Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A medival kitchen in modern times (ponderings)

I was just thinking about redactions and experimentations. I love cooking both modernly and medivally but how do you combine the two? When doing a redaction or experimentation with a medieval recipe I use my modern kitchen of course. I don't usually have the time it would take to set up what very few basics i have for a medieval kitchen (though someday i would love to have one that stayed set up!)  So how accurate is one's redaction if it is done in a modern way? no real way of telling of course. Even if one were to set up a "period" kitchen would it truely be "period" enough? We have scientific data that there has been a climactic shift since that era and if you for example, bake bread, climate can be all the difference sometimes. Too cold, too hot, too moist and too dry can all be problems. Also with that is region you ar ecooking in. Italy is significantly warmer than Germany is, if I set up an Italian medieval kitchen in Germany am i really going to be able to reproduce Italian food accurately.

Obviously alot of these questions have no answers and never will. Truly we can only "do the best we can with what we have". This also does not mean we should not try. In fact I think it means we should endeavor to try harder , especailly with ingredients. To find what we can that is absolutely as close to period as we can get. At least I want to endeavor to do this. It has not been an easy process, not by any stretch. Names of plants have changed as well as growing procedures. Trying to trace a lineage of a plant can sometimes be like following a Russian royals family tree, abrupt ends and inbreeding.

How to address the consolidation of modern and medieval is a question I have been thinking about recently. For my part I am starting with trying not to use modern equipment such as mixers, chopper and grinders. Easier said than done when time can be a constraint. I will use pre cut, chopped or ground items though. The work is done by someone else as it would have been in period. Large estates had many people in a kitchen each with their own job title and duties. You would have a dozen cooks for a single feast and everyone working full capacity at that. So to never use a pre prepared product would be senseless. The best of course is if you can pre prepare the items yourself.

I will leave myself here for more ponderings later before I meander too far away.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A bit more on Lombardy Rice

Greetings and welcome to some notes on the recipe. I would love to post the recipe but can't lay my hands on my book. For some reason it has run away from me and now I must hunt it. So I shall jsut share a few notes.

The basics of the recipe are as follows: Goose, Capon, Sausage, Rice, Provolone cheese, Cinnamon, Sugar, Butter.

You boil the goose, Pull it out and set aside,then using that stock you boil the capon, again putting it aside with the goose,then using that you boil the sausage, again setting it aside,then using that (after carefully straining out any small bones or bits) you boil the rice and then drain off excess liquid.

While your rice is boiling Strip your goose and capons, then chop up your meats into just smaller than bite sized pieces. Also shred your cheese

Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a proportion that is to your taste.

Lay a layer of rice down and top with chopped meat, sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture over it and top with shredded provolone cheese. Top with another layer of rice. Here I recomend you pour a light drizzle of melted butter in. Then top with more meat and repeat the procedure til you have a final layer of rice on top. Top with cinnamon sugar and if you have leftover cheese you can add that too. Remember to pour the butter on before the cheese though.

Bake in an oven meant for a pie for approximately 30 min.

My own redaction has come from experimentation and is not perfect.
1 goose
2 chickens
2.25lbs sausage
3 lbs provolone cheese
2.25 lbs butter
4.5 lbs rice
about 1.5 cups sugar

This is enough for roughly 40 people! The pans I used were HUGE! At least 24" by 12" by 4".

As i fiddle with the recipe i will continue to make notes.