also find that now when I search for recipes, my approach is dictated by the purpose of the recipe. Is it for a feast, a competition, an article?

My most recent feast, the theme was recipes from "Forme of Cury" so I started with an outline of the menu (i.e First course: Meat Dish, Vegetable Dish, Pasta/Grain Dish) and then looked at the eBook of it on Google Books published by Samuel Pegge. After choosing the recipes that I wanted to fill the slots of the menu, I then looked at a facsimile of the manuscript and compared the two side by side.

I don't ask questions very often about searching for information on the various social media we have available to us now (email groups, Facebook, etc.).

I will do a "Google Search" when I'm attempting to do some of the translations of particular terms these days, but that occurs after I have a recipe already selected. Those searches are usually done in Google Books though and not a generic Google search.

The growth of my personal library of printed books has slowed over the years, but not for want of having more books, simple fact is that I'm the mother of two teenage boys and they can be expensive at times. 

I'm very glad to have so much available on the web with the eBooks, Facsimiles, Transcriptions and Translations; and I rely upon these resources heavily.


 From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org> 
Sent: Thursday, October 4, 2012 11:38 AM
Subject: [Sca-cooks] Search Techniques
This may seem a bit offbeat, but I thought maybe this list might like the topic.

For a talk I am scheduled to give at a cookery conference down the road, 
I have been looking once more into the larger question of how people go looking for information on historical Medieval and Renaissance cookery, foods, and/or recipes.

Where do you look for information and ideas on medieval foods and feasts in 2012 as opposed to say back in 2002 or 1992? The web and lists first? 
Have the lists of yesteryear been supplanted by Facebook?

If seeking information, do you post the query before attempting to look on your own? 
Or do you Google first? Is this being driven by use of cellphones and not computers? Is it easier to post the query than to search
on the smartphone? Do people also not respond to a query now because it's harder to do so from a smartphone? 

How about Resources at home? Do you buy fewer books? 
How about using Resources/databases through a library? Do you ever look through a book at home first?

How have your search techniques changed?

Medieval recipes? Do you look at books at home first or turn
to the web?  Which sites do you use and trust? 
Have you dropped out of researching ? After an N number of years, you no longer care to keep up with the field. You've retired.

I was told recently that someone did all of his/her medieval cookery research for an SCA "cookbook"
by using Yahoo and the term "medieval". The author didn't check the validity of the sources. 
Yahoo was good enough! "All of the information [needed] is just there!" 
When questioned if this was good enough, the author was of the opinion that everyone's research was equally valid  and ok because this
was the SCA. 

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