[Sca-cooks] Sambos, Zambos and Adaptations

Elise Fleming alysk at ix.netcom.com
Thu Sep 6 06:10:16 PDT 2012

Greetings!  The translated recipe for “espinacas picadas” says “fresh 
cheese” (“queso fresco”), at least in the versions I’ve seen.  “Cream 
cheese” (or “queso filadelfia”) has a different connotation today, at 
least in the US.  Might Mexican “queso fresco” or “queso blanco” be 
closer to a “fresh cheese” than the modern cream cheese?   And, near the 
end of the translated recipe, it implies that the “fresh cheese” is the 
same as – or similar to – “grated cheese of Aragon”.  Any idea what 
“queso de Aragon rayado” might have been?

What about a recipe for making your own?  There’s a good recipe at 
http://medievalcookery.com/recipes/cheese.html.  It isn’t really like 
what is sold as “cream cheese” today.

Regarding including an original recipe, what about including the URL for 
any online recipes that you use?  This would simplify knowing where to 
find the original – either in the original language or in an English 
translation – and you wouldn’t need to include the actual translation in 
your blog.

Perhaps a question should be how much adaptation can – or should - be 
done to a medieval recipe for it to fall under the aegis of “adapted 
medieval recipe”?  Can olive oil be added when no oil is listed as any 
ingredient?  Can frying be called for when an ingredient is not fried? 
Can raspberries be used when the original recipe calls for honey, sugar 
and cinnamon?  If all these are in one “adapted medieval recipe”, is 
this too much “adaptation”?   I don’t think we will all agree on how 
much “adaptation” is appropriate and still have the recipe be true to 
the medieval mindset.

As to Little Black Sambo/Zambo being perceived as racist, that is the 
case here in the US.  The artistic depictions are of a nappy-headed 
little black/negro boy (even though the original was Southern Indian, I 
believe).  You may not be aware that there was a chain of restaurants 
here (one was in my town) that was originally called "Sambos". They had 
an exterior sign showing a little negro boy and the tigers.  After a few 
years, there was an outcry by the Black community - so much so that the 
restaurant tried to change its name as well as removing the "offensive" 
sign.  It didn't work.  The chain went out of business in the early 
1980s.  The moral of the Sambo story wasn't the problem; it was the 
caricture-like depiction of a particular race and the fact that the term 
"sambo" came to be used as a racial slur.  The racial slur still exists, 
along with "chink", "jap", "spic"...

Alys K.
Elise Fleming
alysk at ix.netcom.com
alyskatharine at gmail.com

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