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Adapting Historic Recipes?

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Printed Date: 19 June 2019 at 15:58


Topic: Adapting Historic Recipes?
Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Subject: Adapting Historic Recipes?
Date Posted: 20 June 2012 at 07:01
I've been asked, via a PM, if I'd explain what it takes to adapt historic recipes, such as Friend Wife and I did to put together our two colonial cookbooks.
 
I don't mind sharing the info. But it would involve a lot of typing and time. So I want to make sure there's enough interest before going ahead.
 
Please offer your comments--pro and con---about any interest in learning how we go about it.



Replies:
Posted By: AK1
Date Posted: 20 June 2012 at 09:43
I'd love to see it Brook.  I appreciate what a task it will be, as I've done a few adaptations myself.

What I do see as an issue though is this; once you adapt a recipe to modern tastes, it changes. Meats today are quite different to what they were even 40 yrs ago. Seasoning practices are as well. I think that many people would have an issue with eating "historic food" as it was made originally. 


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 20 June 2012 at 09:54
i don't see any cons at all - things like this are exactly the kind of thing that fall in line with our forum's "mission," and would be an extremely valuable contribution, as far as i am concerned.
 
like darko said, thanks to modern food practices and availabilities, there is always going to be some risk of losing a few subtle things (and sometimes not so subtle) when adapting an historic recipe to modern times, but i believe that, on the whole, it is still a worthy goal for people who have an interest. and even then, what we're gaining far outweighs what we might be losing. for any specific examples, i am sure they can be discussed as they arise.


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Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 20 June 2012 at 11:16
 
 
Buonasera,
 
Interesting Post.
 
I believe in the blend of the historical recipe with the availability of the modernity in fresh product, yet, however, I prepare several dishes in earthenware, or a tagine, or a pallera, or copper Dutch Oven, which are all historic types of pans and pots ... 
 
In the Mediterranean cultures, we still have what we call LA CUCHARA which is SPOON CUISINE especially in the autumn and winter months ...
 
The stews, soups and bread soups ... Then there are the slow cooking simmer stews and roasts. This is NOT modernity !  Has been around before we were all born ( 1962 born ). 
 
I believe that there are numerous methods; tandoor, marinades, bbq,  sashimi, sushi, roasts, air dried hams, smoking --- all historical yet things we have re-worked into the modern scheme of our tables and palates.
 
For me it is more the modernity of the equipment and machinery ... The style of preparation depending on the dish and whether one lives in the country or city --- also makes a big difference.
 
Many people are making their own Ricotta, Milk products, etcetra --- why ? I believe many people want better quality products without the Preservatives & chemicals etc.
 
They are looking into their ancestor´s tables and finding, that the food was less processed than it is today.
 
At one point in time, tv dinners, plastic bags and soy in your bread or vegetable oil did not exist ! The label reader:  I am appalled what I read. 
 
Here is to bring back the historical and chemical free ...
 
Interesting Post.   
Ciao, Margi.


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www.guidepost.es
Gourmet´s Choice - Time Out In Spain ...

WEBSITE: www.visionsgourmandes.com
www.issuu.com / Beyond Taste, Oltre il Gusto ..


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 20 June 2012 at 12:46
I think that many people would have an issue with eating "historic food" as it was made originally. 
 
Absolutely correct, Darko. Which is why we call them adaptations.
 
There is a difference between adapting and modernizing. The real trick is to adapt the recipes to modern palates (and, as you note, sometimes ingredients), while, at the same time, staying true to the original.
 
In our presentations we use traveler's sauce as an example of that very thing. In the original recipe, with a base of 2 cups of red wine, among the ingredients are 40 cloves. I guarantee you most folks today would find that inedible. So the trick becomes maintaining the flavor profile, but in a way that's palatable to modern tastebuds.
 
One thing that helps is the historical nature of the gardens we maintain. Almost everything in them predates 1850, and we have, this year, 19 varieties that can be traced to the 18th century. Along with that is the growing availability of heritage livestock, especially pork.


Posted By: pitrow
Date Posted: 21 June 2012 at 12:21
I would love to see the process you go through for adapting historic recipes to modern ones. 


Posted By: Karl
Date Posted: 21 June 2012 at 15:58
We might be vilifying our grandcestors' cooking just  a bit much here.  Wink

Most historic food is at least tolerable if not as sweet as as modern processed foods.  I have been reenacting long enough ( and to enough survival schools run by my uncle) to have developed a taste for different foods.  I do draw the line at thinks like meats that are allowed to "rise" but otherwise anything slow moving and generally non-toxic can be on the menu. 

As a reenactor I really do want to taste food as close to what long dead people ate as possible.  I have collected reproduction and antique cookware for example.  Ingredients can be a chore like real salt pork (see JAS Townsend's online video), whole spices, and verjuice.

Then there is the challenge of preparing food that other people will eat.   My main opportunities to show off are SCA feast now and sometimes cowboy shoots or 18th century.  Cowboy shooters work up and appetite and rarely hesitate to eat beans, pork, biscuits, pies, cobbler, or "spoon steak" cooked over a fire in cast iron.   There are even a couple good sites on FaceBook but I would like to expand my repitiore and I would love to go to a few chuckwagon competitions. 

For those not familiar with the SCA(.ORG) it is a recreation group based on renaissance and the middle ages.  There are two main types of people in the SCA "fighters" as in with rattan ball bats wearing armour (will be happy with a not too old road kill possum for dinner) and non-fighters who counts many individuals among their numbers who are excessively proud of being allergic to everything this side of filtered water and won't try to eat anything left.  It can be very frustrating for our volunteer cooks but there are recognitions for those people who work hard to do it better. 

A top end SCA feast such as what is called a "grand master" feast in the SE US can be truly impressive. 

One problem that I run into is people who will not even try perfectly good historic food because they heard that all historic food is icky.  Apparently adjusting this head-spacing issue with a ball bat is frowned upon if they are non-fighters.  Ermm

So what tricks have you all had luck with getting people to try historic foods?  What were some of the foods that they resisted?  Any particularly funny stories?


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 21 June 2012 at 16:04
Quote So what tricks have you all had luck with getting people to try historic foods?  What were some of the foods that they resisted?  Any particularly funny stories?
 
excellent question, karl, and one i'd love to see the answer to ~
 
Quote many individuals...are excessively proud of being allergic to everything this side of filtered water and won't try to eat anything left.
 
i'm related to a few of those! LOL
 
 


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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 21 June 2012 at 16:31

One problem, Karl, is that nobody with half a brain even believes some of the questions we get asked and comments directed at us. So, what you and I might find funny, most people would find unbelievable.

For you non-reenactors, just one example: The most frequently asked question is: Is that a real fire?"
 
So what tricks have you all had luck with getting people to try historic foods? 
 
Oddly enough, Karl, at the Fort I have the opposite problem. Due to health department regs, I can feed staffers but not visitors. Most visitors who spend any time watching our cookery demos actually are disappointed that they can't taste the food.
 
Whoops! Gotta run. More to follow.


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 21 June 2012 at 19:15
I usually don't have much trouble getting folks to try historic foods. Several reasons for this, the most important one being that given the period and place I do, the food isn't all that unfamiliar.
 
We do find that most living historians of 18th century British North America do not cook period proper foods. But it's not because of any lack of desire to eat it. Mostly they don't want to take the time to prepare it. We've been involved in this for nearly a quarter century, and nobody, at any event, has ever turned down a chance to eat period foods that we prepared.
 
What takes getting used to is the idea of using herbs and spices not usually associated with modern savory dishes. All of the "baking" spices---ginger, mace, nutmeg, allsprice, cloves, etc.---the pumpkin pie spices if you will, were used for baked goods, it's true. But they were also used on savory dishes, often with a very heavy hand.
 
The way proteins were treated, too, is often radically different than the ways we prefer them today. It's oft been erroneously claimed, for instance, that they used spices to cover the taste and smell of tainted meat. The fact is, they preferred their meat a bit on the high side, just as they still do in many places in Great Britain, where hanging a gamebird until it turns blue is not uncommon.
 
And they certainly knew the difference. In 1633, when rules were posted at Boston's Haymarket Square, for example, one of them said: No blown, rotted, or spoilt meat may be offered for sale..."
 
 


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 21 June 2012 at 19:51

One problem that I run into is people who will not even try perfectly good historic food because they heard that all historic food is icky.

This is something else we’ve never run into. I can offer a guess as to why. Because SCA is so much more open, in terms of what is acceptable, there is much more room for dilletantes to participate. And, while there is always room for the casual participant, they are found less often in our overall era (i.e., 1650-1840), and even less so in our specific time/place.

The same level of dilletantism found at SCA can be found among the “buckskinners,” those portraying the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade era. But because they really get into the mountain man myth (as opposed to the documentable facts), they want to eat all the icky stuff that’s usually not available; panther meat, and boudins, and all sorts of road kill. So they tend to be open to anything.

In general, as Karl mentions, there is a difference in trying to replicate actual foodways for ourselves, and adapting the food when feeding other people. And, because we are more often feeding others than not, what we strive for is to maintain the flavor profiles of the original dish, while keeping it palatable to modern tastes.

Not always an easy compromise.

Y’all know the concept of blacksmithing tools? Very often, when a blacksmith had a job to do, he first had to make the tools that would allow him to do the job. Indeed, he’d sometimes have to make the tools that would enable him to make the tools needed to do the job.

Period cookery can often be the same. For folks like Karl and me, before we can produce a period proper dish we often have to first produce the ingredients. Example: It’s easy enough, when baking bread in a Dutch oven, to just use commercial yeast. And that’s what we do when feeding others. But for 100% proper baking, we first have to make the leavening.

Or take Karl’s perfect example: salt pork. The so-called salt pork marketed by Armour and Hormel bears no relation to the actual product. If it did, it wouldn’t have to be kept in the refrigerator section. So, if we want to sample a dish using salt pork, we first have to make that ingredient; preferably using a heritage variety of hog so as to replicate, as near as possible, the pork that would have been available.

Moving away from actual foodstuffs, there is always the problem of language. Translating what they say into what they mean is always a challenge. Which of the three or four cooking methods called “roasting” is meant for a particular dish? Ingredient names change, over time. Sometimes the same word means something different. Sometimes the word used has left the language altogether.

Another problem: When they wrote down a recipe (receipt, actually) in those days, they presumed you already knew how to cook, cuz you’d learned it at your mother’s knee. So things we take for granted in modern recipes, such as ingredient amounts, cooking times, and special techniques, are often seriously absent.

Here, for example, is a complete chicken recipe from an 18th century cookery manuscript:

Strew with sage beaten fine and some cinnamon, and cook til enough

We’ll have much to discuss on this problem as we continue.



Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 21 June 2012 at 19:58
What were some of the foods that they resisted?
 
Actually, as I think of it, there was some resistance to beaver. We made a bunch of it for a large event, several years back. And, while most reenactors at last tried a taste, there were quite a few who merely reacted to the word "beaver," and wouldn't even taste it.


Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 22 June 2012 at 05:06
Buon Giorno,
 
In Spain, there are restaurants, hotel restaurants and taverns specialising in the celebration of Spanish culinary history, and preparing of each of the regional´s most popular dishes which have been collected from texts, historic menus and oral traditions. It is amazing.
 
The distinctiveness of The Iberian Peninsula´s gastronomy is due in large part to its turbulent history and to the fact that Spain had played host to a large variety of cultures: Celtic, Visigoth, Greek, Roman, Moorish, French and the Americas, etcetra.  Olive oil making hailed from the Romans, and had become widely developed since 600 A.D., during and after the Romans.
 
Italia has had a parallel history, especially Sicilia with the Moors ... And WWII, on the mainland and prior, the Austrian Ottoman Empire has had a strong historical influence especially in their baked goods, on Trentino in northeast Italia, where many dishes are historically Austrian in profile.  
 
Historical products and culinary preparations holds court in the Mediterranean too, all of its countries including: Greece, Italia, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Croatia, Israel, Morocco, Portugal etcetra ...
 
Japan and India are two more exemplary examples of historical cuisine, on the front burner. Neither of these two cuisines are very different from their ancestors.
 
Ciao.
Have nice wkend.
Margi.
 


-------------
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Gourmet´s Choice - Time Out In Spain ...

WEBSITE: www.visionsgourmandes.com
www.issuu.com / Beyond Taste, Oltre il Gusto ..


Posted By: Karl
Date Posted: 22 June 2012 at 15:04
http://www.telusplanet.net/public/prescotj/data/viandier/viandier1.html#titlepage

My favorite example of a nearly useless cookbook except when I want to fix something and just need to find a VERY general medieval recipe source to document it.  Wink

BTW - what is your take on what verjuice was?  It might have meant different things in different times and places but I have been leaning towards a catchup-like juice made from green grapes that were too late to ripen and they didn't want to waste them(?)


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 22 June 2012 at 18:03
If by that you mean tomato ketchup, I don't think verjuice was quite that thick.
 
My feeling (and, yes, there seems to be a difference of opinion as to what it actually was) is that it is a ketchup in the 18th century sense (which would make it more like Worcestershire in consistency), made from the unripened grapes, as you say, but with a sour taste.
 
Did the sourness come from fermentation? My distinct impression is that verjuice was non-alcoholic, which would seem to leave fermentation out. So the question is, were the unripened grapes sour enough on their own? Or were they allowed to ferment but only for a short time, so that the alcohol doesn't develop? And if that's the case, how did they stop the process?
 
Basically, more questions than answers on this one. And a perfect example of one of the difficulties. How can you replicate, or even adapt, an ingredient if you're not really sure what it was?
 
Fortunately, the number of such ingredients is limited. Most of the time, even if it's not a modern thing, a little research identifies the product.
 
What do you use when it's called for, Karl?
 
 


Posted By: Karl
Date Posted: 22 June 2012 at 18:43
"What do you use when it's called for, Karl?"

Most cooks I know skip it entirely which seems to roughly go with modern taste.  Sometimes vinegar or lime juice seems to work.   This is from the Food Channel:

Verjuice

Verjuice

Verjuice or verjus derives from the phrase 'green juice' and was widely used in the Middle Ages. Having fallen from favour, to the point where few people have even heard of it, it is now experiencing a fashionable revival.

It is usually a sour, acidic juice extracted from unripened grapes and therefore is often produced by wine makers, especially in France, Australia and Spain. In Britain verjuice used to be made with crab apples.

Verjuice is available in some delicatessens and online from suppliers such as http://verjuice.co.uk/" rel="nofollow - http://verjuice.co.uk . It will soon be available in supermarkets too. Use lemon juice or sherry as a substitute - it won't be quite the same but will bring your recipe some of the necessary souring quality verjuice provides.

Use verjuice any place you would use white wine or dry sherry in cooking, for example sauces, stews and risottos, and especially for deglazing.

A traditional ingredient of made mustards, it is good for fish stock or court bouillon and makes delicious fruit compotes.

Someone has asked for a verjuice substitute on Wiki but no one has answered yet. 



Posted By: Daikon
Date Posted: 22 June 2012 at 19:35
Huh.  I didn't realize that there was any confusion or scarcity with regard to verjus/verjuice.  It's available in several specialty food shops around here, and is also sometimes available from local wineries.  One of the products we more commonly see around here is actually made in Australia, and it is http://www.markethallfoods.com/search.php?search_query=verjus&x=0&y=0" rel="nofollow - available online .


Posted By: africanmeat
Date Posted: 23 June 2012 at 03:13
 
We got it in south africa it is made in cape town.
we cook and we  love to drink it with soda water on a hot day it is vary refreshing .
 
http://www.verjuice.co.za/" rel="nofollow - http://www.verjuice.co.za/
http://www.verjuice.co.za/recipes.htm" rel="nofollow - http://www.verjuice.co.za/recipes.htm
 
 


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Ahron


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 23 June 2012 at 21:20
 I didn't realize that there was any confusion or scarcity with regard to verjus/verjuice.
 
Depends, Daikon, on whether the modern versions and the historic versions are the same thing. They may or may not be.
 
For instance, on the Continent, verjuice was made from unripened grapes, as we've discussed. But in British usage, at least in the 1600s and early 1700s, it was made from crab apples.
 
It was already going out of fashion, in the British world, by the first half of the 18th century. Very few of my references even mention it after then.
 
The only time I've used it is when adapting Richard Bradley's 1726 recipe for traveling sauce. For that I mix 4 oz apple juice with a tablespoon of lemon juice.
 
It  cannot be stressed enough that modern ingredients and mixtures, even with the same name, can be radically different from historical ones. That's why, for example, with people like Karl and me talk about the modern condiment we specify "tomato ketchup." Previous to the mid-19th century, ketchup was made from a number of things---including walnuts, mushrooms, oysters, and anchovies. Tomatoes came long after these.  And ketchup, previous to the tomato version, were a thin sauce, more like Worcestershire, rather than the thick condiment of today.
 
Yet, they're all referred to merely as "ketchup."
 
So, just because you can buy ketchup in any market today, it is not the sauce I use when making 18th century dishes.
 
FWIW, in Bradley's recipe, equal parts of verjuice and vinegar are used. This makes for a very sour taste, much more so than modern tastebuds find palatable.


Posted By: Karl
Date Posted: 25 June 2012 at 17:17
First off, Africanmeat & Daikon - thank you for the verjuice sources which I plan to try. 

I meant verjuice as an example to the difficulty and uncertainty in obtaining many period ingredients.  Sometimes even simple dishes will require this much trouble and extra expense to find, order, research, and make the ingredients before actually cooking the unfamiliar dish.  Still it is generally more rewarding than frustrating right up until some individual refuses to try the dish that you are so proud of then convinces other people to not try it.  On the flip side though it is somewaht gratifying (if less challenging) when folks find they like a new food and ask you to keep serving it at every event. 


Posted By: AK1
Date Posted: 25 June 2012 at 20:23
You folks may enjoy this;

How to make Verjus
http://honest-food.net/2011/08/02/how-to-make-verjus/" rel="nofollow - http://honest-food.net/2011/08/02/how-to-make-verjus/







Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 29 June 2012 at 19:11

Sorry to have been MIA the past while. Had a large wholesale book order that had to get printed and delivered and have been working on getting that done.

We’ve spent quite some time, justifiably, talking about ingredients. An equally important---perhaps even more important--aspect of understanding historic recipes is language.

It’s bad enough when you have to translate a “foreign” language. Worse is when you think you’re reading English, but the words have different meanings than we’re used to. We saw this, for instance, when we discussed the recipe for mumble found in Elizabeth Smith’s The Complete Housewife. That conversations can be found here: http://www.foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/chicken-mumble_topic1765.html" rel="nofollow - Even more familiar words can present a challenge, though. One recipe we often use as an example of this is To Roast A Fowl.

For starters, when adapting it from the 18th century version, we first had to determine what was meant by “roast.” Four or five cooking methods that we still use today were called roasting back then. For example, you could take your fowl (i.e., chicken, duck, turkey, wild bird), clean it, truss it, and tie it to a rope; then hang the rope in front of the fire. Twist up the rope until it’s knotted and let go. The fowl will rotate in front of the fire, and radiant heat will cook it on all sides, just like a rotisserie. That’s one method they would have called “roasting.”

As it turns out, for this recipe “roasting” means to cook directly over hot coals on a gridiron. What we’d call grilling today.

When cooking this way, birds usually were butterflied first. Simple enough. But in the 18th century, and beyond, they called that “spatchcocking.” The first line of the recipe instructs us to “spatchcock a large fowl.” If you don’t know what spatchcock means, however, you’re already lost. What’s more, a hundred years later, when the French codify their cuisine and cast it solidly in concrete, “spatchcock” takes on a subtly different meaning. If that’s the only definition you know, you won’t be preparing the chicken as per the 18th century manner.

And so it goes.

It’s not only techniques that are affected by language. Old time measurements---when used---can be confusing. What, exactly, is a drachm, for instance? What's more, British measurements and American measurements, although using the same words, are often different. A British gill, for example, is not the same thing as an American gill. For the record, one of them is 1/5 cup while the other is ¼ cup. Depending on ingredients being measured that could be a significant difference.

And speaking of measurements, how many of you, without looking it up, know what a scruple is?

So, the long and the short of it is simply that language can be the most important element in understanding old recipes.



Posted By: Rod Franklin
Date Posted: 29 June 2012 at 19:40
Maybe off subject, but who better to ask? What's is the oldest recipe ever recorded?

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Hungry


Posted By: Daikon
Date Posted: 29 June 2012 at 19:46
http://www.ancientnile.co.uk/recipes.php/" rel="nofollow - Tiger Nut Sweets has to be in the running.


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 01 July 2012 at 04:46
What's is the oldest recipe ever recorded?
 
I couldn't begin to even guess, Rod. And, frankly, given the number of very old extant and extinct cultures in the world, it would, IMO, be a presumptuous claim on anyone's part.
 
Of course, a lot of this depends on what you mean by "recorded" and "recipe."
 
Myself, I don't consider a picture of a finished dish or item to be a recipe. A recipe consists of a list of ingredients and instructions for their use. This can be very complex (i.e., any of our many photo tutorials) to very simple (i.e., "sprinkle with salt and cook till done"). But those two elements must be present to be a recipe.  


Posted By: Rod Franklin
Date Posted: 01 July 2012 at 05:30
Recorded, "Set down for preservation in writing or other permanent form."
Recipe, "A set of instructions for making or preparing something, especially a food dish."

I guess I should have written my question differently. I should have asked what is the the oldest recorded recipe you are aware of?

I've eaten something very similar to Tiger Nut Sweets many times. Very rich without being too sweet. Easy to eat too many, but something I couldn't eat every day, meaning I can get tired of them quickly, but always enjoy coming back to them.

Sorry for the thread hijack.


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Hungry


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 02 July 2012 at 04:18
No apology necessary, Rod. At least not on my account. It was a legitimate question.
 
I'm aware of recipes dating to pre-biblical Mesopatamia. They're just not of much interest to me, so I couldn't tell you any details.


Posted By: Karl
Date Posted: 02 July 2012 at 16:12
http://articles.latimes.com/1985-05-23/food/fo-8362_1_ancient-recipes

Mesopotamia 1,700BC is the oldest that I could find.  Not a particular area of interest to me either though.  Still I would not mind a copy of the best translation possible of these recipes. 


Posted By: Rod Franklin
Date Posted: 02 July 2012 at 18:28
Thanks for your efforts, the link was interesting. It might be interesting to read the translated text. It doesn't appear to be possible to recreate the recipes even if someone wanted to. 

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Hungry


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 02 July 2012 at 20:30
Likely not, Rod, as many of the ingredients are untranslatable and, quite possibly, no longer exist even if we knew what they were. The Roman recipes, however, have been translated and reproduced numerous times.
 
If you're interested in food history, but not ready to do the sort of research Karl and I take for granted, see if you can find a copy of The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking Through The Ages.
 
It's long out of print, having been published in 1968, but I'm sure it's available on the used book  market. If you can find it, it's a nice introductory volume on various cuisines and dining cultures, from Mesapotamia through the 1920s. And it includes more than 600 recipes to help you experience those cuisines.
 
Many times, books about the foods of ancient times include recipes that are interpretations of the cuisine. While not, strictly speaking, entirely accurate, they can actually make it easier to experience the food, because the recipes use modern ingredients and methods. For example, Miriam Vamosh's Food At The Time of the Bible includes ten pages of recipes based on dishes mentioned in the Bible, even though the Bible, itself, contains no recipes. Each is preceded by a Biblical quote germane to the dish. For example:
 
Jacob's Lentil Soup
"Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew" (Gen. 25:34)
 
1 1/2 cups split red lentils
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 medium onion, cubed
2 sticks chopped celery
1 leek, chopped
1 carrot, cubed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbls white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly grund black pepper
1 medium onion, sliced
Olive oil
 
Put the lentils in a pot with the stock and vegetables and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, until the lentils have disingegrated. If too thick, add water. Add cumin and vinegar and season to taste. Fry the sliced onion in the olive oil until almost caramelized and add to the soup. Serve hot with croutons.


Posted By: Karl
Date Posted: 02 July 2012 at 23:38
The Jacob's stew recipe is interesting.

These look like fun recipes (even if they do not cite their documentation): http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/food/index.html 


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 03 July 2012 at 04:33
Karl, the link takes me to a site which says the page I'm looking for no longer exists. Cry
 
I don't think documentation is all that important for a group like FotW. If a recipe, or group of recipes, let's them experience the sorts of food eaten in a particular time/place, then that's good enough. Those who enjoy the experience are likely to go on and do further research. That's when documentation becomes important, I reckon.
 
Meanwhile, I got to thinking about how long Chinese culture has been around. Started searching, but, so far, the oldest recipe I've found claims to be 2,400 years old. Still puts Mesopotamia in the lead.


Posted By: Karl
Date Posted: 03 July 2012 at 10:11
Sorry, I am not enough of a techy to figure out why the page is not opening for you(?)  It still works for me.  Here are some of the recipes:

Turnips Stewed in Blood

Adapted from "The Oldest Cuisine in the World," Jean Bottero

[image]

Serves 6

4 turnips, peeled and quartered
1 cup onion, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon rendered chicken or lamb fat, or olive oil
2 bunches arugula
1 1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 cup beef blood (available at some butcher shops)
1/2 leek, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Place turnips, onions, and fat in stockpot and add water to just to cover. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until turnips are tender - about 40 minutes.

Drain off some of the water until there is half an inch left in the pot. Stir in the arugula and coriander; cook for a minute or so, until the arugula is wilted. Then gradually stir in the blood. The liquid in the pot will thicken. Cook another minute. Stir in minced leek and garlic, and serve.


Lamb Liquor

Adapted from "A Soup for the Qan," Paul Buell & Eugene Anderson

1 750-ml (CK) bottle vodka
1/2 pound bone-in lamb stew meat

Sear the meat on all sides in a hot skillet until well-browned. Place the meat in the bottom of a large pitcher and pour vodka over. Cover and refrigerate 2-3 days. Strain before drinking.

http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/food/board.html" rel="nofollow - Questions? Visit the board!

[image] [image] [image]


OK, those are probably the two weirdest recipes there.  This one is a little more realistic sounding:

Barley Porridge

Adapted from "The Oldest Cuisine in the World," Jean Bottero

[image]

Serves 6

3 cups chicken broth
1 leek, chopped, plus 1/2 minced
1 onion, chopped, plus 1/2 minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
11/2 to 2 cups barley flour
salt to taste

Add chopped leek and onion and 2/3 of the minced garlic to broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to moderately low and simmer 10 minutes. Season broth with salt.

Keeping the broth at a low simmer, gradually add barley, stirring all the time to avoid clumps. Cook approximately 15 minutes until the porridge is thick and does not taste of raw flour. Stir often to keep the porridge from scorching. Add more broth or water if necessary.

Combine the minced leek, onion, and the remaining garlic. When ready to serve, ladle porridge into bowls and garnish with the leek-onion-garlic mixture.






Posted By: Karl
Date Posted: 03 July 2012 at 10:13
The SCA is big on documentation so I am in the habit of looking for it.  


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 03 July 2012 at 13:43
I understand the need for documentation, Karl. I just don't think it's as important for this group as it would be for a group of living historians. For this group, anything in the manner of will provide a glimpse (and, more importantly, taste) of historic foodways.
 
I'm sure anyone wanting to pursue it further, after that, will ask.  
 
Barley flour isn't all that readily available. But you can adapt pearl barley to the above recipe. Basically it means cooking it a lot longer, so that the grains break down. Or you can pulse the pearl barley in a food processor, first, then use it like the flour to make the porridge.
 
Whether documented or not, that recipe certainly has the feel of common food during the feudal periods. Porridges of all sorts were mainstays for the peasant population. The old nursary rhyme refers to that: Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot nine days old.


Posted By: africanmeat
Date Posted: 03 July 2012 at 14:12
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

Karl, the link takes me to a site which says the page I'm looking for no longer exists. Cry
 
I don't think documentation is all that important for a group like FotW. If a recipe, or group of recipes, let's them experience the sorts of food eaten in a particular time/place, then that's good enough. Those who enjoy the experience are likely to go on and do further research. That's when documentation becomes important, I reckon.
 
Meanwhile, I got to thinking about how long Chinese culture has been around. Started searching, but, so far, the oldest recipe I've found claims to be 2,400 years old. Still puts Mesopotamia in the lead.
 
Try: right clik and open in a new tab it will open.


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Ahron


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 03 July 2012 at 14:23

Speaking of pease porridge, here is a versions from the Custis-Lee cookery manuscript later  published as Martha Washington’s Book of Cookery.

It is a pre-1645 recipe, and demonstrates the way peasant food, even then, was turned into a more sophisticated, up-scale dish.

To Make Pease Porrage of Old Pease

Take 2 quarts of white pease, pick and wash ym cleane, yn set them on in 3 gallons of water. Keepe ym boyling & as ye water wastes, fill it up wth cold water to break ye husks, & as ye husks rise [after] it is filled up wth cold water, scum them of into a cullender into a dish to save ye liquor & pease to put into ye pot againe, then take up all ye pease & posh y wth a spoone; yn put yj in again, & when they have boyled a while, put in 2 cloves of garlic, halfe an ounce of coriander seeds beaten, some sifted pepper & some salt, an ounce of poder of dryed spearment. All these must  be ut in at ye second  boyling. Shread in 2 onions & a handful of parsley very small, & put in half a pound of fresh butter. KYn let all boyle together for a quarter of an houre. Yn serve ym up with bread & bits of fresh butter put in ym. & If you love it, put in a little elder vinegar.

There are several interesting points for anyone wishing to make this dish.

First, the typographically use of a Y followed by superscript letters is considered, by many modern calligraphers, to be an error. Be that as it may, it’s quite common, and should be read as the dipthong “th” followed by the superscript letters. Thus Yem for example should be pronounced “them.”

Authorities differ as to the meaning of white pease. Some maintain it merely refers to old, dry peas, while others insist it refers to a different strain which are white or gray when mature. There’s something to be said for that argument, as both the Dutch and English were great pea breeders, and produced varieties that were yellow, gray, and even blue.

You can use split yellow or green peas for this, and not worry about having to clear the husks.

Next, note the rather heavy use of butter rather than the more usual fat pork or salt pork. This is typical of how upscale Colonial kitchens turned plebian foods into gourmet dishes.

The same cookery manuscript includes a recipe to Make Green Pease Porrage, that is, a porrage made from fresh peas. It’s interesting in that it uses flour as a binding agent, which is a holdover from medieval days.

I’ll post that recipe if anyone’s interested.



Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 04 July 2012 at 04:58
Thanks for the tip, Ahron.
 
Unfortunately, it didn't work. The same thing happened: I go to the Archeology Magazine website, where an error message appears saying the page I'm looking for has been discontinued or is missing.
 
Alas.


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 04 July 2012 at 05:02
Question for those who've been participating:
 
Karl and I have been discussing documentation, as you know. For us it's an important aspect of what we do. I've said that I don't believe it to be a priority with this group, however, that what's important is introducing y'all to the flavors and techniques of historic foodways.
 
What I'm wondering is this: Am I right? Or am I presuming too much? I'd appreciate hearing just how deeply everyone's interest goes.
 
Thanks!


Posted By: Rod Franklin
Date Posted: 04 July 2012 at 09:00
Well, I'm not sure how to respond. I don't want to make this an open policy meeting, and I believe these issues should be brought to the founders via private messaging. But, I'm sure they have seen this thread and know what is happening in it.

This site is by definition about the Foods of the World series of books, and therefore, originally, limits itself.

I am as guilty as any of breaking out of that limitation. In my opinion, in many positive ways, this forum has gone beyond that original limitation. It has evolved into what it is today and will change as it progresses into the future.
 
On one hand, I want to see input from those people out there with real experience in very regional foods, and lots of pictures. Smile

On the other hand, I am an information oriented kind of guy, so details are always good, and adding the level of background detail to certain parts of this site can only make it a more rounded place for anyone stopping by to experience, and I'm all for it. I believe, if the kind of information HistoricFoodie and Karl and others can provide is placed here in the forum, then as people who are interested in such things search the internet for this type of information they will end up here and maybe stay awhile and ultimately make this a better, more comprehensive place.

So, I don't think it's about how much I care about your research and your sharing it here, than it is about whether the founders want to take a part of the forum in that direction to expand and enrich it.






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Hungry


Posted By: AK1
Date Posted: 04 July 2012 at 11:00
That's interesting Brook, when I click on the link, it takes me right there.

As for documentation, I'd like if it was there, but,as you said, I also don't think it's that important to this goup.


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 04 July 2012 at 11:30
hey, guys - just caught these replies. a few comments:
 
documentation is great, i think people should use as much as they feel comfortable using. for me, i usually refer back to where i got it from, plus some supplementary info from other online sources such as wiki etc. but that's my own limitation and i have no problem if anyone wants to go deeper. links, excerpts with citations bibliographies etc. are welcome! if it gets too "academic," no worries - anyone who has questions or needs clarification is always free to ask.Handshake
 
the fotw series were definitely the inspiration to start this forum, but in my mind they are only a beginning, not the end! since they were and still are my primary resource, they are what i tend to use (along with the culinaria series), but as my resources expand, i use others. anyone is always welcome and encouraged to bring in ideas, resources, and any other content from any source - the ultimate goal is to build this site as a great library of knowledge for anyone who is interested in the same thing's we're interested in, at any level!Thumbs Up


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Posted By: Rod Franklin
Date Posted: 04 July 2012 at 12:15
Try this.

http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/food/index.html" rel="nofollow - http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/food/index.html




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Hungry


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 04 July 2012 at 13:59
That did it, Rod. Thanks!


Posted By: Rod Franklin
Date Posted: 04 July 2012 at 16:35
Yer welcome. Now you owe me.Smile

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Hungry


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 05 July 2012 at 05:04
Better I should owe you than do you out. Wink


Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 22 September 2012 at 15:36
Brook,
 
I happened to have some extra time, and went through some older threads.
 
How is your project going on Adopting Historic Recipes ?
 
The Mediterranean is steeped profoundly in historic recipes, especially in the hamlets, villages and small towns as well, and can be seen with the spoon tradition main lunches of the big cities.
 
Look forward to hearing about your latest event.
 
Kindest.
Marge.  


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www.guidepost.es
Gourmet´s Choice - Time Out In Spain ...

WEBSITE: www.visionsgourmandes.com
www.issuu.com / Beyond Taste, Oltre il Gusto ..


Posted By: Karl
Date Posted: 25 September 2012 at 18:02
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

Likely not, Rod, as many of the ingredients are untranslatable and, quite possibly, no longer exist even if we knew what they were. The Roman recipes, however, have been translated and reproduced numerous times.
 
If you're interested in food history, but not ready to do the sort of research Karl and I take for granted, see if you can find a copy of The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking Through The Ages.
 
It's long out of print, having been published in 1968, but I'm sure it's available on the used book  market. If you can find it, it's a nice introductory volume on various cuisines and dining cultures, from Mesapotamia through the 1920s. And it includes more than 600 recipes to help you experience those cuisines.
 
Many times, books about the foods of ancient times include recipes that are interpretations of the cuisine. While not, strictly speaking, entirely accurate, they can actually make it easier to experience the food, because the recipes use modern ingredients and methods. For example, Miriam Vamosh's Food At The Time of the Bible includes ten pages of recipes based on dishes mentioned in the Bible, even though the Bible, itself, contains no recipes. Each is preceded by a Biblical quote germane to the dish. For example:
 
Jacob's Lentil Soup
"Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew" (Gen. 25:34)
 
1 1/2 cups split red lentils
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 medium onion, cubed
2 sticks chopped celery
1 leek, chopped
1 carrot, cubed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbls white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, sliced
Olive oil
 
Put the lentils in a pot with the stock and vegetables and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, until the lentils have disintegrated. If too thick, add water. Add cumin and vinegar and season to taste. Fry the sliced onion in the olive oil until almost caramelized and add to the soup. Serve hot with croutons.


I was surprised to find my wife picking out red lentils the other week since she tends to absolutely hate anything that resembles beans but it was for basically this same recipe.  She went to seminary school where she learned about this.  It took me a while to make the connection for why it seemed so familiar.  Thanks again. 


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 09 March 2018 at 09:47
I'm bringing this thread back to the top, as Brook and I have been discussing a few aspects of the general topic.

Recently, my son Roger and I have gotten in the habit of watching an episode or three of Chef Walter Staib's "A Taste of History" series on Amazon Prime. For those of you who have experienced being the parent of a teenager, you know that this is a rare and unusual event, when one actually wants to spend a little time with a parent engaged in a common interest.

We just finished watching a three-episode segment on Staib's cooking experience at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, and I was pretty interested in it. Some of the recipes looked really good, although I am certain they were slightly adapted. The thing that struck me most was that Staib made a definite attempt to serve dishes that he knew (instinctively or through documentation) would have been served at Monticello, and used quite a few vegetables from Jefferson's Monticello garden to do the cooking. Staib was like a 5-year-old on Christmas Morning with this experience, and it was inspiring to see.

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