All Accompanied by a Sweet Pomegranate drink
Roast of Beef and olives
A repast of
Venison with pepper sauce
All Accompanied by a light wine
Peaches in Sweet wine
A Dragon of Sugar Paste to Herald the closing of the meal
Confits of Almonds and Coriander
All accompanied by Sweet Honey Mead
The Platina Menu and it’s Constitution
This menu has been designed to create as close as possible a meal that would have been served in the month of August at a Royal Encampment (in this case, that of TRM’s Dag and Elayna) in the 15th C, in Italy. This feast is a celebration of friendship, as the guests are TRM’s of Meridies, Gareth and Sabine and the retainers of Their Majesties Dag and Elayna of the Middle Kingdom.
Platina, De Honesta Voluptate et Valetudine or On Right Pleasure and Good Health.
First some words about the manuscript I am using to create this feast. The translation and notes were available in Mary Ella Milham’s Platina, On Right Pleasure and Good Health, A Critical Edition and Translation of De Honesta Voluptate et Valetudine. 1998. It is from this work that any information on Platina’s life and works come, so I have not footnoted the direct quotes, nor the basic information provided.
On Right Pleasure was written in approximately 1463, by one Bartolomeo Sacchi of (at the time) Rome. The name “Platina” is a sort of nickname derived from the name of the town of his birth- Piadena.. Platina, as he will be referred to forthwith, was known to be quite a rebel and was arrested on more than one occasion for his antics and political opinions. In my opinion, he would have been a welcome personality to any party of any age. Milham describes him,
“He seems to have been extremely outgoing and gregarious, to have made acquaintances easily, to have had a very wide range of interests, and to have been able to charm those he met regardless of class or background. He was probably very voluble, with an impassioned air that in itself attracted audiences. Of course in most personalities the strength and weaknesses may be very closely linked, and Platina’s later problems often stemmed from unbridled speech, impetuosity, and ill-advised personal liaisons, but even his severest critics never found him dull.”
A brief explanation of the groundwork for this feast is needed if understanding is to be had of the order in which the food is served and the significance of it’s treatment. Platina operated as a cook in a period when cooking was treated as much as a science as it was an art. Each food was considered for it’s medicinal properties as it related to the four humours related to the fluids of the human body.
These body fluids were related to the 4 basic elements of the world as well as the temperaments of personality and the 4 seasons. Essentially the relationship looks like
We should keep in mind that this dinner is being served in the heat of the summer and as such, foods whose qualities involve coolness or dampness are desirable. This does not necessarily mean that the dish must be cold and damp, but the individual characteristics as described by Platina are considered in an overall attempt to create a dinner that is balanced.
An example is in serving Roast Beef. Beef itself is considered by Platina,
Beef is of a cool and dry nature, being very hard both to cook and to digest. It offers gross, disturbed, and melancholic nourishment.
At first this seems quite unappetizing. However, with proper treatment this dish will be good enough to serve to the King (and Queen, and Their Retinue!).
To amend the beef to be well served, it was marinated in wine mixed with water, as Platina states;
Wine is what Androchides, writing to Alexander and trying to check his intemperance, called the blood of the earth. Drunk , it has the force of warming and moistening; applied outside, of cooling and drying, for it is its warm and moist force from which Homer called wine fiery because it has the seeds of heat.
The water provided the element of dampness that is needed, the wine the “heat”, all to balance the cool, dry nature of beef. This example of amending the meat is used in Platina’s recipe for “Wild Meat with Pepper Sauce” which is also reproduced later in this feast. Before roasting the beef it was treated to a slathering of olive oil or fresh fat .
The property of oil is to warm the body. Since this was known, when Hannibal
was about to lead his lines against the Romans at the Trebia in the dead of winter, he smeared the bodies of the soldiers with oil for smoothness and strength and won. Oil helps wonderfully against cold.
Finally, the roast was basted continuously with the marinade, in order to instill the elements of warmth and moisture. In consideration of the overall feast, wishing it to be cool and damp, our beef is by it’s very nature, cool, we have only amended its nature to warm it not to make it hot which would be an imbalance. As the beef is dry, we have amended it as well, to be moist. The dish is served cool, in a final attempt to balance the elements. The guests will be the judge as to whether or not the humoural theory has served them well!
Throughout Platina’s work, he has “borrowed” from other writers on food, both of his own day and ancient writings. Platina used about 95% of the works of Maestro Martino, a 15th C Italian cook who wrote his recipes in a manuscript of his own. In addition, Platina used works from Cato, Varro and Columella, Apicius and Pliny and the Arabic regimin sanitatis, or “rules of health” and possibly others. It was thought to be objectionable in certain circles for one to “borrow” so much work from others and call it his own as in the poem by Pietro Barozzi,
Platyna had a little book from Hippolito Nacci of Amelia, a knight of Jerusalem, from which he excerpted his own little work, of which I spoke above.
If the writings of Hippolito had not been found (who would believe this?),
This work of Platyna’s would not be read
Platina did, however, provide us with an incredibly complete example of the manner of food for people of 15th C Italy, and it is in his name and the honor of TRM’s Dag and Elayna, that I commit this work.
Below I have taken exerpts of Platina’s manuscript to highlight the reasoning for the order and manner in which each particular dish is being served.[DAM1] I hope, dear reader, that you find the exercise as enjoyable on paper as on the palate.
A Prelude to the Meal
The Ceremony of Handwashing
When done properly, the tradition of handwashing can greatly enhance the authentic feel of the feast experience. I have incorporated the ceremony in a number of other feasts, and it has always been met with approval. I encourage others to do the same.
Here is an exerpt on hand washing[i] provided by Robin Carroll-Mann also know as Lady Brighid ni Chiarain of Settmour Swamp, East (NJ);
De Nola (1529) has detailed instructions on how to do the ceremonial handwashing -- and he also describes how to alter the procedures for royalty and other persons of very high rank.
On the Mode and Manner in Which One Must Offer Water for Washing the Hands
The servitor must give the hand-washing to his lord in this manner. Put a pitcher full of water upon a font or a large silver platter, and some very well folded towels upon the said pitcher which extend to the edges or brim of the font. And the steward goes before with a towel on his shoulder. Arriving in front of the lord's table, and making his reverence, the steward takes the towel which is upon the font, and spreads it upon the table in front of the lord, and sets the font from above upon the towels, and with the font from below, where the water comes, he gives hand-washing to his lord. And when he has washed, he then lifts the fonts, putting one upon the other, and the steward spreads upon the lord's hands the towel which hangs from his shoulder, and removes the others which were spread upon the table for the fonts.
And similarly the cupbearer can give the hand-washing, holding up a font or a wide-brimmed plate in his right hand, and the towel over the edge of the font or plate and upon the right shoulder, and the pitcher of water in the left hand. And the steward and the cupbearer, arriving at the table and making their reverences, do as is said above; this is understood to be for persons who are not of very high rank*.
Service to royalty, who are of very high rank*, must be made in this manner. The cupbearer must kneel, who carries the fonts one upon another, and in them the water which will suffice to wash the lord's hands. And uncover the fonts, first kissing the towel, and stretching it out upon the table before the lord. And cast a little water on the edge of the upper font. And the tasting* is done, first by the cupbearer and the steward afterwards. And put the font before the lord, and with the font below, where the water comes, cast water in the midst of the font which is upon the table. And after the lord has washed, the cupbearer lifts the fonts, as has been said; setting one font upon the other; he makes his reverence. After the steward has spread the towel upon the lord's hands, the cupbearer and the steward must always find out if the fonts contain water, and not to neglect that, because sometimes they are empty, and arrive at the table, and the steward and the cupbearer and the lord are mocked. And each time the steward gives the towel to his
lord he should kiss it before he spreads it over the hands, and should also kiss the other which is spread upon the table at the time when it is placed, and he kneeling.
*Note: the word "salva" is used here. It denotes the act of tasting food or drink for poison, and is also used as a way of describing rank. Royalty and other persons with "salva" have their hand-washing performed in a particularly reverential manner.
This period recipe comes from the 14th C Manuscript, Menagier de Paris found in Cariodoc’s Miscellany Collection
"To make water to wash the hands at table: Boil sage, then strain the water,
and let cool until it is luke-warm. Or instead you can use chamomile or
marjoram, or rosemary and cook with the peel of an orange. And also laurel
leaves (bay leaves) are good for this."
1 Quart of water (if at Pennsic, used bottled water or it will turn brown)
10 fresh sage leaves, or a small handful of chamomile, marjoram or rosemary(you can use tea bags here or cheese cloth, to make the straining later a non issue)
1 peel of an orange (preferably a Seville orange, eat the rest) or rose water ( this was the choice as one of the feasters has a severe allergy to citrus)
1 bay leaf
In a pot, bring the water to boil and add the herbs and peel, if using rose water add at the very end or it will lose it’s aroma. Allow to cool then strain. Bottle and keep (if you need to) for a few days.
When readying to use the water, heat gently or add hot water to warm it slightly. Using a pitcher and basin, keeping a towel over your shoulder, allow the person to hold their hands over the bowl while you pour. They should rub their hands together. When finished, offer them the towel. Where there is no table to set down the bowl this best works with two people, one to hold the bowl, the other to offer the towel and pour the water.
Fresh fruit (cantaloupe, cherries, pears and fresh figs) and Omellette, accompanied by a Pomegranate drink- on a large platter, the fritatta and fruit will be served in a pinwheel pattern alternating wedges of fritatta with melon, highlighted with cherries, pears and figs
(P) Book 1 # 16-
What should be eaten first
There is an order to be observed in taking food, since everything that moves the bowels and whatever is of light and slight nourishment, like apples and pears, is more safely and pleasantly eaten in the first course. I even add lettuce and whatever is served with vinegar and oil, raw or cooked. Then there are eggs, especially the soft-cooked kind, and certain sweets we call bellaria, seasoned with spices and pine nuts or honey or sugar. These are served very appropriately to guests.
(P) Book 2 # 25
There are different opinions of authors about the quality of vinegar: some say vinegar is composed of hot and sharp arts which are derived from its intense dryness, but others affirm that it has more cold than heat in it, because it represses bile and blood and also cuts phlegm with its intense acidity. From this, we realize the varying force of vinegar, for added moderately to cold things, it makes them colder, but if added to hot, hotter, for by penetrating the special property of each, it increases the qualities in things, as I have said.
Vinegar is quite damaging, although it is given to melancholics, those with inflamed eyes, those laboring under pain in the joints, paralytics, or those subject to spasms, because it makes its way, with the bad humors, to the nerves and joints. Taken moderately, however, it is good for the stomach by repressing its heat and instilling desire to eat. Hence it happens that they use it more in foods of the first course.
Cantaloupe melon- served seeded and skinned, cut into 12ths.
(P) Book 1 # 20
It is surely pleasant to eat a melon, but it is really very difficult to digest because of it’s combination of chill with moisture. As Pliny says, when they are consumed they are still alive on the following day. For this reason some mix in pennyroyal and onion with vinegar so that it’s natural force of cold is tempered, but when melon is served with the rind removed and the seeds thrown away, it soothes the stomach and gently softens the bowels. It should be eaten on which are predominant in the digestive system and where it slows down digestion. For this reason we were ordered by our ancestors to eat melons on an empty stomach and to desist from other food until they settle at the bottom in a semi-digested state.
Cherries-tart Montmorencey cherries if possible will be served as they are believed to have existed in period.
(P) Book 1 # 17
Of all the fruit-bearing trees in our region, the cherry [cervasa]] or, as Servius is pleased to call it, cerasia, ripens first and is first served for eating. L.Lucullus brought this tree to Italy after his Mithridatic victory in the year 680. Its productiveness has been so great that it has been carried as far as the Ocean and into Britain. Some cherries are tart, some sour, some sweet. The sour ones constrict the bowels and upset the stomach; tart ones cut phlegm, repress yellow bile, quench thirst, and stimulate the appetite. Sweet ones are bad for the stomach, for they generate intestinal worms and foul humors in the bowels. If they are eaten in the morning, fresh and with their pits, they move the urine and the bowels.
Pears- Bartlett pears are otherwise known as Williams Bon Chretien and are believed to be pre-1600 fruit. They will be served quartered, with a light lemon spray to prevent browning.
(P) Book 2 # 3
Of these, some are sweet, some tart and some acid. Sweet ears should be served as a first course, since they are juicy and tasty, and balanced between coolness and warmth, and ought to be eaten before the meal, like those small earliest pears which Pliny called “proud”. We call these muscats, from their odor, in our vernacular tongue. Others should be served similarly if they are like them.
Figs- fresh figs will be served, halved and placed centre up to highlight their beauty.
(P) Book 1 # 23
Fresh figs, especially ripe ones, do not do much harm, since they incline toward warmth and moisture, although all fruits generate bad humors.
Scrambled Eggs - this Fritatta or Omellette, in modern terms, is blended and slow cooked with the herbs in a heavy pan, generously buttered. The Omellette is then sliced in wedges and served with the above fruit.
(P) Book 9 # 23
With a paddle or spoon, mix with ground cheese eggs which have been cracked and
well beaten with a bit of water or milk. When these are mixed, cook in butter or oil. They will be more pleasant if cooked only a little and never turned while cooking. If you want the color of herbs in them, add chard, parsley, some borage juice, mint, marjoram and a little sage.
12 large free range eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tsp. chopped parsley, sage, marjoram
1 tsp. chopped fresh mint, possibly some chard and borage boiled in water, strained, use liquid
.25 cup salted butter
.50 cup(3 ounces) grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
Chop herbs well. Mix eggs, milk , herbs and cheese and pour into a heavy, heated, well buttered pan. On med-low heat, cook eggs lifting edges to allow egg to drain underneath and aid cooking. Cover to let steam assist cooking top of eggs or finish under a broiler. Garnish with extra cheese and mint or parsley leaves.
Roasted Fennel- basted with olive oil, salt and fresh cracked pepper, roasted on a fire if the weather permits, if not, then served raw, sliced very thin.
(P) Book 3 # 18
Pliny calls fennel ferulaceum because it grows out of rods [feruli] just as many others do. It has warm and dry force but yet is not simple, for its taste reveals that bitterness is mixed in it. It has been said that snakes, to which fennel is very pleasant, shed age upon eating this herb and lay aside weakness of eyesight, which they contract by a long stay in subterranean places, by rubbing their heads on fennel-stalks.
We use this vegetable both raw and cooked, not without reason, for it generates good humors, helps the chest, and opens the clogged courses of veins.
Cucumber salad- served thinly sliced in a sprinkling of white wine vinegar, olive oil and lightly salted and peppered.
Book 1 # 21
First of all, the force and nature of the cucumber should be explained, since Pliny errs that cucumbers of excessive size are called melons. I openly confess my error, that the delight I get from eating a melon led me astray, for I not only place them above cucumbers but any other sort of food. There are three kinds of cucumbers. The largest is bluish and less harmful, for it moves the bowels and seems especially helpful to the stomach in summer because of its coolness.....
The yellow one (citrinus) which our age calls citrullum for its color, generates cold and harmful humors from which autumn fevers arise because some delay in the stomach longer than is necessary..............The most harmful of all is the serpentine, which rightly receives its name from the snake. Columella explains its force in these lines of verse
The dark cucumber which is born with a distended middle,
Rough and like a snake sheltered in tangled grass,
Lies on its curved belly, always curled in a coil
And inflicting dangerous illness in the harmful summer.
The two previous varieties are eaten cut up in pieces with salt, oil and vinegar, once the rind has been removed and the seeds dug out. Some sprinkle spices on them after they have been cut u in pieces to repress their chill. The Tuscans who are particularly fond of fruits and vegetables, eat the serpentine with salt alone once the pulp has been scraped from the rind. The Emperor Tiberius loved cucumbers so much that he asked for them so much that he asked for them unadorned and even out of season. They are so sensitive that a menstruating woman would kill them at a touch, so great is the force of that ill.
I included almost all of this passage on cucumbers to highlight a few things. One is the detailed description of the different types of this vegetable in period. Cucumbers belong to the family, Curcurbits, specifically Cucumis sativus, of which there are modernly, many varieties. Based on what Platina describes, the first appears to be the standard dark greenn cucumber, the second a yellow one (that could be Boothby's Blonde 5" fruits with lime green skin and black spines)
and the third could be the Armenian cucumber , which is not a real cucumber but a melon (Cucumis melo, also called snake melon, snake cucumber, and uri) bright green, deeply ridged fruit which can reach 2 1/2 to 3 feet in length and 2-3 inches in diameter*. This provokes some thought as the passage indicates that there was confusion as to whether cucumbers were a melon or not..
*INFO from the Oregon State University website
As such I chose to use the first type as Platina tells us it is especially helpful in the summer, and seemed to be easily available. I was not able to find a specific type of cuke to match the description, this will require more research.
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced thinly
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
2 TBSP olive oil
salt and pepper to taste.
Place cucumber on a plate in a circular pattern. Sprinkle liberally with vinegar, oil and spices.
(P) Book 1 # 14
Anyone, therefore who does baking should use flour [farina] which is well-ground from wheat, although farina is so-called from far, ground grain. From this, he should separate the bran and the inferior flour with a very fine flour sieve, then put the flour, with warm water and some salt, on a baker’s table closed in at the sides, as the people at Ferrara Italy are accustomed to do. If you live in damp places and a bit of leaven is used, [the baker], with help from his associates, kneads to that consistency at which bread can be made fairly easily. Let the baker be careful not to put in too much or too little leaven, for from the former, bread can acquire a sour taste, and, from the latter it can become too heavy to digest and too unhealthy, since it binds the bowels. Bread should be well-baked in an oven and not used the same day, nor is it especially nourishing when made from very fresh wheat and if it is digested slowly.
Platina also tells us
(P)Book 7 # 3
On Ground Grain
Emmer wheat, which some call adoreum and others a variety of it, is mild. It is easily digested, purges, and cools. Its frequent use closes the fibers of the liver and spleen. It also harms those suffering from stone, the bladder, and the kidneys.
(P) Book 7 # 5
Doctors say that flour is made from washed, dry wheat and gently ground in a mill, and they say dishes made from this are better than those made from starch, for they settle heat and thirst and cool the liver.
It was not easy to decide were to place the bread in the menu. Platina does not specifically state when the bread should be served. Our first impulse at a modern dinner is to serve bread with a lubricant of some sort (butter, oil etc.) to allow it to go down easier. In addition, generally we serve bread in the first course. Platina’s advice that foods that are easily digested(such as grain) should be eaten first, the bread was served at the end of the first course. The bread was, however not served plain. In order to balance the possible deleterious effects of serving it to a person with bladder, kidney or stone problems I have amended it by brushing it with oil and grilling it briefly since bread cools and oil warms.
As bread is not my forte, I selected recipes and tips from the Florilegium. The challenge was in baking bread for a group of 30. As my experiments with baking were not what I had hoped, I turned to a commercial sourdough bread but included the information for those who wish to recreate the bread themselves. I spent several days working on the sourdough starter, but it appears that my home does not contain enough wild yeast to get the period starter going. The work will continue in the months to come.
Toasted Sourdough bread
Slice a loaf of sourdough bread and baste one side with olive oil that is not first cold pressed (we would not want to the end product to be unbalance in humour by absorbing the coolness of firrst pressed oil).
Grill over a fire or in an oven using broil.
For the ambitious....
Information provided by “Bear”,mka Terry Decker,
Basic Sourdough Starter
2 Cups warm Water (105 -
110 degrees F)
pinch of sugar
1 pkg. dry active yeast (1 rounded teaspoon, 7 g.)
2 Cups flour
Take a bowl capable of
handling 3 qt. or more.
Pour the water into the bowl
Dissolve the pinch of sugar in the water
Dissolve the yeast in the water. Let stand for about 15 minutes, the yeast should activate, start bubbling to the surface and make the solution look creamy. Stir in the flour. Scrap the flour from the sides of the bowl and blend it into the mixture. Loosely cover the bowl with a piece of cheesecloth. This keeps the bugs out, but lets the wild yeast in.
Put the bowl in a warm
location. 80 degrees F is preferred, but 70 degrees
F will work.
Each day for the next four days, add 1/2 cup warm water (105 -110
degrees F) and 1/2 cup flour. Stir in thoroughly.
After four days, put the starter in a container that can be sealed and refrigerate it. Once a week, add equal amounts of water and flour to the mixture (about 1/2 cup of each should do it) Replace the starter as used with equal amounts of water and flour
It takes about 1 cup of
starter to replace the yeast in a standard bread recipe.
You don't need to use the sugar, but I find it helps the yeast. While the starter sours, your kitchen (and possibly your house) will smell like a barroom that doesn't swamp the floors.
If there are any bugs in the house, the fermentation will attract them. I recommend two layers of cheesecloth with enough excess to tape it to the sides of the bowl. I use masking tape for easy clean up.
There is no guarantee that the starter will sour properly. Even commercial starters fail. However, North America is blessed with a lot of wild yeast that makes good sourdough bread (much to the brewers' dismay).
Or a Period method,
To make a sourdough starter, in a bowl, mix 2 cups of flour with one cup of water. Place the bowl on the counter and wait. It does not matter whether the bowl is covered or uncovered. The water and the flour will activate a natural amylase reaction to convert starch into sugar. The yeast’s present in the flour will use the sugar to ferment the dough and create a sourdough.
Bread Recipe from Cariadoc’s Miscellany
and notes by Elizabeth / aka Betty Cook
1 1/2 c sourdough
2 1/4 c warm water
1 T salt
1 c whole wheat flour
5 3/4 c white flour*: 5 1/4 c at first, 1/2 c later
*note; I used unbleached flour to better simulate period flour which would not have been bleached.
Put sourdough in a bowl.
Add warm (not hot!) water and salt, mix. Add whole
wheat flour, then white, 1 or 2 c at a time, first stirring in with a wooden spoon and then kneading it in. Cover with a wet towel, set aside. Let rise overnight (16-20 hours). Turn out on a floured board, shape into two or three round loaves, working in another 1/2 c or so of flour. Let
rise again in a warm place for an hour. Bake at 350° about 50 minutes. Makes 2 loaves, about 8" across, 3"-4" thick, about 1.5 lb, or three smaller loaves.
More recently, I have had
it work with just a 4-hour rising in a warm place
(I had meant to get the dough started the night before, but did not get to
A Sweet Pomegranate drink-
(P) Book 2 # 5
There are certain apples which we use before the meal and during the meal, especially with roast and fried meat. Among these is the pomegranate, which is call Punic, whose kinds are so many that it would now be useless to enumerate them. Let it suffice to speak about their qualities. Almost all doctors agree in the single opinion that the property of pomegranates is astringent. Nevertheless they seem to be divided into four categories. The sweet kind proves to contain some sort of warmth in its nature and should be eaten as a first course, although a kind of inflammation arises which the Greeks call phlegmone.
1 bottle (10 oz) Pomegranate Molasses ( this is pure pomegranate, no added ingredients and can be found at Middle Eastern food stores)
2 quarts of cool, spring water or other fresh water (do not used distilled water, it is too flat)
1/4 cup crushed mint leaves (in cheese cloth)
Combine ingredients. Let mint steep for 20 minutes, then remove. Serve chilled, garnish with slices of fruit and sprigs of mint (oranges, lemons)
Roast Beef- marinated in wine, roasted and sliced thinly, served au jus and with olives.
(P) Book 4 # 21
Beef is of a cool and dry nature, being very hard both to cook and to digest. It offers gross, disturbed, and melancholic nourishment.
3 LB roast (eye of round, inside round, outside round)
Marinade-2 cups wine, 1 cup water.
Wrap the roast in a caul of fat (again to counteract the cool/dry nature of the beef) and tie with butchers string or rub well with a coating of lard or olive oil.
Roast 15-20 minutes per pound at 325 degrees or until 160 degrees internal temperature is reached. This will give you medium-rare in the centre of the roast.
Baste the roast regularly until finished. Serve cool meat with au jus having been warmed.
Olives- olives are served as an accompaniment to the roast as Platina points out their importance below.
(P) Book 2 # 13
They are eaten with fish and roasted meats so as either to dispel squeamishness or induce appetite.
(P)We have spoken enough about individual ingredients; now finally the cooks summon me to food preparations. Cook clean, washed groats in chicken broth for a long time, and when it is cooked, transfer part to a dish. When it has cooled a little, put in three egg yolks combined with saffron, and again transfer to the pot and sprinkle with spices.
Rice in whatever Broth you want- season rice in the same way as groats. Some eliminate the eggs, but this should be you own choice.
As Platina describes rice being cooked in any broth you wish, it would be appropriate to prepare the broth using water or milk and butter for a vegetarian substitution. Since I will be serving vegetarians I have produced a recipe for that purpose in addition to a meat broth based dish.
7 cups rich chicken and veal stock( boil chicken bones, skin and 2-3 lb. veal bones in 3 quarts water till reduced to 7 cups)
2 cups arborio rice
fresh cracked pepper to taste
pinch of saffron threads well crushed
1 tsp. salt
Bring stock to a boil. Add rice and cook until rice is firm to the bite. Take out a few tablespoons of the liquid and add the saffron, crushed by hand. Half way through cooking the rice add saffron. Season to taste.
3 cups water
4 cups whole milk
3-4 Tablespoons of salted butter
2 cups arborio rice
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
pinch of saffron threads well crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
Bring milk and water to a low boil, add butter. Add rice and cook until rice is firm to the bite. Take out a few tablespoons of the liquid and add the saffron, crushed by hand. Half way through cooking the rice add saffron. Season to taste
This recipe was not created for the dinner, but was interesting and I felt it should be available to those who wish to serve a more vegetarian oriented dinner.
(P)Beat well-sifted white flour with egg white and rose water and plain water. When it is mixed, draw out into thin strips of dough in the manner of straw. Hollow them out with a very thin iron rod. When you draw out the iron, you will leave them hollow. When it is dried in the sun, pasta of this sort will last two or three years, especially if it was under the waning moon of August. If it is cooked in rich broth and poured into serving dishes, it would be sprinkled with fresh, new butter and sweet spices. This dish requires two hours’ cooking.
As I was not preparing my own pasta, I substituted adding the rosewater to the cooking water in order to infuse the flavour into the pasta.
1 pound cut mezzani or magliette rigate ( I remember a pasta that fit this description, i.e. long hollow tubes, but can’t seem to find the name)
1 tsp. rose water
3 quarts rich broth brought to a boil.
Cook pasta till al dente. Set aside
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp. grated nutmeg.
Combine butter and spice and mix into pasta.
Book 7 # 10
(P) The greatest honor goes to the broad bean among leguminous plants which are named from legendum (gathering). Indeed from beans both bread and skin cream are make, and there are the beans used in sacrifices.............When it is green, it tends toward dampness, by which it harms the stomach, but when it is dry, however, it is worse. Taken in any way in food, it creates bad dreams. Sprinkled with spices, it is thought to do less damage.
(P) In a frying pan, well greased with fat or oil, fry broad beans which are cooked and softened, with onions, figs, sage and several other garden herbs and put on a plank or a disc spread in the form of a cake, and cover with spices.
1 lb(2 generous cups) split fava beans (makes about 4 cups cooked)
water to cover
Soak beans 24-48 hr., changing water 2 or 3 times OR bring to a boil for 5 minutes and let sit, 1 hr drain.In a large pot, cover with water and bring to the boil, reduce and cook for 35-45 minutes until tender. Drain.
.50 cup olive oil
2 large onion, diced (red onion adds an interesting colour and is mentioned by Platina)
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 tsp. salt
fresh herbs .125 cup each, summer savory, sage, coriander and parsley
1 tsp. ground cumin
.50 tsp. ground white pepper
In large frying pan, heat oil and brown onions. Add garlic and brown further. Add beans, herbs and salt and stir beans. When fried for 8-10 minutes or so, mold onto a plate into a cake shape, and sprinkle with spices. Garnish with parsley or coriander.
(P) Book 9 # 37
On Mushrooms and Fungi
Mushrooms are considered of cold and damp nature and for this reason have the force of poison.............The nature of fungi is milder, for they are thought to arise from the plegm of trees. ...............Some even cook them with the skin removed or with the upper cap filled with salt and oil, upside down on the coals and eat them sprinkled with pepper or cinnamon.
1 lb Portobello mushrooms, stalks removed
.50 lb domestic mushrooms, stalks removed
.125 cup olive oil
Rinse domestic mushrooms to ensure growing medium is removed. Lightly baste all with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Roast over medium hot flame or in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.
(P) Book 4 # 2
On Seasoned Lettuce
Apuleius thinks lettuce [lactuca] is named from an abundance of milk [lac], that is, of humor, or because it fills nursing women with milk. There are several varieties of this vegetable but broad-stemmed, low-growing, and curly are really praised before all others...........................................
There is a chilling nature in all these, for they are considered cold and damp, and for this reason they take squeamishness away from the stomach in summer and stimulate the appetite for food.
They say the divine Augustus was preserved in a time of ill health by the use of lettuce, and no wonder, because it aids digestion and generates better blood than other vegetables. It is eaten cooked or raw. You season raw lettuce this way if it does not need washing, for that is more healthful than what has been washed in water; put it in a dish, sprinkle with ground salt, pour in a little oil and more vinegar and eat at once. Some add a little mint and parsley to it for seasoning so that it does not harm the stomach.
Endive, Romaine, Radichio, spinach etc. washed, drained and dried
1/2 cup white wine vinegar, 1/2 cup verjuice, 1/3 cup olive oil, salt, pepper,
Fresh mint, parsley well washed torn into small pieces.
Pepper Sauce for Wild Meat
Book 6 # 5
(P)Make pepper sauce with whatever wild meat you want this way; put in a large bowl as much dry dark wine as water and wash the meat very well in it, then strain the liquid and add as much salt as the situation demands. Put the same liquid in a copper kettle on a fire. When the meat is cooked, take it out and divide it in dishes. Toast bits of bread on a grill. When they are toasted, let soften in vinegar. When they have soaked up enough vinegar, break them up well with a pound of raisins. The blood of the animal itself may be suitably added to it, or it’s ground up liver, if this can be done. Then mix this with it’s own juice and add a little condensed grape or condensed must with the vinegar in which you had soaked the bread. Afterwards pass all this together through a sieve. Put in a pot and sprinkle with pepper, cloves, and cinnamon as you want; boil in evenly for half an hour over the coals, stirring rather often with a beater or spoon. Finally, serve the meat, fried in lard and divided into dishes with the seasoned pepper sauce to your guests. It nourishes much and usefully, it nurtures the stomach , and it fattens the body; however, it harms bilious people and makes stone, more or less according to the composition of the ingredients themselves.
Venison roast, fat removed cut into chunks (3”X3”), blood from thawing reserved
deep red wine*
Rinse roast in 1.5 cups wine, 1.5 cups water
Partially cook the venison in the marinade by simmering 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside meat. Then, combine marinade with the following ingredients:
1 tsp. salt
large (2 inch by 6”X6”) piece of toasted sourdough bread soaked in 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, ground down.
1 pound (13 oz Apothecaries scale) Thompson seedless raisins that have been roughly ground in a mortar
1/2 cup boiled down must* (boiled down 2/3 from original volume)
reserved venison blood
Strain the sauce into a heavy bottomed saucepan (press as much as possible through the sieve). Add pepper (1 tsp.), cloves (1/4 tsp.), and cinnamon (1/2 tsp.). Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer until thickened.
Cook venison in 1/3 cup rendered fat over med heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the venison is just cooked through.
Use commercial lard if you do not have the rendered fat.**
Serve meat with sauce, or on the side.
Salice Salentino- 13% alcohol
Made from Negro Amaro and Malvasia Nera grapes in Dandonaci. A Ruby red color with orange reflections, complex bouquet reminiscent of chocolate and tobacco. A substitution for the wine Masi Campoforiorin Ripasso.
1996 Masi Campoforiorin Ripasso 13% alcohol, $14.95
Verona grape varieties, particularly Corvina, using the techniques of “appassimento” (semi drying of the grapes) and refermentation (submerged cap method- holding down the skins so that more air can get to the wine and the yeast in the skins can better react with the wine). Rich, full bodied, round and velvety, and has an aging potential of 10 to 15 years.
This wine is a step down from the wine I had hoped to use, namely an Amarone, which is even fuller and more velvety, but at $25 bottle it was out of my price range for cooking. I thought about it, but when I realized that I may need two bottles, (I am cooking for 30 people as a gift), I made up my mind to use the Campoforiorin Ripasso. In addition, the must used in this recipe was made by obtaining pure Valpolicella must ( a maker of Amarone, from the Negrar region of Italy) and reducing it by 2/3rds volume.
The origin of this wine can be traced back to Roman passum (possibly an etymological origin for Repasso?) through a description of the method used to create the wine by Columella. He gives two elaborate recipes for the preparation of passum. This exerpt is found in Flower and Rosenbaums’ Apicius. They suggest to use a sweet Spanish wine, but I find that subsitution lacking.
Mago gives the following directions how to make the best passum, and I have made it myself like this. Gather early grapes when they are fully ripe, removing moldy or damaged berries. Fix in the ground forks or stakes 4 feet apart to support reeds and join them together with poles. Then place the reeds on top and spread your grapes in the sun, covering them a night so they do not get wet from the dew. Then, when the have dried, pick the berries off the stalks and put them in a cask or wine-jar and poor the best possible must over them so that the berries are completely covered. When saturated put them on the sixth day in a wicker basket and press them in the wine press and extract the passum. Next tread the grape-skins, having added freshest must which you have made from other grapes that were left to dry in the sun for three days. Mix together and put the whole mash through the wine-press , and this passum of the second pressing put immediately in vessels which you seal so that it does not become too rough. Then, after 20 or 30 days, when it has ceased fermenting, strain it into other vessels, seal their lids with gypsum immediately, and cover with skins.
If you wish to make passum from the “bee” grapes gather the whole grapes, clear away damaged berries , and throw them out. Then hang them up on poles. See to it that the poles are always in the sun. As soon as the berries are sufficiently shriveled pick them off and put them without stalks in a vessel and tread them well with your feet. When you have made none layer of them sprinkle old wine on and tread another layer of grapes over it and sprinkle this also with wine. Do the same with a third layer and after having added wine, leave for five days. Then tread with your feet and press the grapes in a wicker basket. Some people prepare old rain-water for this boiling it down to a third of its volume , and then when they have made raisins in the manner described above, they take the boiled-down rain-water instead of wine, doing everything else in a manner where there is plenty of wood, and in use it is even sweeter than the passum described above.
**Rendered Pork fat
Platina gives a recipe for making rendered fat;
Book 6 #34
While it is fresh, cut up a pig’s omentum into pieces the size of a chestnut, sprinkle with a lot of salt and pound. When it is pounded, leave for a day on a table, the next day, cook down in a bronze cauldron near the fire with two and a half quarts of water, it there are 100 pounds. It must boil on a slow fire until it is liquefied. Then strain in a strainer and take out what will swim in water. After the rendered fat has been put in a jar, you will keep it for a year in an underground place.
Using 1lb of belly fat, I brought 3 quarts of water to boil in a 4 quart pot. I chopped the fat into small pieces and added to the boiling water. This was allowed to boil down till about 2 inches of water remained. I then added back 3 quarts of water. This was again allowed to boil down to 2 inches at which point I again added water to fill the pot. After the 3rd boiling the liquid was put into the refrigerator and allowed to cool. After several hours the fat was pushed through a sieve and allowed to drain. As this lard was being used very soon after making, I did not salt it for preservation, but kept it refrigerated.
Roast Book 6 # 17
(P)Make a roast from whatever meat you want this way; if it is old, when it has boiled a while, take it out of the pot and lard it, and have it turned over the fire until it is well cooked, but if it is tender, like veal and kid cook it without boiling the same way as above. Wash in boiling water capons, pheasants, kid partridges and whatever wild meat requires roasting, well plucked and dressed. After they are rinsed and garnished to stimulate appetite with fragrant herbs, pepper, and finely chopped lard, have them cooked on a hearth on a slow fire, but when you see that they are nearly cooked, sprinkle salt with bread crumbs all over them, after the fire has been increased more than before and the spit turned with a faster turning hand. Then take the meat off at once, let the steam go away, and serve to your guests.
1 large roasting chicken
Halve the chicken. Put chicken in boiling water for 7-10 minutes.
Combine ..25 cup lard,
Rub chicken with lard, then sprinkle with
1/8 cup rosemary, 1/8 cup thyme, 1/8 cup oregano finely chopped
Roast 350 degrees 10 minutes.
Combine 1 cup toasted bread crumbs, 1.5 tsp. salt and sprinkle over almost cooked chicken. Increase heat to 400 degrees and crisp the chicken for about 10 minutes.
Allow to cool and serve.
A Light Wine large roasting chicken
Halve the chicken. Put chicken in boiling water for 7-10 minutes.
Combine ..25 cup lard,
Rub chicken with lard, then sprinkle with
1/8 cup rosemary, 1/8 cup thyme, 1/8 cup oregano finely chopped
Roast 350 degrees 10 minutes.
Combine 1 cups toasted bread crumbs, 1.5 tsp. salt
(P) Book 10 # 69
Dinner and lunch without drink is not only considered unpleasant but also unhealthful, since a draught is more welcome and pleasant to a thirsty person that food to a hungry person. It is necessary to moisten food both for the cooling of the lungs and so that what we eat is better worked over and digested. Wine is what Androchides, writing to Alexander and trying to check his intemperance, called the blood of the earth. Drunk, it has the force of warming and moistening; applied outside, of cooking and drying, for it is its warm and moist force from which Homer called wine fiery because it has the seeds of heat.
Hence it is that nothing aids tired bodies more swiftly, if it is used moderately...............It is therefore necessary that there be a mean for the ages of men and the seasons of the year, since it is suitable, in the opinion of Celsus, to eat more in winter and to drink less, undiluted, but in summer to use the most diluted drink possible which both takes away thirst and does not inflame the body.
As we see, wine should be drunk diluted, in addition, the inclusion of crushed lemon will proved for us an antidote to poison....
(P) Book 2 #7
On the citron tree
Cloatius called the citron tree citrum, “Persian apple,” from that province, but Virgil described the citron in a long digression, imitating Homer. No other is more outstanding that this well-omened fruit if ever perverse step-mothers tainted drinks and mixed herbs with harmful words, for no one doubts what is said about citron. Its varieties are considered many, for there are some which the forest produces on the borders of Maurentania and others which grow in Italy and Media, yet there is almost the same force in all of these, which differ in size rather than kind. They are very fragrant and kill worms when put in garments, whence scented clothing is called “citrous” by Naeevius.
They are also produced in Persia in every season, for some are being gathered while others are ripening. They are even considered antidotes for poison because, when ground with wine, they save drinkers from the purging of their own energies.
Finally, Platina describes the type of wine to be served,
(P) Book 10 # 69
Pliny says there are three kinds of wine: dry, sweet, and thin. The dry constricts and irritates the chest; the sweet is soothing but is less useful because it is very easily transformed into acute bile; the thin is useful in every way since it helps all members. If white wines are thin or not too unmixed they are digested more easily than dark ones, for the latter which are nearly white are really used more safely. As for the recipe for making wine, which differs as gathered from aruous regions, it should be sought from experienced country people of those regions.
1 bottle White Zinfandel Wine*
Half again as much bottled water or sweet drinking water
.5 lemon, Rind sliced thin and curled, pulp crushed
Combine ingredients and served chilled.
* I used White Zinfandel as a match to the description of a wine that is “nearly white”. In researching this wine, I have found the following information to be very helpful in understanding the pertinence of using it;
Anthony Hawkins' SUPER GIGANTIC Y2K WINEGRAPE GLOSSARY http://wineloverspage.com/wineguest/wgg.html
An important grape variety, also thought to be the variety once known asBlack St. Peter (1) in early 19th century California lore, currently grownin California and used to produce robust red wine as well as very popular"blush wines" called "white Zinfandel". Zinfandel is noted for the
fruit-laden, berry-like aroma and prickly taste characteristics in its redversion and pleasant strawberry reminders when made into a "blush" wine.While its origins are not clear it has been positively identified, via DNA analysis at UC Davis (California), as the Primitivo (di Gioia), (2) a
variety grown in Apulia, southern Italy. According to an Italian report of1996 the latter variety may have a relationship to members of the Vranac (3)variety cépage grown in Montenegro, the state that, combined with Serbia,constitutes what remains of the former Yugoslavia. Other contenders werecertain mutated members of the Mali Plavac, (a.k.a Plavac Mali), (4) cépage
varieties which are mainly grown in the coastal area known as Dalmatia, a province of Croatia recently a part of the former Yugoslavia and located just across the Adriatic sea from the shores of Italian Apulia. Research is presently (7/98) underway to explore possible relationships. The origin of the grape name "Zinfandel" in California is currently not known but is thought by some to be a corruption of Zierfändler, a completely unrelated white variety still grown in the Balkan region of Europe. It has been noted that mid-19th century catalogs mention a red (ie. "roter") mutation of that variety. A plausible hypothesis is that a naming error arose due to attribution and shipping mistakes made during unreliable early-19th century transport and handling to New World destinations.
(1) BLACK ST. PETER:
Thought to be the early 19th century Californian name for the variety subsequently known as Zinfandel. (See below).
(2) (3) (4) PRIMITIVO (DI GIOIA):
Minor variety mainly confined to Apulia in southern Italy where it is used to produce a heavy, robust portlike red wine made from raisined grapes. A recent Italian report tentatively links this grape to some mutated members of the Vranac variety grown in Montenegro, part of what remains of former Yugoslavia. There is also another clonal contender. The widely grown Plavac
Mali cépage, also known as Mali Plavac, variety found in Dalmatia - (a province of Croatia, also part of the former Yugoslavia) - contains several mutated varieties. According to a recent report, (7/98), one or more of these appear to share some DNA characteristics with Primitivo indicating a possible parental *or* offspring relationship. In California, where it is now believed to have been translocated via purchase from a historically interesting plant and seed merchant on Long Island in New York State during the mid-19th century, - (see "A History of Wine in America" by Thomas Pinney, 1989) - it is famous as one of that states most popular winegrape
varieties - Zinfandel.
Also known as the Spätrot (6) or Zirifahnler (7) varieties. (See above). Contrary to some reports there is no evidence that this grape has a clonal relationship to the Zinfandel grape of California.
(a.k.a Zierfändler or Zirifahnler grapevines). White-wine producing variety widely grown in Austria and often blended with the Rotgipfler grape derived wine to make the popular "Gumpoldskirchen" village wines.
Also known as the Spätrot or Zirifahnler varieties. (See above). Contrary to some reports there is no evidence that this grape has a clonal relationship to the Zinfandel grape of California.
Peaches in Sweet Wine, Date Pie, Candied almonds and Spices, Cheeses and A Sugar Paste Dragon
First, some comments regarding what should be eaten in the third course.
(P) Book 10 # 68
What Should Be Eaten in the Third Course
Enough has been said about what should be eaten in the first and second courses. Next, what should be taken in the third course should be briefly described as a seal to the stomach, as if in conclusion......
A bit of very hard cheese is thought to seal the stomach and stop vapors from seeking the head and brain. Also it easily takes away squeamishness arising form too fat or sweet a meal. The more refined tables eat anise and coriander rolled in sugar as a remedy for mouth and head.....Either almonds or hazelnuts or other nuts ought to be eaten after fish because they are thought to repress the cold and damp force of fish with their dryness.
Peaches in Sweet wine
Book 2 #12
Also, the opinion of those who say that peaches should be eaten as a last course, cut up into pieces and softened in the best of wine, should not be scorned, because they cool the opening of the stomach and the upper orifices. This ought to be done, however, when the meal proceeds from a course of roasted meat.
As we have served both a roast of beef and chicken, I felt that this recipe was particularly appropriate.
1 quart ripe peaches
750 ml bottle sweet white wine
1-2 quarts of white grape juice to augment the wine, where more liquid is required.
Dip peaches in boiling water, plunge in cold water, ( most modern recipes suggest peeling off the skin, as my period recipe mentions no such thing, I did not). Cut in half , twist and remove pit. Treat with a spray of lemon juice and water to prevent browning. Heat wine and juice to a boil, and set aside.
Prepare canning jars by sterilizing. Put fruit in jars, pour in juice to 1/8 inch from the top, seal and put in hot water bath. Process 20 minutes per quart in boiling water. The canning process was successful, and as such, was used to preserve the peaches in advance. If not preserving the peaches, the step of the hot water bath can be eliminated, the peaches softened in the wine. This can be done by simmering 10-15 minutes in the wine.
I had hoped to use Orvieto Abbocato but it was not available in my area and the price to obtain it was prohibitive. As a substitute I chose
Erben Spatlese 1997 9.5% alcohol $11.25 per 750 ml
a German wine with a sugar level of 5. Made from fully ripened grapes from Rheinhessen. Fruity and freshly acidic. I rationalized that this could have come from Northern Italy! (OK, sad, but hey, I was desperate)
The type of white grape juice used was a commercially available type, made from Niagra variety grapes. The Niagra variety is a Labrusco grape- New World type. The ideal variety would have been a Sauvignon Blanc but the grape must was not available in any small quantity.
The peach used was a “freestone” peach, the one that was available commercially and was in condition for canning. Southern Ontario has had record rainfall and the fruit has become sodden and is too soft to can properly, limiting my choices considerably. The type of peach I would have preferred to use is the Grosse Mignonne, a variety thought to originate shortly post period (1667). As this variety was not available I used the best fruit I could find.
Book 8 # 43
(P)Soak well-pounded almonds with fish juice and rose water. When they are soaked, pass through a sieve into a bowl. Grind in the same mortar a half pound of pitted dates, a few raisins, four or five figs, as well as three ounces of well-cooked rice. Then cut up with a small knife a little parsley, orach, and marjoram, torn by hand and fried in oil. It will not be out of the way if you cut up livers or fish fat with these. Besides, grind together, or separately, an ounce of Corinthian raisins, a half pound of sugar, a little cinnamon, a little more ginger, and a bit of saffron, and mix into the above, So that it may really thicken more, put in either a half ounce of starch or pike eggs, and spread out in a well-oiled earthenware pot with a lower crust with well-washed pine nuts stuck everywhere in it. If it will really please you, spread crepes instead of an upper crust. This mixture ought to be cooked in a slow fire. Also, it is necessary for it to be thin. When it is cooked, it should be covered with sugar and rose water. This really also nourishes a great deal, is slowly digested, helps the liver, damages the teeth, and increases phlegm.
1.5 cups ground almonds
.5 cups rose water
1 cup fish juice (.125 tsp. insinglass in 1 cup water, stirred well)*
Combine above, let sit for 10-15 minutes. Pour into a mesh strainer and let drain for sometime, stir occasionally to assist the draining.
.5 lb (6.5 oz Apothecary) pitted dates
.125 cup sultana raisins
3 ounces (.5 cup) well cooked rice
Combine in food processor till thick consistency.
1 tsp. Flat leaf parsley
, 3-4 small baby spinach leaves [DAM2](note 1), .5 tsp. fresh marjoram chopped well and fried in 1 tsp. olive oil**
1 ounce currants (.333 cups)***
.5 lb sugar (6.5 oz Apothecary) (7 TB turbinado, 6 TB packed demerera)****
1.5 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger*****
4-5 saffron threads crushed
3.5 tsp. unbleached wheat flour
Grind the above in food processor then add to the previous ingredients.
Line a large shallow baking pan with pastry or two pie plates (I used commercial pie dough, this was a spur of the moment thing)
Stick pine nuts (.333 cups) into the pastry bottom
Spread filling into the pastry.
Top with upper crust or crepes (I did 2 pies, one with pastry top the other with crepe)
Cook 325 degrees farenheit for 45 minutes.
Combine .25 cups demerera sugar and .25 cups turbinado with .125 cups rose water. Mix well until mostly dissolved. Pour over the top of the pie. Slice into wedges or diamonds.
*The fish juice issue threw me for a while. I was debating whether this was a garum (i.e. Roman fish sauce) type thing or if it was just a fish broth. There were a few recipes later in the manuscript that used fish juice to make the dish thicker which lead me to believe that this was much more like using a gelatin than using the liquid as a source of flavour. Isinglass being a source of gelatin is a fish derivative and fit the bill. I am however, open to other interpretations.
**The translation says “a little”, I interpreted this to mean a generous pinch
***Postings to the SCA cooks list produced this valuable information
a special thank you to all who posted information but especially
Akim Yarolsavich who poste the following;
1. Sunkist type currants .....are raisins of Corinth grapes grown
on the island of Zante.
2. Raisins ....are sun dried grapes.....always.
3 "Raysons of the sun" .....are a popular 17th and 18th century
term for raisins of Corinth grapes from Corinth or Zante to help
distinguish them from currants (Ribes). The term probably
was used in the 16th century as well but not so extensively.
4. Currants ....are always Ribes berries, used fresh, in jelly,
jams and wines. Only a reference to DRIED fruit does the
term (in English) mean Zante grape raisins. In DRIED fruit,
it NEVER means Ribes berries.
5. There may be specific recipes which get this confused and
switched in meaning but this does not mean the instance
was reflective of a universal usage at that time. It means
more likely that someone was confused over the origin or
identity or both of the small dried fruit he was using.
I may be proven wrong on my views with further documentation,
but what I have at hand leads me to my currant (pun intended)
position on this berry important issue.
***I wanted a deeper flavour to the icing than just what white sugar could give so I combined these sugars for a closer attempt at a period sugar that would have been more common (pure white sugar was often noted when needed). I chose to work with the Apothecaries scale for weight which makes a pound equal to 12 ounces Vs the modern 16. This choice was based on conversations on this list specifically regarding the Menagier ratios, but I have taken to being liberal with that interpretation from the Menagier to other period works.
Further posting to the cook’s list, Akim Yaroslavich replies;
The Apothecaries scale is the same as the Troy scale, except that the Troy
has no scruples or drams. 12 ounces Troy or Apothecaries = 13.165 ounces Avoirdupois or
conversely there are 14.58 Troy or Apothecaries ounces in an Avoirdupois pound. I usually convert directly to grams in either system and calculate in metric. Most people don't have a clue about the weight difference, especially when they are quoting weights like sterling silver for sale. They don't know you can't measure Troy weights off a postal scale and end up overvaluing their silver by about 10% or so. Beware of using unfamiliar measures in your
redactions unless you have studied all the ramifications of the standard.
****In retrospect, I will use 2 tsp. ginger as the recipe calls for “a little cinnamon, a little MORE ginger”
Using Orach Vs Spinach
This is not a complete analysis of the issue, only a commentary on what Platina himself, says on the matter,
In Platina’s 7th Chapter he discusses orach in the following way;
“”I would think that orach is what the cdountry people call spinach from the spines which it produces on seed” . This is a derogatory statement in that he implies “country people” to be uneducated and don’t know the difference. However, he goes on to say “Some would want orach not to be what they call spinach, although it has similarity and almost the same force, for orach softens the bowels and is good for people with jaundice, that is, those with “golden disease”, so called from gold on account of spattered gall, as Varro says. It cools a warm liver and represses inflamed bile”
On the other hand, Platina gives spinach a definite place among herbs and describes spinach and chard thusly;
“ Spinach is the lightest kind found among garden vegetables. I would believe it is divided into two kinds, since there is black and white. Black grows almost with a head like onions, cabbage, and lettuce, and there is almost no garden vegetable greater in breadth. Some think the nature of spinach inert and with out force, even if it usually disturbs the bowel even to the bile. Taken in food, it soothes excessive menstruation in women, but chard, which is white, maintains a mean. It is most usefully given to those with liver and spleen illnesses, with sweet spices which temper its saltiness. It likewise relieves the heat of summer, revives those who are disinterested in food because of squeamishness, and fills nursing women with a lot of milk. Eaten with it’s own juice, it moves the bowels, but eaten alone, with the juice thrown away, it constricts them.”
I believe that Platina is describing white spinach (chard) at the end, however it may be argued he is referring to either. Either way, it seems to me that spinach is a reasonable and justifiable substitution for orach.
Candied almonds and spices (confits or dragees) and Rose Candies
Confits- Candied Spices and Nuts
Platina does not name his candied spices however, many medieval cooking manuscripts mention confits and some give vague recipes for them. There is only one complete recipe for confits and it is included in this work below. Confits or comfits also known as dragees, are candied spices used to end a meal or sometimes sprinkled over a dish as a final touch. I think that the origin of the use of these candied spices was to humorically balance a dish by adding the constituents of warmth and dampness that was believed to be inherent in them.
(P) Book 2 #15
Sugar comes not only form Arabia and India but also form Crete and Sicily. Pliny calls it the honey collected from cane. It is really fine when it is ground up, or even ground by the teeth. Surely, the whiter it is, the better, which it becomes through a long purification, whence we say it needs probably three or more days uncooked. It’s force is warm and damp so that it is of good nourishment, is good for the stomach, and soothes whatever discomforts there are, if any. In persons who are choleric, however, it is easily converted into the dominant humor.
I think the ancients used sugar merely for medicinal purposes, and for that reason no mention is made of it among their foods. They were surely missing a great pleasure, for nothing given us to eat is so flavorless that sugar does not season it. Hence arose that proverb of frequent use: no kind of food is made more tasteless by adding sugar. By melting it, we make almonds (softened and cleaned in water), pine nuts, hazelnuts, coriander, anise, cinnamon, and many other things into sweets. The quality of sugar then almost crosses over into the qualities of those things to which it clings in the preparation.
(P) Book 10 # 68
The more refined tables eat anise and coriander rolled in sugar as a remedy for mouth and head
Platina’s description is based on Galenical principles of balance of the four humors(yellow bile-choleric, phlegm-phlegmatic, blood-sanguine and black bile-melancholic) and their
properties(dry/hot, cold/damp, hot/damp, dry/hot). It should be noted that Milham believes this information brought out by Platina actually originates in Arabic medical treatises of the period, which are based on Galenic theory. For a food to be warm-not cold or hot and damp-not dry or wet, indicates that it is extremely well balanced and as such will be very desirable. It also would be absorbed by the blood very easily, therefore easily digested as blood is by its very nature, hot/damp. This is the key to Galenic theory as he postulates in his work “On the Natural Faculties”.
“It has been made clear in the preceding discussion that nutrition occurs by an alteration or assimilation of that which nourishes to that which receives nourishment, and that there exists in every part of the animal a faculty which in view of its activity we call, in general terms alterative or more specifically assimilative and nutritive. It was also shown that a sufficient supply of the matter which the part being nourished makes into nutriment for itself is ensured by virtue of another faculty which naturally attracts its proper juice [humour] that juice is proper to each part which is adapted for assimilation, and that the faculty which attracts the juice is called by reason of its activity, attractive or epispastic.”
Ancient Medicine/Medicina Antiqua::Hypertexts:Galen, On the Natural Faculties translated by Arthur John Brock, M.D.
Platina indicates that sugar is an incredible food and imparts it’s goodness to whatever it seasons, in other words the perfect food. In the modern North American diet, we consume huge amounts of sugar, and as such suffer from its deleterious effects (sugar sensitivity, high blood sugar, hardening of the arteries and tooth decay to name a few). If we partook of it in a limited way, as a medicine, we could better appreciate the effect it has on the body. If you rarely eat sugar, and partake of an amount in one setting (i.e. a handful of candied nuts, spices or a heavily sugared food) you will find the experience “lifting”. Modern research has shown that sugar provides the body with energy in caloric form but also stimulates other aspects of the body. The caloric intake alone is significant to the medieval man. As they used large quantities of fat in their diets to provide calories for survival, sugar might be seen (in their limited understanding) as an energy boost comparable to how we use various herbal medicines (such as ginseng) today.
A more in-depth discussion of the Humourical theory is not practical in this context, but makes for fascinating discussion.
Platina’s description of making confits is lacking at best. The most complete and descriptive recipe for confits and candied fruit peel comes from, not the 15th Century, but from an early 17th C manuscript, “Delights for Ladies, to adorn their Perfons, Tables, Clofets, and Diftillatoriess, With Beauties, Banqvets, Perfumes & Waters” 1609. I have included it here to demonstrate the method that I used to make the confits.
54.The art of comfet-making, teaching how to cover all kinds of seeds, fruits or spices with sugar.
First of all you must have a deepe bottomed bason of fine cleane brasse or latten, with two eares of Iron to hang it wiht tow several cords over a bason or earthen pan with hot coales.
You must also have a broad pan to put ashes in, and hot coales upon them.
You must have a clean latten bason oto melt your sugar in, or a faire brasen skillet.
You must aslo have a fine brasen ladle, to let run the sugar upon the seeds.
You must aslo have a brasen slice, to scrape away the sugar from the hanging bason if neede require.
Having all these necessarie vessells and instruments, worke as followeth.
Choose the whitest, finest, and hardest sugar, a qarter of a pound of Anniseed; or Coriander seeds, and your comfits will be great enough; and if you will make them greater, take halfe a pound more of sugar, or one pound more, and then they will be faire and large.
And hhalfe a pound of Annis-seeds with two pounds of sugar, will make fine small comfits.
You may also take quarter and a halfe of Annis-seeds, and three pound of Sugar, or halfe a pound of Annis seeds, and foure pound of sugar Do the like in Coriander-seeds.
Melt your Sugar in this manner:viz. Put three pounds of your powder-sugar into the bason, and one pint of cleane running water thereunto; stirre it well with a brazen slice, until all be moist and well wet: then set it over the fire, without smoke or flame, and melt it well, that there bee no whole gristie sugar in the bottome, and let it seethe mildely, untill it will streame from the Ladle like Turpentine, with a long streame, and not drop: when it is come to his decoction, let it seethe no more, but keep it upon hot embers, that it may run from the Ladle upon the seeds.
To make them speedily, let your water be seething hot, or seething and put powder sugar to them: cast on your sugar boiling hote: have a good warme fire under the hanging Bason
Take as much water to your Sugar, as will dissolve the same.
Never skim you sugar, if it bee clean and fine.
Put no kind of starch or Amylum to your sugar.
Seeth not your Sugar too long: for, that will make it black, yellow or tawnie.
Moove the seeds in the hanging bason as fast as you can or may, when the sugar is in casting.
At first coate put on but one halfe spoonefull with the ladle, and all to move the bason, move, stirre and rubbe the seeds with thy left hand a pretty while, for they will take sugar the better, and drie them well after every coate.
Doe this at every coat, not onely moving the bason, but also with the stirring of the comfits with the left hand, and drying the same, thus dooin you shall make good speed in the making:as, in everie three houres you may make three pound of comfits.
And as the cofits doe increase in greatness, so you may take more Sugar in your ladle to cast on. But for plaine comfits, let your Sugar be of a light decoction last, and of a higher decoction first, and not too hote.
For cripe and ragged comfits, make your sugar of a high decoction, even as high as it may runne from the ladle, and let fall a foothigh or more from the ladle, and athe hottter you cast in your sugar, the more ragged will your comfits bee. Aslo the comfits will not take so much of the sugar as they will upon a light decoction, and they will keepe their raggednesse long. This high decociton must serve for eight or ten coates in the end of the worke, put on at every time but one spoonefull,and have a light hand with your bason,casting on but little sugar.
A quarter of a pound of Coriander seeds and three pound of sugar will make great huge, and big comfets.
See that you keepe your Sugar alwaies in good temper in the bason, that it burne not into lumpes or gobbets: and if your sugar bee at any time too high boyled, put in a spoonefull or two of water, and keep it warily with the ladle, and let your fire alwaies bee without smoke or flame.
Some commend a Ladle that hath a hoel in it to let the sugar run thorow of a height: but you may make your comfits in their perfect forme and shape, onely with a plain Ladle.
Wehn you comfits be make, set your dishes with your comfits upon papers in them, before the heat of the fire, or in the hot Sunne, or in an Oven after the bread is drawne, by the space of an houre or tow:and this will make them to be very white.
Take a quarter of a pound of Annis-seeds, and two pound of Sugar and this proportion will make them very great: and even a like quantity take of Carroway-seeds, Fennell seeds and Coriander seeds.
Take of the fines Cinamon, and cut it into pretty small stickes beeing dry and beware you wet it not, that deadeth the Cinamon: And then worke as in other comfits. Doe this with Orenge rindes likewise.
Worke upon Ginger, Cloves, and Almonds, as upon other seeds.......................
The remaining recipe, although a good read, adds little to the usefulness here so I have edited this part out.
From these detailed instructions I have worked out a recipe and technique to create comfits ,candied orange rind and candied nuts.
2 cups/16 ounces granulated white sugar (very finely ground in a food processor or mortar) or fruit sugar or castor sugar (10X sugar)
1/2 cup/ 3/4 ounce (approx.) coriander seeds (or any other suitable seed or nut i.e. anise, caraway, fennel, pine nuts, almonds are the most commonly mentioned in period the quantity of nuts will be higher as they are larger)
food colouring (optional)
1 cup hot water
heavy bottomed saucepan (I used a small cast iron skillet)
metal soup spoon
Using a heavy pan, over low heat, combine sugar and water. Stir frequently until sugar melts. You must monitor the sugar carefully. If it over boils it will simply dehydrate and crystallize and you will need to add water and begin again.
The setting I used ranged from 1-3 on an electric stove. Your appliance may have a different level, so you may need to work with the syrup a bit to get the right heat. Note that you will need to adjust the temperature to keep the syrup hot, but not caramelizing or boiling for too long.
As the syrup heats up, you will begin to notice that it becomes clear, this is the beginning stage of it being ready to use. You will also see fine crystals on the spoon when you dip it into the syrup and let it run. When the crystals disappear, you are nearer to the syrup being ready. In addition, you will notice that when allowing a spoonful to pour back into the pan, it will remain as a stream from the spoon about 5-6 inches in the air to the pan. Finally, the syrup will be ready when you can put drops into a glass of cold water and the sugar doesn’t dissipate, it will clump up (this is known as the soft ball stage), you can also put a drop on a cool plate, if it does not run it is also at softball stage.
Having your seeds in a bowl (I used a small stainless steel round bottomed bowl), take half a soupspoon full of syrup and pour it into the seeds, shaking the bowl with your right hand as you do so.
Now for the fun part. Working quickly, begin to stir the seeds using the small fork, (think scraping the side of the bowl or beating eggs) with your left hand while holding the bowl in your right (or vice versa if you are naturally left handed). As the seeds separate, (you may need to help them along with the fork), they will begin to roll, continue this fast stirring until the seeds are separate and appear somewhat white. This will require some effort and should be done with some speed. The first few coats will seem almost inconsequential, but as you continue you will see them increase in size.
Do not use alot of syrup the first few coats, you do not want to let the seeds cool down before you can mostly separate them, this will result in a mass of seeds, not really useable as confits. As you finish, allow the seeds to cool before adding more syrup. If the seeds seem unwilling to separate, sometimes allowing a little time to cool will coax them along. Check to make sure your sugar is ready (i.e. the softball stage) and not crystallizing.
The technique requires some practice, but once you get used to it, you’ll be surprised how easy it really is.
Gilded dishes were known in period. A reference to such a dish is found in the Viander de Taillevent;
Gilded Chicken with dumplings,
.................Take some batter with a clean spoon, stirring always, put it on top of your chickens and dumplings, [and put them over the fire] until they are glazed. Do them 2 or 3 times until they are well covered. Take some gold or silver leaf and wrap them (first sprinkle them jwith a little egg white so that the leaf adheres better).
The extension of the gilding to the confits, was to transfer the medicinal value of the gold onto the confit, ensuring the good health of the feaster. References to the ingestion of gold for it’s medicinal value were known in period.
In notes in the Florilegium, (www.florilegium.com) William the Alchymist , points out that gold is the King of metals, and the essence of gold is superior to all other metal. It was with this thought that I gilded the confits for consumption.
3 dozen confits (small seed type, see recipe above)
3 sheets 24k gold leaf
1/2 cup fine ground sugar
1/4 cup water
Bring sugar and water to a slow boil until it reaches the soft ball candy stage. Taking premade confits with a set of tweezers, dip into the hot sugar. Place onto a small precut square of gold leaf. Allow to cool briefly. Using a toothpick, roll the confit until covered with gold. Allow to cool thoroughly before storing.
Please note that gold leaf is very difficult to work with. Eliminating drafts and even redirecting your breath is necessary to prevent the gold from blowing around. I used a sharp knife to cut squarish sections of leaf,in order to prevent the whole leaf from becoming entangled in the sugar syrup.
A Sugar Paste Dragon
The dragon I created was made of sugar paste with a wire base. In reality it is edible ( except the wire) as the colourants were all food colours and totally safe. I chose to seal the piece with an acrylic spray as I intended the piece to be display only and did not want to risk the colour transfer. This piece was being transported hundreds of miles, in hot, clammy weather and as such I chose the most prudent way to preserve it.
From within the belly of the dragon the Rose Candies, in the shape of eggs were placed. A piece of red silk was stuffed into the dragon for Her Majesty to remove and as such the eggs were to come tumbling out.
The recipe I used for the sugar paste was one created by the Dame Alys Katherine. Her recipe and notes can be found in Stefan’s Florilegium at www.florilegium.com.
A period recipe: Thomas
Dawson, _The Second Part of the Good
Hus-wives Jewell_, 1597, entitled "To make a past of Suger,
whereof a man may make al manner of fruits, and other fine
things, with their forme, as Plates, Dishes, Cuppes and such
like thinges, wherewith you may furnish a Table."
"Take Gumme and dragant as much as you wil, and steep it in Rosewater til it be mollified, and
add foure ounces of suger take of it the bigness
of a beane, the iuyce of Lemon, a walnut
shel ful, and a little of the white of an eg. But you must first take the gumme, and beat it so much with a pestell in a brasen morter, till it be come like water, then put to it the iuyce with the white of an egge, incorporating al these wel together, this done take four ounces of fine white suger wel beaten to powder, and cast it into the morter by a litle and a litle, until they be turned into the form of paste, then take it out of the said morter, and bray it upon the powder of suger, as it were meale or flower, untill it be like soft paste, to the end you may turn it, and fashion it which way you wil, as is aforesaid, with such fine knackes as may serve a Table taking heed there stand no hotte thing nigh it. At the end of the Banket they may eat all, and breake the Platters
Dishes, Glasses Cuppes, and all other things, for this paste is very delicate and saverous. If you will make a Tarte of Almondes stamped with suger and Rosewater of this sorte that
Marchpaines be made of, this shal you laye between two pastes of such vessels or fruits or some other things as you thinke good."
1 teaspoon lemon juice*
2 teaspoons rosewater (or more as needed) *
1/2 to one lightly beaten egg white (can use reconstituted
dried egg white)
1 teaspoon gum tragacanth
up to a pound or so of powdered sugar (4 cups = 1 pound)
Soak the gum tragacanth in the rosewater until it softens.
Mix it thoroughly. It should become liquidy rather than paste-
like. Add more liquid (water, rosewater) as necessary. Mix
it with the lemon juice and egg white. Add the powdered sugar
bit by bit, mixing well. If it becomes too stiff and there is
a great deal of sugar left, add additional liquid or the rest
of the egg white. Knead the dough on a board sprinkled with
powdered sugar until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Then
use it to shape what you will. Keep the unused portions and
all scraps well covered under a glass jar, in a plastic bag,
or under a slightly damp cloth. (If the cloth is too damp
the paste will begin to dissolve. Add more powdered sugar
In my work with the recipe, I found that the ratio of lemon juice/rosewater: gum tragacanth, was substantially higher than that stated. I believe the ratio to be at least 1-2 Tablespoons of lemon juice/ 2-4 Tablespoons of rosewater : 1 teaspoon gum tragacanth. I discussed this briefly with Dame Alys and she agreed that the ratio needed to be amended to a higher proportion. This provided me with some relief as I was afraid of the final product not drying....ever!
The dragon was basically constructed by creating a wire base wrapped in mesh wire to provide shape and to take up the bulk of the body, then slowly building up the details with numerous layers of sugar paste. The weight of the sugar paste and its lack of firm cohesion was very significant in the engineering of the wire form. This piece was intended to be free-standing on four legs with wings outstretched and tail unfurled, and would require support that was not inherent in the sugar paste.
The final details were both layers of coloured sugar paste and painted food colours. In addition I used heated carving tools to create the look of scales. The final detail was to insert sparklers into the mouth of the dragon and have them lit upon bringing the final course into the feast. This was, in my opinion spectacular as smoke began to unfurl from the dragons mouth as some of the sugar caught fire while the sparkler raged.
It may seem at first that I was just going for the fun of seeing fire spew from the mouth of the dragon, but I was actually re-creating the effect based on an example found in culinary history. The description of “lighter subtleties” by Taillevent, in the 14th Century, calls for a lion to be made of pastry, a wick to be soaked in “ camphor” inserted in it’s mouth and lit.
You need a lion who has his 2 forefeet and ead in the damsel’s lap. For him you can make a brass mouth and a thin brass tongue, with paper teeth glued to the mouth. Add some camphor and a little cotton, and when you would like to present it before the lords, touch the fire to it.
I felt my use of the sparkler decreased the safety hazard of an open flame, especially near canvass pavilions.
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 cups rose petals, white removed.
I made the rose candies by melting the sugar water to the candying stage (hard crack) while simmering rose petals that I had saved from my garden in the liquid. I strained the rose petals (which left a light pink colouring to the candy) and dropped spoonfuls onto sugar. Once cooled, I rolled the candy into an egg shape.
(P) Book 2 # 17
The quality of cheese is derived from its age. Fresh cheese is cold and moist, salt cheese hard and warm and dry. Fresh cheese is very nourishing, represses the heat of the stomach and helps those spitting blood, but it is totally harmful on the phlegmatic. Aged cheese is difficult to digest, of little nutriment, not good for stomach or belly , and produces bile, gout, pleurisy, sand grains, and stones. They say a small amount, whatever you want, taken after a meal, when it seals the opening of the stomach, both takes away the squeamishness of fatty dishes and benefits digestion and head.
Various Italian cheeses are described by Platina i.e.
Take coagulated milk, but not too coagulated so that the cheese takes sources, as almost always happens. It is formed into a ball by the hand of the maker, not lean and warm but plump and cool, and it is put from the pot into molds or reed containers or baskets and pressed until the whey inside comes out. Cheese is then salted and put in a place to some degree exposed to smoke. - smoked provolone or ricotta, cacio cavallo, asiago, these are semi ripe cheeses
Today there are two kinds of cheese in Italy which vie for first place, like the “rotten”, as the country people call it, which is made in Tuscany in the month of March, and the Parmesan, which is made on this side of the Alps and can be called maialis from the month of May.-
Pecorino Romano and Parmesan Reggiano
An assortment of cheeses such as Pecorino Romano, Asiago, Smoked ricotta, ) cacciotta, cacciocavallo, Taleggio, Gorgonzola Piccante were sliced small and served with the sugared dishes.
Book 2 # 14
Honey is praised differently from wine; the latter is valued because it is old and moist, the former because it is fresh and warm.
Cooked honey is considered better than raw, for it does not bloat one so much or increase pains in the midriff or bile. Summer honey is better than autumn or it agrees with bodies which are cold and damp, heals many ills, does not allow bodies to decay, is considered best in preserving apples, gourds, citron, and nuts, and creates mouth-watering appeal in many foods. From it honey vinegar and honey water are made, the latter also being called aqua musla, which is given advantageously to those coughing. I believe honey wine is made from wine and honey, according to Pliny.
Pliny was close, honey wine, is made with honey and water and a few other simple ingredients. I made a batch of mead from Orange flower honey last fall and have held onto a few bottles for the purpose of such a night as this was.
A Mead Recipe
by Lord Abu
This is for Making a Quick Mead
Start with 10 -12 lb. of honey and 3 gallons of luke warm water. While stirring the water, pour in the honey.
Add 5 tablespoons of wine makers yeast nutrient and ____ tsp. of acid blend (if not using an acidic honey or citrus)
Add cold water to make almost 5 gallons, then add 1 pack of champagne yeast.
Cover with clean kitchen towel to keep out dirt and bugs. Let stand 8-10 hr. It will form a layer of bubbles on top.
Siphon into fermentation vessel and put on air lock. Check every 2 days with hydrometer.
When the hydrometer is near 80, rack the mead (siphon the mead out of the carboy into another) watching that when you get close to the bottom, not to suck up the yeast that has settled (the layer of sediment on the bottom)
The following is where many people disagree...
To the mead add 3 teaspoons of potassium sorbate per 5 gallons of mead, this will slow the fermentation. You can also chill the mead to slow fermentation. Some people add campden tablets, which is a sulfide, this was not used.
Wait 4-8 hours then for each gallon of mead take 1 tsp. of sparkaloid or isinglass (clearing agents). Add to 2 cups of hot water and boil for 5-10 minutes stirring well. Pour hot mixture into mead. Put airlock back and wait for at least 12 hr. (use 2 cups of water not 2 cups per gallon)
Rack again then put airlock back on and wait a day or two to make sure the yeast is not working again. Then rack.
You can wait another day or two and rack again this will help clarify your mead but you do not have to do this step.
Bottle and drink!
I was taught to make this mead by one, Lord Abu, who sadly passed away shortly after I had the chance to meet him. While drinking this mead, I ask those who partake to give a moment of thought to the good Lord Abu.
A Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks, Sixth Edition, 1991, first compiled by Duke Cariadoc of the Bow and the Duchess Diana Alena
A Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks, Seventh Edition, 1998 Volume II
Galen, On the Natural Faculties, Book III. Translated by Brock, Arthur, John M.D.
Milham, Mary Ella. Platina, on Right Pleasure and Good Health. A Critical Edition and Translation of De Honesta Voluptate et Valetudine , Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, Tempe, Arizona, 1998
Ody, Penelope, The Complete Medicinal Herbal, A Practical Guide to the Healing Properties of Herbs, with more than 250 remedies for common ailments. Dorling Kindersley, London, England, 1993
Prescott, James, Le Viander de Taillevent, a 14th Century Cookery based on the Vatican Library Manuscript, Translated into English by James Prescott. Alfarhaugr Publishing Society, Inc. 1988.
Ancient Medicine- http://web1.ea.pvt.k12.pa.us/medant/GalNtIII.htm
Oregon State University website- http://osu.orst.edu/food-resource/v/cucum.html
Stefan’s Florilegium- http:www.florilegium.com
New York Wine and Grape foundation- http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/hort/faculty/pool/vinfvar/ Title.html
Wine Lover’s Page- www.wineloverspage.com