[Sca-cooks] Rude and Barbarous Kingdom

Stephani Ross the.red.ross at gmail.com
Tue Jan 15 19:07:26 PST 2013

When I read the _Rude & Barbarous Kingdom_. ed. by Berry and Crummey, I
underlined and tabbed anything to do with clothing, furs and food
(including vokda). There isn't a whole lot mentioned about food except in
the most general way, and it's not much. I didn't see it quoted on Sofya's
pages, so I'll type it out for you here:

Chapter 3. The native commodities of the country. p. 116

"For kinds of fruits they have apples; pears; plums; cherries, red and
black (but the back, wild); a *dynia* like a muskmellon but more sweet and
pleasant; cucumbers and gourds (which they call* arbuz);* strawberries; and
hurtleberries, with many other berries in great quantity in every wood and
hedge. Their kinds of grain are wheat, barley, rye, oats, pease, buckaway,
[and] *pshenitsa,* that in taste is somewhat like to rice. Of all these
grains the country yieldeth very sufficient and overplus quantity, so that
the wheat is sold sometime for two *altyny* or ten pense sterling the
chetvert, which maketh almost three English bushels." [144 lbs of grain]

The original authors of this journal were sent by Queen Elizabeth in 1580
to Muscovy to trade with Ivan IV as part of a delegation. This part of the
journal is Giles Fletcher's account of the first voyage to Russia. Fletcher
is very descriptive and talks about his observations of all manner of
things, from the soil to clubbing seals to huge fish teeth that weigh
eleven to twelve lbs apiece. To summarize the rest of the chapter
concerning things the Russians ate: Fletcher mentions Beluga caviar, beef,
roebuck, hares, goats and sheep. For fish he identifies carp, pike, perch,
tench, roach, sterlet, eels, beluga, stugeon, white and red salmon, and
herring. He talks about swans being raised for food as well as caught, an
abundance of pheasants and partridge, and the tedder, a large bird with the
coloring of a pheasant (a wild turkey or bustard perhaps?) that lived in
the "fir woods".

Sir Jerome Horsey stayed behind after the first voyage, became fluent in
Russian, worked as a diplomatic attache for the Russian court, and became a
basic all-around horse-trader. He was rather unscrupulous and was deported
back to England in 1589 in the custody of Giles Fletcher. This is from
chapter XVIII of his _Travels_, pp.335-336.

"The next day friars of St. Nicholas brought me a present, fresh salmons,
rye loaves, cups, and painted platters. The third day after my arrival
...[Ivan IV and Boris Gudunov] presented for my provision seventy live
sheep, twenty live oxen and bullocks, six hundred hens, forty flesh of
bacon, two milk kine, two goats, ten fresh salmons, forty gallons of
aqua-vitae [vodka], one humdred gallons of mead, two hundred gallons of
beer, a thousand loaves of white bread, three score bushels of meal, two
thousand eggs, garlic and onions store."

So now we know what they ate from eyewitnes accounts, just not how it was


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