Random Renaissance Era Quotes (Well, mostly)
Renaissance and Medieval Food Recipes
A Potage with Turnips
Platina book 7
Turnips that have been well washed and cut up into nice bits, you cook down in some rich juice. When they have cooked and been mashed, put them near the fire again, in more rich juice, even better than before, if possible; and put in little pieces of salt pork, pepper and saffron. When it has boiled once, then take it and serve it to your guests.
6 turnips = 3 lb
Wash turnips and cut off ends and slice 1/4″-1/2″ thick. Heat first broth to a boil, then add turnips. Simmer 20 minutes, remove turnips and get rid of broth. Cut salt pork into small pieces, cutting off rind, and fry it until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Drain. Mash turnips with a potato masher, return to pot with second broth, salt pork, pepper and saffron; bring to a boil, boil briefly and remove from heat. Produces about 9 c of pottage.
Note: an earlier recipe in this chapter of Platina’s for potage of peas says to fry morsels of salt flesh, so we do so with the salt pork here.
Rapes in Potage[or Carrots or Parsnips]
Curye on Inglysch p. 99 (Forme of Cury no. 7)
Take rapus and make hem clene, and waissh hem clene; quarter hem; perboile hem, take hem vp. Cast hem in a gode broth and see+ hem; mynce oynouns and cast + erto safroun and salt, and messe it forth with powdour douce. In the self wise make of pastunakes and skyrwittes.
Note: rapes are turnips; pasternakes are either parsnips or carrots; skirrets are, according to the OED, “a species of water parsnip, formerly much cultivated in Europe for its esculent tubers.” We have never found them available in the market.
1 lb turnips, carrots, or parsnips
Wash, peel, and quarter turnips (or cut into eighths if they are large), cover with boiling water and parboil for 15 minutes. If you are using carrots or parsnips, clean them and cut them up into large bite-sized pieces and parboil 10 minutes. Mince onions. Drain turnips, carrots, or parsnips, and put them with onions and chicken broth in a pot and bring to a boil. Crush saffron into about 1 t of the broth and add seasonings to potage. Cook another 15-20 minutes, until turnips or carrots are soft to a fork and some of the liquid is boiled down.
Potage from Meat
Platina book 7 (GOOD)
Take lean meat and let it boil, then cut it up finely and cook it again for half an hour in rich juice, having first added bread crumbs. Add a little pepper and saffron.
When it has cooled a little, add beaten eggs, grated cheese, parsley, marjoram, finely chopped mint with a little verjuice. Blend them all together in a pot, stirring them slowly with a spoon so that they do not form a ball. The same may be done with livers and lungs.
2 1/3 lb stewbeef
Bring meat and water to a boil and cook 10 minutes; take meat out and cut up small; put back in water with broth, bread crumbs, pepper, and saffron. Simmer 1/2 hour over low flame, being careful that it does not stick. Mix in remaining ingredients; cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. This makes about 10 cups.
This is a rather meat-rich version; it also works with as little as half this much meat.
The Soup Called Menjoire
Taillevent p. 112
First you need the necessary meat-Peachicks, pheasants or partridges and if you can’t get those, plovers, cranes or larks or other small birds; and roast the poultry on a spit and when it is almost cooked, especially for large birds like peachicks, pheasants or partridges, cut them into pieces and fry them in lard in an iron pan and then put them in the soup pot. And to make the soup you need beef stock from a leg of beef, and white bread toasted on a grill, and put the bread to soak and skim the broth and strain through a sieve and then you need cinnamon, ginger, a little cloves, long pepper and grains of paradise and hippocras according to the amount of soup you want to make, and mix the spices and the hippocras together and put in the pot with the poultry and the broth and boil everything together and add a very little vinegar, taking care that it just simmers and add sugar to taste and serve over the toasted crackers with white anise or red or pomegranate powder.
3 leg quarters chicken
Bake chicken 45 minutes at 350deg. . It is a good idea to debone it after it has cooled enough to handle before frying it. Toast is soaked until soft, then beaten into the soup. Simmer soup about 45 minutes. Serve over toasted crackers.
Platina book 6
Put thirty egg yolks, verjuice, the juice of veal or capon, saffron, a little cinnamon together into a bowl and blend. Pass them through a strainer into a pot. Cook it down slowly and stir it continuously with a spoon until it begins to thicken. For then it is taken from the hearth and served to ten guests. While in the dishes, sprinkle with spices.
7 egg yolks
Platina book 6
Take seven eggs, half a pound of grated cheese, and ground bread all blended together. Put this into the pot where the saffron broth is made, when it begins to boil. When you have stirred it two or three times with a spoon, compose your dishes, for it is quickly done.
Saffron broth (see above: one recipe)
Variants on Platina Soups
Platina book 6
Green Broth: Take all that was contained in the first broth (Saffron Broth) except for the saffron and to these things add orach and a little parsley and a few ground sprouts of wheat if there are any green ones at the time. Pass this through a strainer and cook it in the same way as above.
1/2 c orage (spinach is a substitute), 2 T parsley, 2 T wheat sprouts. Grind them up in a mortar to get the green color.
Green Pottage : You prepare green potage in the same way as described above (Zanzarella), but instead of saffron, put in herbs which I noted with the green broth.
Potage of Beans Boiled
Curye on Inglysch p. 77 (Diuersa Servicia no. 81)
For to make a potage fene boiles, tak wite benes & se+ hem in water, & bray + e benys in a mortar al to noght; & lat + em se+ e in almond mylk & do + erin wyn & hony. & se+ reysouns in wyn & do + erto & after dresse yt forth.
1 c fava beans
Soak beans overnight in 2 c water, drain. Boil them for 40 minutes in 2 c of water. Drain them, mush them in a mortar. Make almond milk ( see p. 5) and set to boil; throw beans into boiling almond milk, add wine and honey, simmer 1 hour. Simmer the raisins in wine for about ten minutes, add them to the pottage a few minutes before it finishes cooking.
Cretonnée of New Peas
Menagier p. M-19
Cook them almost to a puree then remove from the liquid and take fresh cow’s milk. And first boil this milk before you put anything in it for it still could turn then first grind ginger to give appetite and saffron to yellow: it is said that if you want to make a liaison with egg yolks pour gently in from above these yolks will yellow it enough and also make the liaison but milk curdles quicker with egg yolks than with a liaison of bread and with saffron to color it. And for this purpose if you use bread it should be white unleavened bread and moisten it in a bowl with milk or meat stock then grind and put it through a sieve and when your bread is sieved and your spices have not been sieved put it all to boil with your peas and when it is all cooked then add your milk and saffron. You can make still another liaison, with the same peas or beans ground then strained; use whichever you please. As for liaison with egg yolks, they must be beaten, strained through a sieve, and poured slowly from above into the milk, after it has boiled well and has been drawn to the back of the fire with the new peas and spices. The surest way is to take a little of the milk and mix with the eggs in the bowl, and then a little more, and again, until the yolks are well mixed with a spoon and plenty of milk, then put into the pot which is away from the fire, and the soup will not curdle. And if the soup is thick, thin with a little meat stock. This done, you should have quartered chicks, veal, or small goose cooked then fried, and in each bowl put two or three morsels and the soup over them.
1 lb = 4 c peas
Note: Save the water in which you cook the peas-it is useful for making other soups.
Boil peas 10 minutes. Mix 1 c warm milk with 4 egg yolks. Add ginger and salt to the peas, then milk and eggs. Makes about 6 cups.
Green Broth of Eggs and Cheese
Menagier p. M-22
Take parsley and a little cheese and sage and a very small amount of saffron, moistened bread, and mix with water left from cooking peas, or stock, grind and strain: And have ground ginger mixed with wine, and put on to boil; then add cheese and eggs poached in water, and let it be a bright green. Item, some do not add bread, but instead of bread use bacon.
3 T parsley
Soak bread in stock (either water left from cooking peas or 1/2 c canned chicken broth + 1 1/2 c water). Grind parsley, sage, and saffron in a mortar thoroughly; add 1/2 oz cheese and soaked bread and grind together. Strain through a strainer; if necessary, put back in mortar what didn’t go through, grind again, and strain again. Mix wine and ginger, add to mixture, and bring to a boil over moderate heat; be careful that it does not stick to the bottom. Stir in the rest of the cheese; break eggs into soup, and continue to simmer until eggs are poached.
Note: We have used both Gouda and cheddar cheese; both are good.
A touch of “Swan Song” and a dash of “The Stand”…Very good post-apocalyptic tale in the mode and mood of R. McCammon’s “Swan Song” and S. King’s “The Stand”. ★★★★★
Excerpt from Troop of Shadows:
Dani cursed the weight of her backpack. The final two items from the ransacked Walgreens, crammed in as an afterthought ten minutes ago, might cost her everything. After surviving the last twelve months of hell only to be thwarted now by a can of Similac and a twelve-pack of Zest soap, would be sadly anticlimactic. Despite running at a full sprint down a dark suburban street, dodging overflowing garbage cans while eluding three men who would steal her hard-won tubes of Neosporin and likely rape and kill her in the process, she snorted at the thought of a fictional headline: Young Woman’s Life Ends Tragically but Zestfully Clean.
Damn it, she would ditch the backpack. She could come back tomorrow night for it, but right now staying alive outweighed any future benefit its contents might provide. As her pursuers rounded the corner behind her, she darted across the front lawn of a house and leaped over a cluster of dead juniper shrubs. A year ago, those shrubs had been green, manicured, and providing curb appeal to the upscale neighborhood; they functioned now as a hurdle component in the obstacle course Dani navigated on most nights.
She angled toward the side of the house and around the corner, only to come to an abrupt stop next to a six-foot barricade. Residents of these sprawling bedroom communities situated between Dallas and Fort Worth clung to their privacy fences as fiercely as their rural counterparts did to their firearms. Why all those day-trading dads and cheerleader moms required such secrecy was beyond Dani. She didn’t care. All that mattered was how difficult they made her nightly forages. Only idiots or people with a death wish traveled alone on the streets anymore. The clever ones navigated through backyards and drainage ditches, shadowed easements and alleyway, avoiding open spaces and other humans.
Especially humans traveling in groups.
Stealth and caution were second nature to her now, and she was pissed at herself for loading up the backpack with more weight than she could easily carry at a full run.
She flung the pack into the undergrowth of a once meticulous garden, making a mental note of the enormous red tip photinia which camouflaged the bundle in a leafy shroud. She hoped to be alive the next day to retrieve it.
She clambered up the fence, finding a toehold on a warped plank, and squirmed over the top. A silver fingernail of a moon did little to illuminate the backyard. Weak starlight reflected off the inky surface of a half-empty, kidney-shaped swimming pool. Her Nikes gripped the concrete deck as she skirted the murky water and made a beeline for the back of the yard that was, of course, separated from its neighbor by a privacy fence. It was a tall one too — a full ten feet. There were no bushes or trees to use for leverage either. She scanned the area for anything that might serve as a step ladder.
Of all the yards she could have chosen for her escape, she’d picked one with a damn ten-foot fence.
Her heart raced from the sprint, but not from panic. Gone was the young woman from a year ago, the full-time floundering college dropout and part-time surly Starbucks barista who spent too much time reading books and not enough time looking for a job that would allow her to move out of her parents’ house. She was too smart for her own good, everyone had told her. She should have taken that secretarial position in North Dallas, but she would have lost her sanity in that environment. The tedious filing, the ringing phones, the office politics — in other words, hell on earth for a girl with an IQ over a hundred and fifty.
Despite the recent horrors, she’d come into her own at last, after twenty-one years of meandering through life unfocused and unchallenged. The extra twenty pounds she’d been carrying courtesy of Freddy’s cheeseburgers and Taco Bell burritos were gone, thanks to her newfound self-discipline and endless hours of Krav Maga training with Sam. Not only had she transformed her body, she’d elevated and strengthened her mind as well. Before the power had gone out, she’d watched countless tutorials on T’ai Chi, Qigong, and Buddhist meditation. During that same window — when people were beginning to get sick, but before most of them had died — she’d combed book stores and libraries within a fifteen-mile radius. When the country went dark and people realized that life-saving information was no longer available with a few keystrokes, Dani had amassed reference material on subjects as diverse as hydroponics and combat first aid, ancient meat drying techniques and bomb making. Between martial arts lessons with Sam, she spent every spare minute absorbing the printed esoteric knowledge like a greedy lizard on a sun-drenched rock.
Knowledge was survival.
When the first of the men slithered over the fence into the backyard, she hadn’t found anything to use as a foothold. Another figure followed behind him. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and released it from her lungs, slow and measured, then took off at a full run toward them. While she ran, fingers slid down to a leather sheath secured to her belt. Two seconds before she reached the first of her would-be assailants, a Ka-Bar — the grandaddy of tactical knives — was in her hand.
Dani used momentum and every ounce of her one-hundred-twenty pound frame to slam the first man into the second, knocking both assailants off-balance and unprepared for her next move: a vicious stab to the groin of the first. He collapsed to his knees. She followed with a backhand movement, opening up the throat of his companion. A similar gesture to the man with the injured groin silenced his moaning.