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Treasure Trove of Benefits and Variety at the Table – A fourteenth century Egyptian Cookbook – Review

There’s an exciting new translation of a 14th century Egyption Cookbook. It’s the first time it’s been fully translated into English.? What’s even more fascinating is that the author takes the time to talk about things that aren’t mentioned a great deal in the usual European sources.?

It talks specifically about how to make bread (delicious bread, which uses milk instead of water) and about various egg recipes. (A few European sources mention eggs briefly, but mostly to say that everyone knows about eggs so there’s no need to talk about it). It specifically talks about the kind of wood that a cook should use “pick dry firewood, which does not create a great deal of smoke due to it’s wetness, such as olive or dry oak. Wood of oleander and trees with milky sap and the like must be avoided, as should firewood from the fig tree and any wood high in moisture”. And there’s an entire chapter on incenses.

Nawal Nasrallah is a fantastic translator. The book is extremely informative without being too dry. (Nasrallah uses the index and glossary to go super in depth about the translation and to talk specifically about why particular translations should be used which is also extremely instructional.)

Overall, this is an excellent collection to anyone’s medieval cookbook collection.

There’s a few pictures and figures from 14th century sources scattered throughout the book, to help illustrate various points. Including an ancient Egyption hand mixer, glass beakers, and bronze perforated incense burners.

There is also 22 modern adapations of some of the recipes in the appendix, complete with beautiful food photography. Dried apricot stew looks pretty good!

Buy it now on Book Depository

Publisher’s Blurb

The fourteenth-century Egyptian cookbook, Kanz al-faw?’id fi tanw? al-maw?id, is a treasure trove of 830 recipes of dishes, digestives, refreshing beverages, and more. Here, for the first time, it has been meticulously translated into English and supplemented with a comprehensive introduction, glossary, illustrations, and twenty-two modern adaptations of its recipes.

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Lochac Cook’s Guild Symposium – Campfire Cooking and Ceramics (5/8/18)

On August 5th, Company of the Staple member Roxy talked about Campfire cooking and cooking with ceramics on a campfire. These are the notes from that talk. These notes were originally posted to Companyofthestaple.org.au

The above image is of a saucepan with oil, for deep frying cheese fritters. It is in a trivet, and being cooked with charcoal.
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The Major Surgery of Guy de Chauliac – Review

If you’re into medieval surgery books, then the major surgery of Guy de Chaulic has got to go onto your reading list.

Guy de Chaulic was a 14th century surgeon and he wrote this book (which has been translated to English) after the Black Death had swept through Europe.

The wording is quite flowery at times, and the book is definitely a product of it’s time, but it’s an amazing resource for anyone whose into the medical history of the medieval period.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

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Waterproofing seams in a canvas tent

We’ve just had a workshop day for Mainly Medieval, going through and seeing what tasks need to be done.

We had noticed at the last event that the old Burgundian tent (about 8 years old now) was starting to leak water in from it’s seams. So time to fix that up, books hate rain!

We used a mix of beeswax and distilled pine resin (aka pine turpentine), which meant that the beeswax was easy to work with.

Take a small scoop, rub it into the seam and burnish it into the seams with a piece of leather (or with fingers).

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How to Get Rid of Mould from a Canvas Tent

Canvas tents are great and authentic, but they have one key disadvantage over plastic tents. It’s not availability, cost, weight or bulk;? it’s that they are prone to mould.

So, how can you avoid the scourge of tent mould, and what should you do if it does occur?

About Mould

Mould is a type of fungi that grows in moist, dark environments. If your tent stays damp and dark for long enough, mould will flourish and spread by spores. The mould?can consume the fabric of your tent and if you try to camp in a mouldy tent, the spores can trigger asthma and allergies.

[column column=”one-half”] Mould Likes:
Dark
Damp
Neutral PH [/column][column column=”one-half”] Mould Hates:
Sunlight
Dry
Acid or basic PH [/column]

Avoiding Mould – Dry, Air and Store

Ideally, you’d like to not get mould in the first place. Whenever possible, the tent needs to dry completely before being put away. Check the seams and where the tent touches the ground – these are often the places that take the longest to dry.?If you do have to pack the tent up damp or wet, air the tent as soon as possible.

Air the tent by opening it right up in a spot with good ventilation. You can put the tent up, or just spread it out to dry. Ideally, air the tent in direct sunlight for extra UV treatment.

Store the tent in a dry place between events. Ideally, pack the tent loosely in a bag that breathes, rather than in plastic. Plastic helps keep water out, but if the tent goes away with any moisture at all, plastic will keep it in and foster mould.

Check your storage spot regularly. Leaky sheds, flooded garages and damp basements will ruin your next camping trip.

Dealing with Mould – Kill, Clean and Waterproof

So, you’ve unpacked your tent and found mould?- there’s discolouration, it stinks and the fabric is permanently weakened. The first step is to kill the mould and prevent further damage. Mould hates sunlight, so get that mouldy canvas into direct, burning sunlight.

Next, brush or vacuum as much of the dead mould off the fabric as possible.

Mix a solution of one part white vinegar to ten parts warm water. Using a cloth, scrub the vinegar solution over the mouldy areas. This kills any remaining mould and cleans it off the fibres. Allow the vinegar to dry completely, and then use a firm brush or a scrubbing brush again to remove the mould spots.

Check all ropes. Medieval tents have natural fibre ropes that can be easily weakened by rot. If the rope has rotted, it will need to be replaced.

Air the tent again to completely dry the cleaned area and store.

Some tents may require re-waterproofing after cleaning. In period, tent canvas swelled up when wet and became waterproof. Many modern reproductions use thin canvas with a waterproofing agent though. If you find water coming through the newly cleaned spot, head to the camping store for some canvas waterproofing agent and re-proof the cleaned area.

 

Prevention is Better than Cure

So, that’s how to deal with a mouldy tent. The science is simple, but the task is gross. Keep your tent dry and aired, and tent mould will be something that only happens to other people.

 

 

 

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Oh No! I Burnt The Soup!

It’s a terrible feeling?when you realise that you looked away from your delicious pottage for just a second and now it’s burnt. It’s too late to start another pot, and people are depending on this for their meal. We’ve compiled the list of medieval sources about removing the burnt taste from the pottage here.

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Cooking with Ceramics

Ceramics are a great tool for use in campfire cooking. Cheap to make, there’s a reason that pottery fragments are the most common find in any archeological dig. Ceramics, particulary for use over a campfire are a lot less common now. Company of the Staple provided some great tips which they’ve kindly allowed us to reshare for everyone to spread the word about ceramic cooking.

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Midwinter Cookbook – AS51

The Midwinter cookbook

Assembled and Redacted by Lady Rosalind Beaufort

and Lady Safiya bint al-Shahid

 

Lady Rosalind and Lady Safiya did an excellent job at Midwinter AS51 and were kind enough to provide their receipes, scaled down to a normal portion serving. Here it is for everyone to enjoy the delicious receipes. The original source has been provided and then a modern redaction of how it was made, making it clear and easy to understand.

Midwinter Cook Publication

Pictures of the Salt dough serviced with the beef, pork and fish at Midwinter AS51

 

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Beeswax Linen Covers for Pots

We’ve been offering Beeswax linen covers for pots, cups and jugs for a while now. With the heat of your hand, they can be gently pressed around the container, keeping the inside protected and making it easier for storage and transportation.

Were these extremely handy items a part of medieval life though, or just a ‘re-enactorism’ – one of those things everyone feels is very medieval, without any actual evidence?

We pride ourselves on offering only items which enhance the quality of your re-enactment portrayal and reflect the latest historical research. With no detailed resources available from our supplier, we’ve set out to document waxed linen covers for our readers.
Here are the documented resources that we have so far been able to track down which show what we believe to be linen beeswax covers over the jugs. Any other sources found will be added to this list so that future people don’t need to go nuts trying to track down original extant sources.

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