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chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014
Probation
Can't post for 4 days!


Historical Cooking

History is something I've always found fascinating, but I find food and drink just as fascinating (if not more so, which is why I'm here). Some of you may already know of my tendency to eat military rations. But I decided to go a step further, and begin actually cooking instead of opening pouches and cans.

So today, I hereby present the historical food thread!



In this thread, we discuss and cook historical cuisine to earn a closer appreciation to what our ancestors had to put up with, from simple pottage and gritty bread to exquisite banquet meals that the 99% could only dream of laying eyes on. In doing so, we gain insight into what daily life would have been like when our predecessors sat down to eat. We also eat food and drink alcohol, which is literally never a bad thing.

When posting a recipe, make sure to include the original text whenever possible along with a plain English translation. Also, please try to stay as close to the original recipe as possible! I'm always incredibly frustrated by online historical recipes because so many people want to modify them for a modern palette, rather than truly experiencing the past. While some recreations may not be 100% possible (such as needing to use commercial fish sauce instead of making your own garum or an herb being literally extinct for a thousand years), I feel like it defeats the purpose of living history to try and modify it for our own sensibilities. If this means the final product kinda tastes like crap, so be it in the name of science.

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chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014
Probation
Can't post for 4 days!


To Seeth Fresh Salmon

My first ever historical recipe, taken from The Good Huswives Handmaid of 16th century England. Recipe comes from All Gode Cookery.

quote:

To seeth Fresh Salmon. Take a little water, and as much Beere and salt, and put therto Parsley, Time and Rosemarie, and let all these boyle togeathere. Then put in your Salmon, and make your broth Sharpe with some Vinigar.

quote:

1 cup water
1 cup beer or ale
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. parsley flakes
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. rosemary leaves
4 Salmon steaks (or any variety of fish)

Combine all ingredients except fish in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer. Place fish in a shallow baking dish, then add enough of the beer mixture to immerse 2/3 of the fish. Cover baking dish, then place in a 400° F oven for approx. 15-20 minutes, or until fish becomes tender and flakes with a fork when pierced. Remove fish from baking dish & serve.

I chose this because out of all the All Gode Cookery recipes, this was one of the easiest. All you do is mix ingredients in a saucepan, boil it, then pour it onto salmon and let it sit in an oven for a while.



I chose Samuel Adams Cold Snap for the beer. Pickings at the local Publix were slim, but I figured the very low hop character and use of spices and citrus would more closely imitate medieval gruit beers.



This is basically a two-step meal, and step one is throwing everything but the salmon in a saucepan and letting it boil. Within minutes, you're hit with an absolutely wonderful smell from the spices intermingling. I could easily see a medieval kitchen being one of the best smelling places to work, in spite of the heat.





I had to try a few pans without pouring anything in to try and get the right depth, which is a lot harder than it seems, but I lucked upon the exact right size for all 4 salmon fillets and the 2 1/4 cups of liquid. I used a plastic spoon I had sitting in a drawer to try and even out the clumps of wet spices onto all the pieces. From there, it was into the oven for 20 minutes!





And the verdict?

Quite good, and not that far off from modern tastes! The strong smell isn't quite conveyed in the flavor, but you've still got it somewhere in there. The strongest flavor components are likely the beer and 1/4 cup of vinegar, and the salmon has a noticeable acidity not unlike if it had been given a squirt of lemon juice.

bunnyofdoom
Mar 29, 2008



This seems pretty good. Would like to try this myself soon.

Eeyo
Aug 29, 2004



You're clearly meant to add as much salt as beer and water

Mr. Wiggles
Dec 1, 2003

I would never shop at Costco. The paper towels won't fit into my sports car!

This is a good thread.

xyigx
Nov 6, 2012


This might be handy for one or both threads.

https://maritime.org/doc/cookbook1945/index.htm

My Lovely Horse
Aug 21, 2010



I bought a Shakespeare-themed cookbook a while ago that had a bunch of historical recipes as well as modernized equivalents. Never got around to making anything from it but this might be a good opportunity.

Horrible Lurkbeast
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!


Hamcutlet
Romanian julienned vegtables
?

My Lovely Horse
Aug 21, 2010



Pound of flesh

Horrible Lurkbeast
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!


Rich Chard dessert

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


If you're interested in ye olde bread, this blog is really interesting.

Debby Banham (University of Cambridge) and Martha Bayless (University of Oregon) posted:

How to Make Anglo-Saxon Bread: Version 1

Ingredients:
flour (see below)
water

1. First you need to decide on your level of poverty. Remember that by our standards most Anglo-Saxons were what we would deem ‘poor.’ You will need one of the following:

if you are very poor:
pea- and/or bean flour, which you should mix with oat flour in random proportions

if you are moderately poor:
oat flour, which you should mix with barley flour in random proportions
(this mixture is now known as dredge)

if you are a reasonably prosperous yeoman farmer:
wholemeal wheat flour, which you should mix with rye flour in random proportions
(this mixture is now known as maslin)

Oats and barley often grew together, and wheat and rye often grew together, so these mixtures make sense. It was advantageous to grow two kinds of grain together, so if one failed through disease or bad weather, the other kind might still produce, and you had a better chance of not starving.

If you want to have an authentic stomach ache, you could add cockle, a troublesome weed that grew among the grain. Excavations in York showed that tenth-century bread had enough cockle to have given the eaters digestive discomfort.

Ideally you have just ground these grains into flour with your stone quern, so it’s nice and sweet and fresh, but we’ll overlook that requirement in the interests of convenience. Incidentally, modern hand or machine home grinders heat the flour to too high a temperature to make it authentic, so don’t feel guilty if you don’t have a home grinder.

2. Take a handful or two of flour, and put it in a bowl. Add enough water to make a dough that is not too sticky. Ideally you have gathered this water from a source that is not downstream from someone with dysentery, though this too could be inauthentic.

Later medieval sources suggest that if you’re using pea flour, you might pour in boiling water, which keeps the smell down. Mmm! Sounds appetizing already! Needless to say, if you do this, let the water cool before handling the dough.

Do not add anything else. You do not need salt. Medieval butter and cheese were heavily salted to preserve them, so much so that in the later Middle Ages at least, people had to wash out their butter before use, because it was too salty to eat. My informants tell me that some modern types of Scandinavian flatbread still do not include salt, so they can be eaten with salty butter or cheese without overdoing the salt. You do not need any fancy ingredients like fat or milk or whatnot, heaven forbid; if you could afford fancy ingredients, you’d be making rich person’s bread.

3. Put a griddle or frying pan on the fire. Do not use any fat in the pan.

4. While the griddle is getting hot, knead the dough until it is well mixed. You can do this on a board or table, or by squeezing and passing the dough back and forth from hand to hand.

The legend of Alfred and the cakes, which we’ll cover more completely another time, specifies that the dough is kneaded, as do many later flatbread traditions. In fact it is hard to get the flour well mixed with the water unless it is kneaded, and even more so if a spoon is lacking. It seems clear to me that this is how the practice of kneading dough was ‘invented’: as a way to mix the ingredients of dough more thoroughly.
Two maslin (wheat and rye) hearthcakes cooking. The one on the left has been kneaded, the one on the right, not; the difference is apparent.

5. Form some of the kneaded dough into a flat roundish disc by patting it between your hands. It should be maybe slightly smaller than your hand, so you can squish it into flatness without it going floppy over the edge of your hand. Smaller is fine. It should be fairly thin, as thin or a bit thicker than a modern oatcake.*

6. Put your disc of flattened dough on the hot griddle, and squeeze on as many more of these ‘cakes’ as you can make, side by side. Watch them so they don’t burn (cf. Alfred & cakes). The dredge (oat and barley) bread will not rise, but the maslin (wheat and rye) bread will puff up a tiny bit from internal steam, enough to have a discernable crust and crumb.

7. When the bottom has some brownish burny spots, turn the cake over and cook it on the other side. Depending on the thickness, each side will probably take as long as it takes to say nine or ten Lord’s Prayers. This is how they measured cooking time in the medieval period.

8. When done, take the hearthcake off the griddle and make more until the dough is used up.

Best when eaten hot. The simplest way to eat these is with butter or cheese. The word is that Cheshire is the most nearly medieval cheese, but any kind of cheese will be good enough — the crumblier the better. That is how the Anglo-Saxons would have eaten these hearthcakes when out in the fields, or when having simple meals. More elaborate meals might have seen the bread dipped into bowls of cooked peas or beans, or into stews with meat in them (ascending up the social scale), or with bacon, which was probably the most widely preserved kind of meat, judging from later records.

I've only tried the reasonably prosperous yeoman recipe, but it's pretty good.

Horrible Lurkbeast
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!


Ground uncooked peas do smell awful because they are poisonous, you might want to go for cooked pea flour (which is what is sold in stores) in case you underbake the bread.

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

Ground uncooked peas do smell awful because they are poisonous, you might want to go for cooked pea flour (which is what is sold in stores) in case you underbake the bread.

But that just makes it more historically authentic* .







*Not responsible for authentic early medieval food poisonings.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010

Niles Hokkanen's Pocket Guide to Mandolin Chords is hands-down the best mandolin chordbook you can buy, and a damn steal at less than the cost of a decent pint. It doesn't just show you the chords, it actually explains the concepts behind them.

golden bubble posted:

If you're interested in ye olde bread, this blog is really interesting.


I've only tried the reasonably prosperous yeoman recipe, but it's pretty good.

I'm in India right now so it's on my mind, but basically if you add a little more flour to the "prosperous yeoman" recipe and roll it out real thin, you'll end up with roti. Cook up some lentils and you've got a meal that's historical and tasty and also eaten by probably hundreds of millions of people a day.

chitoryu12, glad you went ahead and made the thread. Once I get back in the States I'll try and do some recipes that would fit the thread. I've got a fire pit in the back yard, too, and I've been meaning to work on my firebuilding skills, so I may try cooking some things out there; the roast beef Townsends did looks easy and tasty.

Magic Hate Ball
May 6, 2007

ha ha ha!
you've already paid for this


Oh I love this kind of stuff, one of my favorite longrunning blogs was The Old Foodie, which sadly shuttered last year, though she posted once a weekday pretty much without fail for a whole decade so there's plenty of stuff to see.

Grem
Mar 29, 2004

FUCK FEMINISM I BELIEVE IN HUMAN RIGHTS...FOR ALL!


I always make hardtack for my students when we finally reach the Civil War in my 8th grade class. They hate it and I love watching their faces.

Jose
Jul 24, 2007



Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

Ground uncooked peas do smell awful because they are poisonous, you might want to go for cooked pea flour (which is what is sold in stores) in case you underbake the bread.

how many recipes in before the OP gives himself the shits

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010


If you want a proper old-timey beer to keep recipes authentic, Weistauphen has kept the same recipe since like the 1600’s. I’m also pretty sure I just butchered the spelling.

E: wow, did I! Weihenstephaner

Ugly In The Morning fucked around with this message at Feb 17, 2018 around 21:00

mostlygray
Nov 1, 2012

BURY ME AS I LIVED, A FREE MAN ON THE CLUTCH


Some of the stuff from "Apicius de re Coquinaria" is not too bad.
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/297...8-h/29728-h.htm

The difficulty is that liquamen/garum and laser aren't described. Laser is extinct and garum is pretty much just fish sauce but who can say if it's different than modern fish sauce.

I made a vegetarian dish of leeks and beets boiled in wine that was not too bad. Very different than modern cooking but good none-the-less.

"De re Cquinaria" is definitely worth a read. Not sure where they sell sows matrix, but I'm sure I could find some if I tried hard enough.

Remulak
Jun 8, 2001

The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics. Oh, and that stupid children's book 'The Little Prince,' ugh.


Yams Fan

Had a really great flatbread-with-Garum pizza the other day. Holy poo poo was it intense.

I didn’t see garum on the menu when I was in Rome though

packetmantis
Feb 26, 2013

oh ar


Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

Rich Chard dessert

JacquelineDempsey
Aug 6, 2008

It's a horrible name for anything really but especially a shirt.


How "historic" is "historic" for the purposes of this thread? I've got a 1965 Czechoslovakian cookbook I inherited when my mom died, and I've been wanting to dig into it and try some more Foods of My People. It's only a little over 50 years old, but I figure 1960's Eastern Bloc recipes probably aren't far from their peasant-toiling-in-the-field roots.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014
Probation
Can't post for 4 days!


JacquelineDempsey posted:

How "historic" is "historic" for the purposes of this thread? I've got a 1965 Czechoslovakian cookbook I inherited when my mom died, and I've been wanting to dig into it and try some more Foods of My People. It's only a little over 50 years old, but I figure 1960's Eastern Bloc recipes probably aren't far from their peasant-toiling-in-the-field roots.

Go for it! Anything that you didn’t grow up eating because it predates you.

JacquelineDempsey
Aug 6, 2008

It's a horrible name for anything really but especially a shirt.


chitoryu12 posted:

Go for it! Anything that you didn’t grow up eating because it predates you.

Awesome, thanks! Thank goodness I live in a city with a decent butcher, because dang there are some crazy protein options in this book. Gonna get my game on, in more ways than one.

Party Plane Jones
Jul 1, 2007

Flying the friendly skies in relative safet-oh god the engine fell off


I think the go-to youtube for this kind of stuff is Townsends, it's also pretty good background listening.

JacquelineDempsey
Aug 6, 2008

It's a horrible name for anything really but especially a shirt.


Party Plane Jones posted:

I think the go-to youtube for this kind of stuff is Townsends, it's also pretty good background listening.

Heard and same. Gotta thank chitoryu's other thread for introducing me to the Bob Ross of cooking videos.

Pata Pata Pata Pon
Jun 20, 2007



Chitoryu, I am in love with every single one of your threads.

I have an unhealthy obsession with American pioneer-era stuff, so I'd love to try a meal one of these days--maybe next week when my mini-Patapons are back in school.

I've always wanted to see what an authentic 1600s "first American Thanksgiving" would have really been like, if there's anyone out there who is way more familiar with that time period? I'm so excited for this thread!

Zombie Dachshund
Feb 25, 2016



Great thread! This is one of those things I've dipped my toe in and I'm excited to see what others have done.

mostlygray posted:

Some of the stuff from "Apicius de re Coquinaria" is not too bad.
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/297...8-h/29728-h.htm

The difficulty is that liquamen/garum and laser aren't described. Laser is extinct and garum is pretty much just fish sauce but who can say if it's different than modern fish sauce.

Agreed that Apicius has some interesting recipes, and many that feature unexpected flavor combinations. On garum: we actually know a ton about it. We have descriptions (from Pliny, for example) of how it was made and the difference between garum (made with fish guts) and liquamen (made with whole fish). Garum also has its own academic subfield, with culinary historians, economic historians, and archaeologists all weighing in. It's super interesting if that's your bag. The closest you can get to it today is colatura di alici, which is worth trying.

I've made several Roman dishes, including the panis quadratus from the Tavola Mediterranea blog. This recipe makes a huge loaf that didn't really fit in my pan well; it ended up a little too heavy. I'm going to make it again but cut the proportions to about 2/3.

What I'm most proud of was adapting the Apicius recipe for lucanica sausages (from book II) and making Roman-style salami, with pine nuts, cumin and fish sauce.



It's a nice salami: I chickened out and made it with half fish sauce and half salt, which gave it a nice funk. Next batch, I'll use 100% fish sauce for salting. The pine nuts don't really stand out, but like the Dude's rug, they really tie the whole thing together.

I'm planning to make another batch in the near future and if there's interest, can document the process. I'd like to serve it up with homemade Pompeii-style bread and Roman-style cheese; a nice ancient snack!

my cat is norris
Mar 11, 2010

#onecallcat



College Slice

Zombie Dachshund posted:

I'm planning to make another batch in the near future and if there's interest, can document the process. I'd like to serve it up with homemade Pompeii-style bread and Roman-style cheese; a nice ancient snack!

Yes, please!

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


Pata Pata Pata Pon posted:

I've always wanted to see what an authentic 1600s "first American Thanksgiving" would have really been like, if there's anyone out there who is way more familiar with that time period? I'm so excited for this thread!

The answer appears to be wildfowl, corn, porridge and venison, all washed down with some water. There was a lot of wild game available, but they did not have access to wheat bread, beer, cranberry sauce, and potatoes, and could not make pie crusts.

Smithsonian posted:

Of course, to some extent, the exercise of reimagining the spread of food at the 1621 celebration becomes a process of elimination. “You look at what an English celebration in England is at this time. What are the things on the table? You see lots of pies in the first course and in the second course, meat and fish pies. To cook a turkey in a pie was not terribly uncommon,” says Wall. “But it is like, no, the pastry isn’t there.” The colonists did not have butter and wheat flour to make crusts for pies and tarts. (That’s right: No pumpkin pie!) “That is a blank in the table, for an English eye. So what are they putting on instead? I think meat, meat and more meat,” says Wall.

Meat without potatoes, that is. White potatoes, originating in South America, and sweet potatoes, from the Caribbean, had yet to infiltrate North America. Also, there would have been no cranberry sauce.

Edward Winslow posted:

Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others.


William Bradford posted:

And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion.

golden bubble fucked around with this message at Feb 23, 2018 around 21:11

Big Beef City
Aug 15, 2013

If you have a tiny dog you should be arrested and the dog placed on a tiny dog rocket and fired into the sun!!!

Ramrod XTreme

I'd loving die to know what garum was.

Honestly, It probably tasted like 'more liquidy oyster sauce

It's like not knowing why they couldn't write down "what ketchup tasted like, precisely" before they hosed up, makes me laugh.

Big Beef City fucked around with this message at Feb 24, 2018 around 01:59

Big Beef City
Aug 15, 2013

If you have a tiny dog you should be arrested and the dog placed on a tiny dog rocket and fired into the sun!!!

Ramrod XTreme

chitoryu12 posted:



And the verdict?




The verdict is to post in Goons With Spoons.

Zombie Dachshund
Feb 25, 2016



Big Beef City posted:

I'd loving die to know what garum was.

Have I got a deal for you, friend: you can find out for about $25.

angerbeet
Mar 23, 2004


plob


quote:

Unique, precious anchovy sauce

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004



Fun Shoe

If you want some good entertainment and insight on 18th century (and a few earlier recipes) cooking, check out JAS Townsend & Son's Youtube channel. They're a reproduction wares house for historical recreators, but have a huge passion for how poo poo was actually done, and do a ton of very educational content on old recipes. Their mushroom ketchup recipe is a favorite of mine, although I don't make it often.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29u_FejNuks

In additional notes, the SCA folks do a lot of work on recreating medieval recipes for modern use. I've made a few from Cariadoc's Miscellany that turned out pretty okay.

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


Here's another fun site about medieval cooking, with a proto-cheesecake recipe to go with it.

quote:

Lese fryes: Take nessh chese, and pare it clene, and grinde hit in a morter small, and drawe yolkes and white of egges thorgh a streynour, and cast there-to, and grinde hem togidre; theñ cast thereto Sugur, butter and salt, and put al togider in a coffyñ of faire paast, And lete bake ynowe, and then serue it forthe.

Modern translation:
2 lbs. havarti cheese (without rind)
¼ cup melted butter
4 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 9" pie crust

Break cheese into small pieces, add 4 beaten eggs, mix until smooth. Add sugar, salt and butter, mix well. Pour into pie crust and bake at 325°F for 50-55 minutes.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014
Probation
Can't post for 4 days!


http://medievalcookery.com/recipes/mawmeny.html

I'm looking at this as my next recipe, served over stale bread for authenticity.

Force de Fappe
Nov 7, 2008



chitoryu12 posted:


Quite good, and not that far off from modern tastes! The strong smell isn't quite conveyed in the flavor, but you've still got it somewhere in there. The strongest flavor components are likely the beer and 1/4 cup of vinegar, and the salmon has a noticeable acidity not unlike if it had been given a squirt of lemon juice.

Try cooling the salmon in the poaching liquid, and eat it cold. "Pickling" fatty fish like this has a long tradition worldwide and it's usually delicious.

uber_stoat
Jan 21, 2001




Do you not realize that garum sociorum, that expensive bloody mass of decayed fish, consumes the stomach with its salted putrefaction?

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Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010

Niles Hokkanen's Pocket Guide to Mandolin Chords is hands-down the best mandolin chordbook you can buy, and a damn steal at less than the cost of a decent pint. It doesn't just show you the chords, it actually explains the concepts behind them.

I did some shopping this morning and picked up a whole chicken, some steaks, and some chicken breasts. I also have shrimp and fish (tilapia, I think, or maybe catfish) in the freezer, plus ground beef. Other ingredients kicking around: potatoes, onions, eggs, celery, turnips, beans, mushrooms.

Got any recommendations for an interesting recipe using one or more of these? I couldn't get mace or saffron at the store today but I have most other spices and some dried herbs.

I'm planning to try Townsend's baked beans recipe tonight, if you can really call it Townsend's recipe because it's just navy beans, molasses, salt pork (I'm using bacon ends), and onions. My cast iron pot is too big for the size of batch I'm making, so I'll probably cook it in a casserole in the oven instead of in the fire.

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