[Sca-cooks] Last Minute Genovese Feast

Karen Lyons-McGann karenthechef at gmail.com
Sun Oct 28 21:38:17 PDT 2012

Soooo, my baronial yule autocrat modified the theme so as to make my casual
reading of Spanish and German sources over the course of the year unusable.
   We aren't just an inn on the road to/from a pilgrammage destination, (im
sure we could have found a Spanish or German Shrine to some saint or
artifact.) No.  We are on the road returning from the 1st crusade.  He
suggested since 'they went by boat from Italy' I could do an Italian Feast.
 Except, they went overland, mostly from areas that are now France.  I
already told the 12th Night cook i wouldnt do French.   (our barony is
hosting, same guild is cooking)

After a month of War, and family stuff (hello, I'm a grandma!) I finally
started wrestling with it.     I considered Byzantine/ Greek but it just
didn't seem Yule-ish.   I tried to make German work using Duke Godfrey of
Lorraine.  (he didn't return so a feast celebrating returning, well.  It
bothers me!).  I finally settled on traveling with Guglielmo Embracio
(William the Drunk) back to Genoa.  (autocrat will get Italian afterall) He
was a merchant who aided the Seige of Jerusalem by breaking up his ships to
make Seige towers.  He returned to Genoa in December 1099 to get beg for
some cash for the cause and then returned to the east.

Genoa, December 1099

I've begun with Apicius and Martino and the Neoolitan cookbook because
that's what I have.  So that's one earlier than and two later than sources.
 Not great.

I've gotten some modern books that tell me that Genoa/Liguria traditionally
uses more herbs than spices because the sailors and merchants, after asking
with the strong smelling spices don't care to eat them. that they used
chickpea and chestnut flours because the narrow bit of land between coast
and mountains was no good for growing grain. Ditto few grazing animals, a
preference for rabbits and chickens and not much cheese made locally.
 I've noted the requisite plausibly period modern recipes that back
documentation would be oh so pleasant to find. (chickpea crepes?  Walnut
and ricotta pesto? Easy to make stamped pasta disks?  Fennel, raisin  and
candied citron bread?).  I've confirmed what I thought I knew: basil pesto
is 19thC.  Although herby blend of wild herbs and greens has been around.
(and is currently used to stuff ravioli which is topped with mushroom
sauce). Also: egg frittata with green herbs.

So, I've got about a week to sort this out.   Then a week to test things
out before presenting to the guild on Nov 13.  The feast is Dec 8 and will
involve a lot of pre cooking as we can't afford to be on site as early as a
cook would wish.  (this is the 4th or 5th year so farming out dishes in
advance has been done.  ).

I'm so very, very willing to take advice.   At the moment, it seems I may
do Alician with a bit of later period and a bit of plausibly period.

Oh, and there will be ham with mustard.  There always has been and so there
always must be.  I'm OK with this.


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