The End?

I have been doing some very significant thinking over the past few years and have found myself decreasingly interested in focusing entirely on the middle ages. I still love doing research into the food and culture of the Low Countries during that period of time and have been concentrating on that time/place to the exclusion of other cultures for quite a while. What I have found is that while my focus time-wise has broadened in scope, I have tried to shoehorn that information into this blog and it never quite works.

More importantly, I have returned to college in order to get my Bachelor’s degree so that I may then pursue a Masters in Food at Chatham University. This has changed how I perceive and approach food history and that is very much forming what I want to do as far as writing about it.

Here is some additional detail from the welcome page of my new website:

“In 2001, I began the serious study of Medieval Food, primarily under the tutelage of James Matterer, the force behind Gode Cookery. Since 2003, I have provided information specific to medieval cooking on the internet at medievalcooking.org. As the years have moved on, I have diversified my areas of interest to include the Victorian Era in England, Rationing during World War II, the immigrant experience in Pittsburgh, modern trends in food, and hunger and food supply awareness and activism.

This diversity of interest has never fit well when I tried to include it at Medieval Cooking and the idea of splitting off into another blog just seemed to be making too much work. As time has gone on and with my returning to school in order to pursue Food History in a more academic and less hobby-ist way, it seemed time to begin writing about all of the things that I was interested in, rather than including it at Medieval Cooking.

This does not mean that Medieval Cooking as a website will be going away. The information that is there will stay up – all of the files and information that I have there will remain so that people may use it for their own research. My ongoing research will be posted at a new location. There will even be new medieval food research information – I have a long-term project that I am working on where I am documenting food eaten in the galleries during tournaments. This project is expected to continue for a while as there are so many locations that you can gather information and each seems to lead to something else. I am working with Pauline Hassinger and she will be including some of my research in an upcoming issue of the Complete Anachronist (a publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism).”

Please join me at my new website, Jenn Strobel, Food Historian where I will be continuing to talk about food history, culture, and discuss modern ideas about food and culture. This is merely a logical extension of what I have been doing for yeas and it allows me to have a complete and thorough outlet for everything that I do.

Technical Difficulties

As I, and many other, WordPress users have experienced, the scheduling of posts is broken. I have published all of the posts that should have appeared over the last two weeks and installed a fix that seems to have fixed the issue. I will be keeping an eye on things to make sure that things are actually fixed and move forward from there.

I apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused.

Yvianne’s Consort Arts Page

Yvianne’s Consort Arts Page.

After the Rose Royal Tourney on 29 September, there were still a few questions that people had about Tourneys and what one does in the gallery at these kinds of events. Mistress Yvianne’s Consort Arts Page is a good place to start learning — just follow the links.

As a teaser, I am still working on Tournement Foods and there will be more information upcoming here at the blog.

Oliebollen

Some days, especially Sundays, you need something decadent and wonderful for breakfast. Today at our house, it was olliebollen.

It’s dutch fried dough, usually with raisins and sultanas, and made to celebrate the new year. In the US, the tradition was brought with Dutch settlers and it has become more of a special occasion thing than only for the new year. In the Netherlands, it is still reserved for that time of year. We prefer to have them without fruit and tend to use more unconventional flavorings in the sugar (this morning was adding strawberry sugar to the powdered sugar).

Fried dough is something that you find in most European cultures. There is something about frying dough in oil that humans just seem to connect with. Eating them fresh from the oil all hot and chewy, powdered in sugar is just an experience of pure pleasure.

There is a recipe in “eenen seer schoonen ende excellenten cocboeck” (1593) that is very similar to oliebollen –

Original:
56 Om kerspen oft gecronckelde struyven te maken.
Neemt vijf of ses eyeren, cloptse wel cleyn, doet er wat bloeme in, maer niet vele, opdat dunne genoech loope. Neemt dan een panne met heete, soete boter ende latet daerin loopen door een trechterken, soot behoort.

Translation:
56 To make “kerspen” or crisp omlettes.
Take five or six eggs beaten very small, add flour in, not so much, just [make the batter] thin enough to make a stream. Take a pan with hot, sweet butter and let herein run by a small funnel, like you would [into] grease.

Note on the bracketed statements — Several of the recipes are written with essential, but derivable, information not explicitly stated. I have added the derivable information in brackets to clarify the meaning of the recipe.

If you immediately thought of funnel cake, so did I, but it’s also the same idea of making oliebollen or any number of fried doughs. I do like the idea of “crisp omlettes”, though. It communicates that basic idea of thickening eggs with flour to make a dough, which is really all that they are.

Olliebollen Recipe
1/2 c warm water
1.5 T yeast (two packets)
1/4 c sugar
4 c AP flour
2 c warm milk
2 eggs

2 cups of raisins and sultanas mixed 50/50, if you like that sort of thing.

3 c oil for frying

  • If you like to proof your yeast, then pour the warm water into a small bowl and then sprinkle the yeast over it.
  • While you’re waiting for your yeast to proof, whisk together the sugar and flour in a largish bowl (one big enough to handle all of the dough once it begins to rise).
  • After you’ve whisked the flour and sugar together add the eggs, water/yeast mixture, and the warm milk.
  • Whisk it all together until you have a sort of runny but firm dough.
  • Allow the dough to rise for one hour
  • If you like to add raisins and sultanas, this is where you should do that. My family does not add them.
  • Put your oil in a pan and heat until it’s about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • You will use two tablespoons, one to scoop and one to take the dough off of the scooping spoon.
  • Don’t put more than six oliebollen in the oil at a time or you will crowd the pan and the oil won’t cook the dough through.
  • Cook until one side is brown, then flip them over and cook on the other side.
  • Remove the oliebollen with a slotted spoon and place on a paper-lined plate.
  • When they are still warm, sprinkle powdered sugar on them.
  • Another way to do that is to put different flavors of powdered sugar in small paper bags. Drop an oliebol in the bag, and shake quickly three times.

Short Hiatus

As I mentioned last week, I was gearing up for starting classes this week and have they ever started. I will be taking two weeks off from the blog in order to get my schedule re-sussed with the new addition of homework to my world.

There may be some short posts of things that I find around the internet during that period of time, but will have a substantive new post here on 20 September.

Happy New School Year, everyone!

Tacuinum Analysis

A couple of years ago, I put together an analysis of the five books that make up what is considered to be “the Tacuinum Sanitas”. It’s an Excel workbook with multiple spreadsheets listing the natures of each of the ingredients listed in the books and divided by which book they appear in. There is one page that lists every ingredient and every book for ease of comparison, if that’s what you’d like to do with it.

Tacuinum Analysis Spreadsheet

The information is taken from Butlan & Arano (1976) The medieval health handbook: Tacuinum sanitatis. George Braziller: New York.

Included Information
I have included the following basic aspects of the items listed in the various Tacuinae:
Cold
Warm
Dry
Moist (this is used to denoted “humid” as well as “moist”)
Temperate

Not Included
I did not included to what degree an item displayed a specific nature.
For Example:
“cold and humid in the third degree”
will be entered on the spreadsheet as “Cold” and “Humid”.

This information is meant to be used as a basic reference and not a reference of record.
There is human error involved as this analysis was done by hand. To ensure data integrity, cross reference the information with another source.