A discussion forum for history enthusiasts everywhere
 
HomeHome  Recent ActivityRecent Activity  FAQFAQ  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 The spice of life

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : Previous  1, 2
AuthorMessage
Caro
Censura


Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Wed 24 Apr 2013, 21:12

When I was at university it was common for students to take milk with nutmeg on the understanding that it gave some sort of high. I don't suppose I ever tried it, not liking milk. But I do often think of it when I use nutmeg on anything uncooked.
Back to top Go down
Vizzer
Censura
avatar

Posts : 815
Join date : 2012-05-12

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Wed 24 Apr 2013, 23:04

nordmann wrote:
In the end it was to be the post-Napoleonic War settlement that ended the issue. Britain acquired titular ownership of Dutch holdings in the East Indies for long enough to "legally" transplant nutmeg to its Asian an African colonies before relinquishing control of Dutch territories back to Holland. Overnight nutmeg lost its previously inflated economic stature and became what it is now - just another food flavouring.
In the 1840s the nutmeg tree was successfully established in Grenada which would later become the major producer in the British Empire. Nutmeg and its membrane (mace) is still the most important produce of the island and a nutmeg features on the island's flag:



The Grenada Nutmeg Festival was held last autumn to much international acclaim and the Channel 4 series Spice Trip visited the island at that time. The program mentions the hallucinogenic properties of nutmeg and also that ingesting too much nutmeg is in fact dangerously poisonous.
Back to top Go down
Gran
Consulatus
avatar

Posts : 193
Join date : 2012-03-27
Location : Auckland New Zealand

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Thu 25 Apr 2013, 04:33

Oh dear Caro I bet the students wondered why their guts were tied up a couple of days later.
Back to top Go down
Tim of Aclea
Consulatus
avatar

Posts : 330
Join date : 2011-12-31

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Sun 28 Apr 2013, 15:53

Quote :
the war for control of the Maluccans between Britain and Holland was won quite emphatically by the Dutch and British history tends traditionally to downplay or spin such setbacks in a manner that places the country in as good a light as possible. In this conflict there was little good light at all so it became a footnote, rather than the enormous blow to capitalist expansion in Britain's favour that it was at the time.

It cannot be said that control of the Maluccans by the Dutch in the 18th C AD either held back the increase of British power or prevented the decline of Dutch power in that century.
Back to top Go down
Tim of Aclea
Consulatus
avatar

Posts : 330
Join date : 2011-12-31

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Sun 28 Apr 2013, 16:06

Quote :
One attribute of spice, and this goes back to the word "specie" in Latin (as in trading commodity of notable worth), was its use as a preservative. In an age before refrigeration, controlling the manufacture and distribution of anything that helped prolong meat's shelf life meant that such control lent the product in question a value which was more than its weight in gold, much much more. Saffron was probably the world's first "super commodity", though by Roman times experimentation had broadened the field.

Saffron, unlike many other spices was grown in Europe. It is also still fairly expensive. I presume that the cost is related to the difficulty in producing it in quatity rather than due to reasons why, for example, nutmeg was so expensive.

Was a spice such as coriander, that also grew in Europe that expensive to qualify as specie? Were 'spices' such as paprika that originated in the Americas but could be grown in Europe, as they are notably done in Hungary, ever of sufficient 'notable worth' to be considered specie?
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5684
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Sun 28 Apr 2013, 20:09

I can't find where and how "specie" evolved from a word for any commodity to specifically the four main spices, though the OED says that the latter was a terminology already in use in France at the time of the conquest, and that it was a reference to the above-named four (which were prized for their medicinal application at the time). France, unlike Britain, had linguistically a much smoother ride from late Latin into early French and on into more modern forms, so the usage could be very ancient indeed. This is where input from someone with a better knowledge of French etymology could help.

Your comment about Britain's and Holland's conflicting interests in the East Indies in the 18th century is superfluous to the point made earlier, which is that the Treaty of Breda in the 1660s ended a war between the two in which control of Run Island played a huge role, and that this was solely down to the island's status as the exclusive source of nutmeg at the time. However Dutch ownership of this monopoly as dictated by the treaty was regularly tested by subsequent British attempts through bribery, piracy and even full scale assaults throughout the 18th century, all designed to transplant this product to areas controlled by Britain - and this situation prevailed right up to the Napoleonic settlement after his final defeat. So the point, as you can see, is not about whether or not each side waxed or waned in general authority in the region during this century but of how each side honoured or dishonoured their own mutually agreed treaty designed to keep nutmeg exploitation and exportation solely in Dutch hands.
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Tim of Aclea
Consulatus
avatar

Posts : 330
Join date : 2011-12-31

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Mon 29 Apr 2013, 16:49

Quote :
Your comment about Britain's and Holland's conflicting interests in the East Indies in the 18th century is superfluous to the point made earlier, which is that the Treaty of Breda in the 1660s ended a war between the two in which control of Run Island played a huge role, and that this was solely down to the island's status as the exclusive source of nutmeg at the time.

I do not agree that my comment was superfluous because despite "the enormous blow to capitalist expansion in Britain's favour" Britain continued to expand and the Netherlands continued to decline.
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5684
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Mon 29 Apr 2013, 23:36

Yes, but nothing to do with nutmegs, which once had been at the heart of it.

Read the story of Robert Kidd. In fact, read several stories about him, not just the traditionally British one.
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2849
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Sat 08 Jun 2013, 15:28

I'm doing some experimental mediaeval/Tudor cooking this weekend, and I didn't want to start a new thread for what is just a simple request for ideas, and this thread seems quite a suitable place .....

So, can anyone suggest any ingredient(s) that I can use to colour a short-crust type pastry, green? Preferably using something that would have been available to a 15th century/early 16th century cook ... and also something not toxic, so no soluble copper salts please!

I think I can get a passable purple just using red wine, bright red/scarlet using cocchineal (that's almost authentic for the time period since I can't get alkerms in the supermarket), and I think egg yolks with a bit of saffron to boost it should give a satisfactory golden orange colour ... but I can't think of, or find in the texts, anything suitable to get a nice apple green. Any suggestions anyone?
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5684
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Sat 08 Jun 2013, 16:27

Anything high in chlorophyll should do the trick. Spinach would definitely work and wouldn't affect the taste much. Parsley probably also but you'd have to use a lot of it so the flavour would definitely be affected. Cabbage makes a very deep green dye but would also definitely taint the pastry's taste.

To make a spinach dye you simply boil it in water and let it simmer for ages (overnight if you want a really deep green). Add a drop of vinegar when it gets to the shade you want - that will arrest the process. You can then either mix it into your pastry or paint it onto the pastry before baking, though I imagine mixing is best to avoid colour change due to evaporation.
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Islanddawn
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2103
Join date : 2012-01-05
Location : Greece

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Sat 08 Jun 2013, 17:10

I agree with Nordmann MM, spinach would be the best for a green dye and there wouldn't be a stong taste to the colouring unlike other greens that could be usable.

Not sure if this will be any help, but the traditional way to make a red food dye (for say dying Easter eggs) here in Greece is by boiling onion skins. The red Spanish onion skins make a reddish brown colouring and the yellow onion skins make a deep red colour, although the water will look a brownish colour, the finished product will actually turn out to be a lovely red.

And a dollop of vinegar (as suggested for the green dye) to set the colour when it gets to the correct shade.

PS And boiling red cabbage leaves and then soaking overnight will make a robins egg blue. Blueberries for lavender colouring, tumeric for yellow/green, paprika for brick red and beetroot for pink. Although I'm not sure whether blueberries, tumeric or paprika were available in Tudor England.
Back to top Go down
ferval
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2550
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Sat 08 Jun 2013, 17:15

I've seen green extraction done in cooking programmes, this is pretty much the recipe that was used. http://chris.shenton.org/recipes/Italian/chlorophyll_for_pasta_and_sauces.txt

What about beetroot for red?

Good luck and report back please.
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2849
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Sat 08 Jun 2013, 17:32

Thanks for the suggestions guys.

I should have added that my brown/purple (it's to colour mock figs) was indeed onion skins boiled with red wine and that seems to be ok.

For the green ... I don't have any spinach in the house but I'm now boiling up my stock of fresh parsley augmented with some young nettle shoots, which usually seem to pass quite well for spinach. Thanks for the tip about adding the vinegar ... yes of course the acid will work as a mordant (I think I've got that right - maybe not) but anyway it's on the go so we'll see. I'm not too worried about a veggy flavour .... it's to colour fake green apples which are actually apple-shaped pastries, complete with stalk, filled with chopped pork/apple/raisins/cinnamon... and other spices ... so any herby/veggy taste on the pastry crust will almost certainly be lost in the overall taste of the filling.

Now beetroot ... but of course!... I had completely forgotten about that, and another useful adition to the colour (and flavour) palate. Some more experimentation is in order methinks!

PS 1 : Thanks ID for those suggestions ... interested that you an get a blue colour ... that's of interest for something else.

PS 2 : I'm going to try that method for extraction of, if not pure then at least fairly concentrated, chlorophyll ... it doesn't sound to difficult, and it should certainly give a strong green dye.
Back to top Go down
Temperance
Virgo Vestalis Maxima
avatar

Posts : 5296
Join date : 2011-12-30

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Mon 10 Jun 2013, 07:56

Mint was used too! Here's a paragraph from my "Food and Feast in Medieval England" book by P. W. Hammond. Apologies for the mention of Richard III - there's no avoiding the man, I'm afraid.

I found the method used to "endore" food - make it golden - rather interesting too.

"... there was considerable use of exotic colouring, and one dish was specifically described as "purpill". This was probably a red colour, perhaps from "saundres" (a variety of sandalwood much used for colouring), "dragon's blood" (a bright red dye obtained from various plants) or even alkanet from the plant of that name. The appearance of food was very important, and probably the majority of dishes were coloured in some way, often with saundres, or with saffron to give a very bright yellow, as in frumenty or mawmenny*. A popular way to colour a dish was to "endore" it, that is paint it with egg yolks (or a mixture of egg, ginger and saffron) and cook it to a deep golden crust. Green was used by using mint or parsley juice, and black or brown from blood or burnt breadcrumbs. Blood was much used in sauces. With roast swan, for example, the entrails, ginger, pepper, cloves, wine and salt were used together with the blood, which would have coloured it black. Some dishes were given several colours, perhaps quartered white, yellow, green and black, as in one complex fish dish. Another practice, similar to colouring food, was to cover a dish in gold or silver foil. One dish was described as "pety chek in bolyen" (that is small chicks in bullion, or gold foil). A dish in the second course of Richard III's coronation banquet was described as "gret carpe and breme in foil."

The writer then goes on to talk about coloured "gely". Fancy jellies, often fashioned to look like a heraldic device - were very popular. Such "heraldic foods" - especially the brightly coloured pastry used to make "heraldic pies" - must have needed many different colours.
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2849
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Mon 10 Jun 2013, 09:03

I had people turn up unexpectedly Saturday night and so had to cook regular meals over the weekend (the French are VERY conservative when it comes to food, nothing spicey, nothing exotic, nothing unusual, and certainly nothing remotely 'experimental') ... but my chlorophyll extraction is continuing and I'm free to play in the kitchen tonight.

Thanks Temp for that quote ... part of my reason for posting here was because I cannot find my copy of 'Food and Feast in Medieval England', nor 'Food and Feast in Tudor England', nor 'The Forme of Cury', nor many others of my historic foody/recipe books. Nearly all my library is still, yes STILL, in cardboard boxes stacked in the spareroom, just how they were placed after we moved here in 2007 (and the other half is still in a friend's South London attic ... I hope). I miss all my books terribly. I really must get around to clearing some space, getting some new bookcases built (all the original bookcases are now being used to hold my stock of sheets and towels etc.) and get all my lovely books accessible again.

So where is my trusty, well-thumbed copy of Howard McGee's, 'The Science of Cooking', when one needs it? He's just what you need for things like extracting and using plant dyes for food.

But as I say unfortunatly he's languishing in some box somewhere, under a ton of dictionaries, atlases, encyclopedias ... Dickens', Hardy's, Bronte's, Attenborough's, several Bibles, Joyce, Jerome, Graves, Peake, Milne and Chaucer ... metallurgical textbooks and books on anatomy, geology, palaeontology, biology, astronomy ... garden encyclopedias, as well as field guides to identify mushrooms, or fossils, or birds, or trees ... complete runs of the periodicals, 'Caves & Caving' and 'Spelunca', ... plus my grandfather's 1902 edition of 'The Principles of Euclid', an 1880 first edition (illustrated with hand-tinted prints) of 'The Ferns of Europe', an 1815 first edition of 'Walkingame's Mathematical Assistant', and granny's 1900-odd edition of the ubiquitous Victorian home and household guide to everything: 'Enquire Within'.

Yes, I admit it, I'm a serious bibliophile. And I'm not ready to give it up. study


Last edited by Meles meles on Mon 10 Jun 2013, 11:20; edited 2 times in total
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 3034
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Mon 10 Jun 2013, 10:59

Handily available online, Meles, is this medieval cookbook;

http://www.godecookery.com/goderec/goderec.htm

Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2849
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Sun 07 Jul 2013, 11:20

Just an update and to say that my attempt at extracting chlorophyll for a green food colouring wasn't a success. But I now know why:

1 - Chlorophyll breaks down at temperatures above about 65°C,
2 - It is insoluble in water (but is soluble in alcohol, acetone etc).

I'm going to try again shortly, but now armed with a thermometer and a better filter. And I think I might also try extraction using vodka as the solvent and then crystallise out the chlorophyll. Distilled spirits would have been quite expensive but were by no means unobtainable by a mediaeval chef. Acetone apparently gives a better extraction and higher yield than ethyl alcohol, but it would not have been available in 15/16th century Europe, and it is of course toxic too!

And I've realised that mulberries (in season at the moment) also give a very strong red/purple dye. I have a mulberry tree just outside the back door .... and so I currently have purple foot and paw prints throughout the house. And the stains are very, very hard to remove.
Back to top Go down
Islanddawn
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2103
Join date : 2012-01-05
Location : Greece

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Thu 22 Aug 2013, 20:02

Back to top Go down
Vizzer
Censura
avatar

Posts : 815
Join date : 2012-05-12

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Mon 31 Aug 2015, 15:26

Meles meles wrote:
Just an update and to say that my attempt at extracting chlorophyll for a green food colouring wasn't a success. But I now know why:

1 - Chlorophyll breaks down at temperatures above about 65°C,
2 - It is insoluble in water (but is soluble in alcohol, acetone etc).

I'm going to try again shortly, but now armed with a thermometer and a better filter. And I think I might also try extraction using vodka as the solvent and then crystallise out the chlorophyll. Distilled spirits would have been quite expensive but were by no means unobtainable by a mediaeval chef. Acetone apparently gives a better extraction and higher yield than ethyl alcohol, but it would not have been available in 15/16th century Europe, and it is of course toxic too!

Not sure if you ever succeeded in the end Meles with the chemical approach. I just use spinach juice. Either shred the spinach thru a juicer, or (if you haven't got a juicer) then just whiz up the spinach with a little water in a blender and then strain. And that's it. Perfect green food colouring. And the flavour is so mild that it really doesn't taste of anything when added to other foods. If you need a dry dye then I'd imagine spinach, kitchen roll, a baking tray and an airing cupboard would do the trick.

By all accounts spinach (spinnadge?) only arrived in north-western Europe in the 14th century. It was introduced to southern Europe by the Moors about 500 years before that. It's strange to think that the Romans didn't know of spinach or at least didn't eat it. I, for one, couldn't imagine a world without spinach.
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2849
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Mon 31 Aug 2015, 18:31

Viz, thanks for your continued interest in this rather arcane subject of surely limited interest. Your suggestion actually agrees with my own research, although I'll admit I took rather a long road to get to the same result. In short I had been approaching the problem from the wrong angle.

Encouraged by my success in dying fake pastry plums purple using mulberry juice, I had originally tried to do the same for fake apples by using a suitable green vegetable dye. Chlorophyll is certainly a suitably green dye, but even once I'd managed to successfully extract it (eventually into an alcoholic solution) I then had trouble getting it to satisfactorily bond to oil/water pastry. Grass (and parsely, spinach etc) may well stain football shirts .. but getting the colour to bond to pastry and then not turn brown with oxidation and or subsequent cooking, was much more difficult.

But I then realised I'd been going about this the wrong way around. My good mentor Robert May ('The Accomplisht Cook', 1660) finally showed me the error of my ways. He describes the making of green-coloured pastries by including finely chopped/ground parsely or spinach (ie whizzed in the food processor) into the pastry mix before cooking. Duh, of course, that's exactly how lasagna verde is made. And of course it works and remains green through subsequent cooking.

I have yet to make my entire renaissaince subtletie, of a pastry cornucopia spilling out faux fruits ... but now that I've sorted all the basic steps, it could well be a little project for this coming Christmas.

PS : I'm with you and Pop-eye ... spinach is good! It's easy to grow, easy to cook, versatile and tasty. Can't see what anyone would have against it.
Back to top Go down
Gilgamesh of Uruk
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1400
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Mon 31 Aug 2015, 21:47

To return to red cabbage - it works as an indicator like litmus, so bicarb might well be sufficiently alkaline to turn it blue - the bright red when you pickle it is the acetic acid in the vinegar.
Back to top Go down
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Tue 01 Sep 2015, 08:47

Spinach is all right, but here in NZ we grow far more (and more easily) silver beet. You might call it Swiss chard, I think.  I like it a lot more than spinach though it is similar.  Very dark green (except when people make it orange or purple) leaves, which must surely be very good for us.  (And counteract the butter and salt that improves it when cooked.)  We do grow an everlasting spinach but it's not all that great. 

MM, have you read a book called The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester?  A novel from the point of view of a very pretentious self-absorbed and egotistical man, mostly talking about food and his travels in France.  (Though I think there is a darker side, there - a lot of people he had been involved seem to die unusual deaths, and there are hints of less savoury things than herbs and spices.)  It's hard to find a short extract to give his flavour, since everything is written in detail and with a meandering style.  But here he is making a bouillabaisse. 



"There must be at least five different kinds of fish, including, of course, the indispensable rascasse, an astonishingly ugly fish whose appearance always reminds me of our Norwegian cook, Mitthaug. Also necessary are gurnard, monkfish, anglerfish, lotte, baudroie (the same thing, baudroie being the French word and lotte the Provencal; and another child-frightener it is too), and a wrasse or two, either the girelle or the wonderfully named vieille coquette, which I first ate in the company of my mother. Clean the fish and chop the big ones into chunks.  Organize two glasses of Provencal olive oil and a tin of tomatoes; alternately you can peel, seed and chop your own tomatoes. Personally, canned tomatoes seem to me to be one of the few unequivocal benefits of modern life. (Dentistry, the compact disc.)...Note the bouillabaisse is one of the only fish dishes to be boiled quickly. This is to compet the emulsification of the oil and water; it is in keep with the Marseillaise origin of the dish that in it oil is not poured over troubled water but violently forced to amalgamate eeith it. Notice also that bouillabaisse is a controversial dish, a dish which provokes argum,ent and dissent, canonical and non-canonical versions, focusing on issues such as the aforementioned geographically conditioned possibility of making the dish at all, the desirability or otherwise of adding a glass of white wine to the oil-and-water liaison, the importance or unthinkability of including in the dish fennel or orance peel or thyme or cuttlefish ink or severed horses' head. (on which my personal verdicts are respectively 'yes', 'no', 'yes', 'no', 'why not?', 'yes, if you wish to make the bouillabaisse noir of Martiques', and 'only joking'.  Then he goes to talk about all the different kinds of fish soup he has made.



As regards actual spices, he talks of them as being something the English have always been fond of.  "One might go so far as to say that a taste for spices is an ingredient (!) of the national character, an instinct comparable with the Welsh talent for singing, the German liking for forests, the Swiss knack for hotel-keeping, the Italian passion for motor-cars. Spiced bacon, Barbados ham, pepper steak, spiced meat loaf, paprika cabbage - the English infatuation with spices runs through our history like a melodic undercurrent or like the percussive backbone against which the daily music of time and the kitchjen soars and switters. This the records of English spice consumption show a heroic commitment to (especially) overrated cinnamon, the even more overrated, not-far-short-of-actively-nasty cloves, tasty soporific nutmeg and its sibling, mace; aromatic allspice; slashy paprika; historic mustard seed; popular ginger; chilli (which, it muct never be forgotten, arrived in Europe some time before the Portuguese carried it to India, where the fiery fruit was to have some of its most culinarily notable effects; warm-tasting, personal-favourite, beds-i'-the-east-are-soft cumin; evpocatively Middle Eastern coriander (its Greek Etymology, from koris, commemorating the fact that it smells identical to the humble bedbug); risky cardamom; unmistakeable caraway;lurid tumeric - I could go on."

So could I, but this book is quite hard work, and I have taken a while to read it, despite it not being long.  Sorry for any typos.
Back to top Go down
ferval
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2550
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Tue 01 Sep 2015, 09:37

That must be the book from which Damien Trench the principal character in the Radio 4 sit. com. In and Out of the Kitchen was lifted by Miles Jupp, I'm sure. It can't be coincidental, I can hear him saying it in my head as I read it.

I've just chanced planting a last crop of rainbow chard but I'm still working my through 1001 things to do with a courgette.
Back to top Go down
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Tue 01 Sep 2015, 11:13

We never get these 1000s of courgettes.  They grow for us but not in those unusable numbers.  Enough for us to have a meal every second or third day, I suppose.  I did make some into bread and butter pickle.  Is that what you call it? cucumber pickle really.
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2849
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Tue 01 Sep 2015, 16:25

Caro , thanks for the tip about the book, The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester, I'll have to search it out via Amazon, it looks like my sort of book .. though I trust you don't think of me as a pretensious, arrogant, gallophilic, foody pseud!

Ferval, ... how about courgette gratin with a hint of blue cheese? I made several individual ones last week just to use up the surplus of older courgettes, and the one that I ate straight away, just as a tester, was yummy (the others I froze for winter).  And I'm still puréeing, freezing, and stuffing tomatoes like mad just to keep on top of them ... but I shoudn't really complain as it's been a bumper year and I will certainly miss having them fresh in a month or so.

As I type I'm making quince jelly and then next on the list is rosehip and crab-apple jelly, and then it'll be mulberry jam (from the mulberries I froze in July) ... it's been a good year for berries and fruits generally, although my peppers, both the capsicums and chillis, were a bit of a disappointment. And after last night's heavy rain we should start to get some ceps and other mushrooms popping up everywhere too. I love Autumn.
Back to top Go down
ferval
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2550
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Tue 01 Sep 2015, 20:04

Thanks MM, I'll try that although I've had every other kind of gratin except blue cheese, even Cretan boureki, as well as various types of fritters and marinated in salads. It was creme de courgettes tonight and I've realised that I haven't stuffed any yet.... I've still got a couple of jars of last year's chutney left but I can make more and foist it on anyone who will have it.

I don't seem to have a very good crop of crab apples this year, I blame the warm weather in April followed by cold and wet which must have scunnered the bees just as much as it scunnered me.
Back to top Go down
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Wed 02 Sep 2015, 05:21

Quote :
though I trust you don't think of me as a pretensious, arrogant, gallophilic, foody pseud!

Certainly not, MM!  But this is a book full of detail about food and quite fascinating for that.  The author has been a food critic for the Observer.  It is quite an old book - 1996.  (I was interested to see he used the word 'frenemy' which I put as modern than that.)  I don't know whether all of the food 'advice' and information is fully correct or not, or just an example of the main character's obsessions and snobbery.  The blurb in the book said Tarquin was refreshingly free of false modesty.  Actually he was free of any modesty or vision of how others saw him.  When I call him the 'main' character, I really mean he is the only character.  He mentions other people, but really just in passing or to show off his wondrous conversational skills etc.

But some of what he talks about makes me feel that perhaps my food and cooking knowledge is rather low. One parts salt and 11 parts water will check for floury or waxy potatoes, for instance.  "Initial cooking does not 'seal in the juices' or anything of the srot - science has shown us that no such action takes place."  And then lots more detail about searing the meat first and adding bits, or putting it altogether.  And full of food language too. And different names for food items in other cultures and countries.  It's been very interesting, but I think we can assume Tarquin is an unreliable narrator.
Back to top Go down
FrederickLouis
Aediles
avatar

Posts : 71
Join date : 2016-12-13

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Thu 22 Dec 2016, 00:44

Now that we know that I have a great-grandmother who is Hungarian, I recalled some Hungarian ladies who used a lot of paprika when they cooked. Paprika is a spice, is it not?
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5684
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: The spice of life   Thu 22 Dec 2016, 18:43

I was not aware we had discovered any such thing about your great-grandmother, FL.

Paprika, or "bell pepper", "sweet pepper" or simply "pepper" also in English, is the mildest variant of hot pepper and is classed - believe it or not - as a flowering plant, specifically of the capsicum family which includes the equally familiar chili pepper, and less specifically simply as a flowering plant related to the potato, tomato, and even belladonna - so strictly speaking we're talking variants of nightshade type plants here, not necessarily edible stuff at all.

It is nevertheless edible and therefore sold as a vegetable. It is however not a spice (to answer your question), though it may be used to add flavour to a meal. The notion that it should be classed as one may simply be its misnomenclature - "pepper" is a whole other thing entirely and is most definitely a spice, though any new plant with a hot taste tended to be classed as one by Europeans at the time who hitherto knew only of one particular variant of the "piper" genus from India as a plant with such properties.

Hungarians, like all Europeans, have the Spanish to thank for introducing it from its original Central American cultivation in the early 16th century. It is a popular addition to many countries' meals as a result and I am not aware that Hungarians have any extra claim to this propensity. However the discovery that the capsicum (as we should really be calling it) is rich in Vitamin-C is indeed down to a Hungarian, Albert Szent-György, who won the Nobel Prize in 1937 for isolating this vitamin, and in fact for also discovering that the humble capsicum was full of it. (I'll let that last bit hang ...)
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
 

The spice of life

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 2 of 2Go to page : Previous  1, 2

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Res Historica History Forum :: The history of people ... :: Sport and Pastimes-