“You know Leah, it appears these ‘academic’ cookbooks are not so rigorous as our faithful Canadian Living test kitchen.”
Words from my mother, who is saying them so I don’t have to. The number of times I raised my eyebrows, askance that something was left unclarified -or GASP, forgotten entirely – were too numerous for me to reasonably believe that any of the recipes that we created were tested as rigorously as modern kitchens have come to expect. While I may rejoice in the almost encyclopedic collection of Elizabethan recipes this cookbook provides, it does not make up for sloppy recipe adaptation or composition.
Recipes: Buttered Beere A Fine Paste Warden Pie
Being the inaugural CookBook review, I couldn’t resist adding tidbits of commentary on how I created the rubric for cookbook reviews. (You know how much I like to deliberate…and contemplate… and critique my own standards of quality…and question the very fabric of the universe…) To illustrate my finished format, I will review a familiar book on this site.Read More »
Check out the stratigraphic deposits in this recipe! (Click or refresh to see the animation again.) I treated participants in my recent Conference talk with this compound salad from London, 1615. You can read more about this recipe on the post Baking with the Bard: Where’s my Sparknotes? Look forward to a reflection on the conference […]
The 20th century saw many periods of change (flavoured with surprisingly persistent continuity). One of the biggest catalysts for change was of course, the wartime period. Looking at repositories of wartime recipes is a fascinating glimpse of how Canadian Cookery and home life changed. However, I also learned that while cookbooks are a unique method to illuminate history, they can also actively erase important histories as well. Read More »
Canada Part 2: 19th c. Ontario Cooking featuring Immigrants from the Isles
Selected Recipes New Cock-a-Leekie Soup “Excellent Hot Tea Cakes” “Cranberry Pie”
If you’ve ever watched “Chopped: Canada”, you can sympathize with me when I say that I would be first on the chopping block. Do I cook with enthusiasm? Heck yes! Bravery? You betcha! Skill? Eh….in time, I tell myself, in time.Many times over this Historic Kitchen project I have looked askance at my final product….doubting that I have made it correctly. I would bet good money that my attempt at Patina of Pears would make even the dour Cato the Elder roll over laughing. The difficulty with creating recipes of unfamiliar dishes is that you have no ideaif you are wrong, or how you are wrong. Just that unpleasant niggling sensation that something must be different….since “there is no way this thing should be so jiggly/…neon…/crunchy/[insert questionable adjective here]!”Read More »
Selected Shakespearean Recipes: Mynst Pies A Fine Paste A Compound Sallat
You know when you read Shakespeare, and there are those convenient footnotes explaining all the contextual references to contemporary Elizabethan popculture? If you’ve ever tried reading Shakespeare without looking at these handy explanations, you sort of feel like you are only getting half the picture. Lines have very shallow meaning, but you don’t know what it is you don’t know. Shakespearean works, like historical recipes, are best understood when read with a full grasp of the common knowledge of their time, these things that are so common sense, that contemporary writers don’t bother explaining them. They assume their audience knows all about it. Well. Maybe back then they did! Now, much of that ‘common knowledge’ is lost. And unfortunately, there is no handy sparknotes for historical cookbooks!Read More »
Selected Classical Recipes Athenian Cabbage – The Classical Cookbook
Parthian Chicken – The Classical Cookbook
Lentils with Chestnuts – A Taste of History
GrecoRoman Pt 5.
Museums today are exploring different methods of display that incorporate senses other than sight and allow visitors to experience knowledge in new ways. It is not uncommon to see exhibits featuring soundscapes and opportunities for touch. Though growing as an interpretive tool, smell is still fairly rare.
Selected Classical Recipes Butter Beans in Herb Sauce- Roman Cookery Lentil and Barley Soup – Roman Cookery Vitellian Peas- The Classical Cookbook Spiced Wine – The Classical Cookbook
GrecoRoman Pt 3.
Roman food historians perform a brave and perilous duty testing out ancient recipes. Without ingredient quantities, dishes have to be prepared countless times until they are ‘gotten right’. Of course, at this point we still don’t know (and barring the invention of a time machine, never will) if we have it correct, at the very least we can now eat it! However, to any who wish to pursue Roman cuisine, a cautionary word is found in Plautus:Read More »