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
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.
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.
Louise has generously allowed us to publish the 14th century menu for the 2016 St Ives 14th Century Village.
It’s not an accurate representation of how a 14th Century encampment would eat because it needs to take into consideration modern eating times, and the practicalities of cooking in a camp rather than a castle kitchen. But it did work as an excellent modern mediveal faire menu.
Scrambled eggs and ham (G/F)
Scrambled eggs and ham (G/F)
Bread and honey
Bread and honey
Leach Lombard with sauce
Broad beans yfried
Lamb Ausoerre (Lamb cooked in green sauce)
Gele of Flesh (Chicken Jelly)
Fenkel in Sops
Tarte in Ymbre day (Onion and Egg Pie)
Tarte in Ymbre day
Cheese and herb ‘pizza’
Leftover cold spread
Vegetable soup or Chicken and vegetable soup
Beef cooked as Venison, served with Frumenty
Lentil Pottage, served with pickled vegetables
Pease pottage with ham
The Castle Subtelty from Forme of Curye with individual sambocade tarts
Louise is a member of Company of the Staple, a Living History 14th Century group which focuses on Calais in 1376. Company of the Staple were the host group of the 14th Century Village at St Ives 2016, and members from Company of the Staple did the majority of kitchen organisation and cooking for this event.
This handy little book is a stroke of genius on the publishers part. A collection
of recipes from Apicius as researched and trialled by the author ? who just
happens to be the same as co-authored Apicius ? A Critical Review. No
wading through pages of discourse, reviews and examinations of potential
influences ? just straight to the recipes.
To me, it?s not a stand-a- lone because the recipes are not accompanied by
the original text or even a translation of the original. I personally enjoy
knowing about the context a dish was created and enjoyed in. I was also a
little disappointed in the recipes selected (a solid 64 in total). They are either
totally unreproducible (due to extinction of main ingredient, ethical or safety
reasons) or what I would term ?safe? ? they will work and be very tasty (and
very accurate) but actually not very different from the flavour combinations we
are used to today.
This is a totally personal perspective ? and as a primer for someone starting
out presenting Roman style food, it is hard to go past.
[tabs] [tab title=”Publishers Content”] Sally Grainger has gathered, in one convenient volume, her modern interpretations of 64 of the recipes in the original text. This is not recipes inspired by the old Romans but rather a serious effort to convert the extremely gnomic instructions in the Latin into something that can be reproduced in the modern kitchen which actually gives some idea of what the Romans might have eaten. Sally Grainger, therefore, has taken great pains to suggest means of replicating the particular Roman taste for fermented fish sauce. It may sound unpleasant, but actually is not too far removed from the fish sauces of the Far East and any reproduction of Roman cookery must depend on getting this particular aspect right.” [/tab] [/tabs]
Want to make the snacks for your average roman barfly at the local Taverna?
Or impress the neighbours with a bang up dinner on a week night but you?re
not really into the larks tongues and dormice? Well neither was the average
Roman citizen ? even if they could afford it.
From the information and recipes presented by the author, I?m happy to report
I could reliably re-create dishes and even entire meals, pretty much only
shopping at the local grocery store. So for a change, I could surprise people
with a meal that didn?t require a second mortgage; yet the flavours and
textures were still different enough to be a bit of a challenge for some.
You might remember this title with a different cover from a decade or so ago
(possibly longer ? whose counting?); same title, same author, new (second)
edition. I remembered the first edition with affection; so was pleasantly
surprised to find enough extra recipes and updated research in the second
edition to buy it as well.
Only point to consider ? If you are still learning to cook, don?t be deceived by
the apparent simplicity of some of the recipes. You need to know your
[tabs] [tab title=”Publishers Blurb”] More than 100 everyday recipes from Ancient Rome enjoyably recreated from the work of writers and poets of the time and adapted for the modern kitchen: healthy and delicious soups, stews, breads and salads that gave birth to the modern Mediterranean diet. [/tab] [/tabs]
Apicius: A critical edition with an introduction and English translation
Sally Grainger and Christopher Grocock
Reviewed By Loreena Johnson
Of all the many translations of Apicius, this is the one I?d save if a fire broke
out. The kernel of this book was Sally?s PhD thesis with judicial editing and
input from Christopher Grogock to make it more readable. It is a beautiful ? if
hardcore academic ? consolidated translation of the various fragments of
Apicius de re Coquinaria around the world.
Scared? There is a ton of other cool stuff within the covers regarding the
social and environmental influences, glossaries, facsimilles of original bits and
a fabulous cross referencing index and bibliography. There are even
appendices reviewing the current arguments in academia about Garum
recipes and production.
As to recipes; along with the original and the translation, a select number of
the dishes also have Sally Grainger?s notes and further instructions on how a
modern cook can reproduce a Roman flavour profile. Finally, these recipes
have been trialled by a great cook as well as scholar (Sally is also the author
of ?The Classical Cookbook? with Andrew Dalby) ? they work, they are tasty,
and they won?t kill you or your guests.
[tabs] [tab title=”Publishers Blurb”] Apicius is the sole remaining cookery book from the days of the Roman Empire. Though there were many ancient Greek and Latin works concerning food, this collection of recipes is unique. The editors suggest that it is a survival from many such collections maintained by working cooks and that the attribution to Apicius the man (a real-life Roman noble of the 2nd century AD), is a mere literary convention. There have been many English translations of this work (and, abroad, some important academic editions) but none reliable since 1958 (Flower and Rosenbaum). In any case, this edition and translation has revisited all surviving manuscripts in Europe and the USA and proposes many new readings and interpretations. The great quality of this editorial team is while the Latin scholarship is supplied by Chris Grocock, Sally Grainger contributes a lifetime’s experience in the practical cookery of adaptations of the recipes in this text. This supplies a wholly new angle from which to verify the textual and editorial suggestions. [/tab] [/tabs]
This is an example menu of a 14th Century English (with French and German influences) done for 50 people, and oculd easily have done 100). This feast was held in 2011.
This feast was done in the “messes” style, with 6 to a mess, unless otherwise stated. There were 3 servers/pantlers bringing out the messes to the table. ?Each course had 2 removes (except for first course). As is common in 14th century feasts, the sweet and savoury are mixed between courses (because of the need to balance the humours).
On Table for the entire feast:
Fruit; apples, pears, citrus, dried fruit and nuts tray/platter/board
Bread, salt, oil, butter?
Green salat decorated with flowers
To be refreshed at the end of each course.
R = to be removed
1st course: on table with above. Mess of 8 x 5
Strawberyes with cr?me wastard (in a pastry shell)
Chicken meatballs endored?
Mushroom stuffed rolls
Garlic and cheese sauce
*gyngre brede on plate with Tourtelete
Allows de beef?
Tourteletes in frytour?
After first course, remove all dishes except permanents which should be refreshed.
2nd course: Mess of 8 x5:
R Applemoy and *biscuit?
R Drechouns ?
R Gourdes in potage
R Grete pyes
Almond cream + Sr Plum preserve pud tartlets
Rst boned stuffed joint of kid or Lamb
Complete removal except permanents ?
Candied walnuts and pine nuts
R samon roste in sauce
Spinach with, lemon & ricotta
R verde sawse
syrosye and *biscuit
*Duck liver flans
* gyngre brede
Tart de bray
The meal ended here but wafers and hippocras (spiced red wine) would be the traditional finish to the meal.
This is a cute tiny little book. It’s like the size of my hand from pinky to thumb outspread. Adorable.
The initial recipe is given and then a redaction is provided in the modern manner with the list of ingredients required at the start. (There is a bibliography but the recipes aren’t linked back to their original texts which is a bit disappointing.)
Aside from the recipes, it talks briefly about various ingrediants that they had – the new ingredients coming from the new world (including coffee from Arabia and Turkey) and the changes to baking thanks to improvements in this technology.
There’s a brief section on the equipment available in Stuart kitchens and then finally a section on the tableware that would have been set out.
This is a pretty basic little book. Anyone who has other Stuart cooking books or others from the general time period would pretty much have everything this book has to offer.
But, for those just starting out, it’s a pretty inexpensive way to get a handle on what they had (both equipment and ingredient wise) and so it is a good book for beginners.
[tabs] [tab title=”Publishers Blurb”] Including over 30 recipes from the 17th century, this book also reveals the turbulent history of this troubled time when the country cast off its medieval traditions. It describes how new and more sophisticated tastes were reflected in the diet of the nation and the way people cooked and ate their meals. French cuisine became popular with the gentry; the medieval great hall was replaced by a smaller and more intimate dining room, and pottery dishes and bowls were used instead of wooden ones. The introduction of the fork improved table manners and the population enjoyed a variety of new foods – in particular, the exciting imported beverages of tea, coffee and drinking chocolate. The recipes include several that reflect the new baking skills developed during this period and the important introduction of the pudding cloth. Sack Posset (a favourite of Samuel Pepys), Knot Biscuits, Shropshire Cakes and Quaking Pudding are just a few of the many intriguing recipes to try at home. Illustrated in full colour and black & white, including some mouth-watering examples of Stuart delicacies. [/tab] [/tabs]