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Random Renaissance Era Quotes (Well, mostly)

Mustard Greens

Anthimus p. 37 Mustard greens are good, boiled in salt and oil. They should be eaten either cooked on the coals or with bacon, and vinegar to suit the taste should be put in while they are cooking. 1 1/4 lb mustard greens (including smaller stems) 1 t salt 3 T oil 4 slices bacon 4 t vinegar Wash mustard greens. Boil stems two minutes, then add leaves, boil 6 more minutes and drain. Fry bacon (6 minutes in microwave). Heat oil, add greens and stir, then add salt and cook for five minutes. Crumble bacon and put over greens with vinegar. Stir it all up and cook for another 3 minutes. Top of Page

Cress in Lent with Milk of Almonds

Menagier p.M14

Take your cress and parboil it with a handful of chopped beet leaves, and fry them in oil, then put to boil in milk of almonds; and when it is not Lent, fry in lard and butter until cooked, then moisten with meat stock; or with cheese, and adjust it carefully, for it will brown. Anyway, if you add parsley, it does not have to be blanched.

Lenten version:

2 c cress = 1/3 lb

1/2 c beet leaves (or spinach)

1 T olive oil

1/2 c almond milk

1/4 c parsley = 1/2 oz

pinch salt

Fish-day version:

2 1/4 c cress = 6 oz

1 1/2 c (2 ounces) beet leaves

2 T butter

1 1/2 oz brick cheese

(3 sprigs parsley)

(1/8 t salt)

Meat-day version:

2 1/4 c cress = 6 oz

1 1/2 c (2 ounces) beet leaves

2 T lard and/or butter

1 1/2 oz brick cheese

(3 sprigs parsley)

(1/8 t salt)

Chop the cress and beet leaves. Dump them into boiling water, let the water come back to a boil, then drain them (about 2 minutes total in water). Heat oil or lard or butter in a skillet, add drained greens (and chopped parsley if you are using parsley). Stir fry for about 3 minutes. For Lenten version, add almond milk, let boil with greens about a minute. For fish-day version, add cheese, chopped up and stir until cheese is melted into the greens. For meat-day version, add meat stock and cook down 2-3 minutes. Add salt, serve.

Notes: Greens should be measured pressed down in the measuring cup. Use a mild cheese such as brick cheese. Substitute spinach for beet leaves if necessary; the Menagier regards spinach as a kind of beet leaf. We have tried several ratios of cress to beet leaves; all seem to work reasonably well.

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Lenten Foyles

Ordinance of Potage p. 38 (no. 9)

Take the same maner of herbes as thu dost to jowtys, and onyons clene paryd. Perboyle hem; presse out the watyr. Do hem yn a potte. Frye reysons in clere oyle that have be fryed yn before, and do therto with a perty of the oyle, and boyle hit up with the mylke of almondys; and put therto sugure & salte.

Note: “jowtys” is another recipe for cooked greens; the one in this cookbook calls for “kawlys [cabbage-type vegetables] & percellye and othir good herbes.”

1/4 head cabbage = 3/8 lb

1 large bunch parsley = 1 1/2 oz

1/4 lb spinach

2 oz turnip greens

1 oz collard greens2 onions = 6 oz

1/3 c raisins

1 T oil

2 c almond milk

1/2 t salt

1 t sugar

Wash greens, remove stems, cut up cabbage and onion. Make almond milk. Parboil vegetables 2-3 minutes, drain. Fry raisons in oil until they puff up and turn light brown (a few minutes). Put greens back in pot with raisins, add almond milk. Simmer 10-15 minutes, adding sugar and salt near the end.

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Gourd in Juice

Platina book 7

Cook a gourd in juice or in water with a few little onions and after it is cut up, pass it through a perforated spoon into a kettle in which there is rich juice, a little verjuice and saffron. Take it from the hearth when it has boiled a little. After it has been set aside and cooled a little, put in a little aged cheese ground up and softened with two egg yolks; or keep stirring it with a spoon so that lumps do not spoil it. After you have put it into saucers, sprinkle with spices.

2 3/4 lb squash

1/2-3/4 lb onions

1/2 c rich juice: canned beef or chicken broth
verjuice: 4 T verjuice or 2 T wine vinegar

7 threads saffron

5 oz cheddar cheese

2 egg yolks

spices (cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg)

Peel squash, remove seeds, slice; coarsely chop onions. Cook 10 minutes in water to cover. Drain and mash. Mix broth, vinegar, and saffron and add mashed squash. Heat, then add egg yolks and cheese. Sprinkle with one of the spices: cinnamon was considered best.

We have also made this using gourds from a chinese grocery store, which we believe were bottle gourds (Lagenaria siceraria),our best guess at the gourd used in period (squash is new world). The recipe we worked out is: Double the quantity of onions and beef broth, keeping the other proportions as in version with squash. Peel the gourd, boil it with whole small onions for an hour, then discard the onions (which seems to be what the original recipe implies). Slice gourd, mash through strainer (or use a potato ricer). Add beef broth and verjuice, heat 15 minutes on low, let cool 10 minutes, add grated cheese and egg yolks. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

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Fried Gourd

Platina book 7

Scrape off the skin from the gourd and cut it sideways in thin slices. When it is boiled once transfer it from the pot onto the board and leave it there till it has dried out a little. Then roll it in salt and good white flour and fry it in oil; when it is done and put on a platter, pour a garlic sauce over it, with fennel blossoms and breadcrumbs so dissolved in verjuice that it looks thin rather than thick. It would not be amiss to pass this sauce through a strainer. There are those, too, who use only verjuice and fennel bloom. If you like saffron, add saffron..

about 3 lbs gourd

2 t salt

1 c flour

enough oil to fry

See under sauces for Platina’s garlic sauce.

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Forme of Cury p. 14/A15

Take Funges and pare hem clene and dyce hem. take leke and shred hym small and do hym to see+ in gode broth. color it with safron and do + ‘inne powdo fort.

1/2 lb mushrooms

1 leek

1 c beef or chicken broth

6 threads saffron

1/4 t powder fort (see introduction p.5)

1/4 t salt

Wash the vegetables; slice the leek finely and dice the mushrooms. Add saffron to the broth and bring it to a boil. Add the leek, mushrooms, and powder fort to the broth, simmer 3-4 minutes, remove from the heat, and serve.

We prefer to use beef broth, but it is also good with chicken. If you use a canned broth, remember that some are concentrated and must be diluted before using. Campbell’s beef bouillon or chicken bouillon, for instance, should be combined with an equal quantity of water.

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Two Fifteenth Century p. 6/33 (GOOD-and easy)

Take fayre caboges, an cutte hem, an pike hem clene and clene washe hem, an parboyle hem in fayre water, an thanne presse hem on a fayre bord; an than choppe hem, and caste hem in a fayre pot with goode fresshe broth, an wyth mery-bonys, and let it boyle: thanne grate fayre brede and caste ther-to, an caste ther-to Safron an salt; or ellys take gode grwel y-mad of freys flesshe, y-draw thorw a straynour, and caste ther-to. An whan thou seruyst yt inne, knocke owt the marw of the bonys, an ley the marwe ij gobettys or iij in a dysshe, as the semyth best, and serue forth.

1 medium head cabbage

4 c beef broth

4 lb marrow bones

pinch of saffron

1 T salt


Wash cabbage. Cut it in fourths. Parboil it (i.e. dump into boiling water, leave there a few minutes). Drain. Chop. Squeeze out water. Put it in a pot with beef broth and marrow bones. Simmer until soft, stirring often enough to keep it from sticking (about 20 minutes). Add saffron, salt, enough bread crumbs to make it very thick. Simmer ten minutes more. Serve.

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Armored Turnips

Platina book 8

Cut up turnips that have been either boiled or cooked under the ashes. Likewise do the same with rich cheese, not too ripe. These should be smaller morsels than the turnips, though. In a pan greased with butter or liquamen, make a layer of cheese first, then a layer of turnips, and so on, all the while pouring in spice and some butter, from time to time. This dish is quickly cooked and should be eaten quickly, too.

1 lb turnips (5 little)

10 oz cheddar cheese

2 T butter

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t ginger

1/4 t pepper

Boil turnips about 30 minutes, peel and slice thin, layer turnips and sliced cheese in 9″x5″ baking pan, and bake 30 minutes at 350deg.

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Green Pesen Royal

Ancient Cookery p. 470/44

Take green peas clean washen and let them boil awhile over the fire, and then pour away all the broth, and bray a few of them with parsley and mint, and in the braying allay it with almond milk, and draw it up with the same milk, and put it in the same pot, and let it boil with whole pesen, and cast thereto sugar and saffron, and in the setting down of the pot, if it be a pot of two gallons, take 12 yolkes of eggs and beat them, and strain them, and cast them into the pot, and stir it well, and look that the pottage be running, and when it is dressed, strew sugar above, and serve it forth.

1 lb green shelled peas

2 t fresh parsley

1 t fresh mint

almond milk: 1/4 c blanched almonds, 1/2 c cool water

1/8 t salt

1 T sugar

6 threads saffron

2 beaten egg yolks

2 T sugar (sprinkled on at end)

Make almond milk and boil peas. When the peas are boiled, mash 1/2 c of the peas with the parsley and mint, and add almond milk gradually. Put back with peas, add sugar and saffron, and heat; add egg yolks and remove from heat; sprinkle on sugar before serving.

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Two Fifteenth Century p. 83/71

Take grene pesyn, and boile hem in a potte; And whan they ben y-broke, drawe the broth a good quantite thorgh a streynour into a potte, And sitte hit on the fire; and take oynons and parcelly, and hewe hem small togidre, And caste hem thereto; And take pouder of Canell and peper, and caste thereto, and lete boile; And take vynegur and pouder of ginger, and caste thereto; And then take Saffron and salte, a litull quantite, and caste thereto; And take faire peces of paynmain, or elles of such tendur brede, and kutte hit yn fere mosselles, and caste there-to; And then serue hit so forth.

1 lb peas

2 1/2 c water

2 onions (total about 4 oz)

2 T parsley

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t pepper

1 T vinegar

1/4 t ginger

3 threads saffron

3/4 t salt

2 slices bread (about 2 oz)

Simmer peas in water for about 40 minutes. Mash the peas and the broth through a strainer. Add chopped onions, parsley, cinnamon, pepper. Boil for ten minutes. Add vinegar and ginger, salt and saffron. Chop up bread, put it in, boil briefly, serve.

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Form of Cury p. 41/A21

Take drawn beans and sethe them well. Take them up of the water and cast them in a mortar. Grind them all to doust till they be white as any milk, chawf a little red wine, cast thereamong in the grinding, do thereto salt, leshe it in dishes, then take onions and mince them small and sethe them in oil till they be all brown. And flourish the dish therewith. And serve it forth.

1 cup pea beans, dry

1/2 c red wine

1 t salt

2 large onions

enough oil to fry the onions

Soak the beans overnight then simmer 4-6 hours until tender. Chop up the onions fairly fine. Drain the beans, use a food processor to puree. Heat the wine and add it. Put the beans in each dish, put the fried onions over them. Broad beans (fava beans) would be more authentic than pea beans, but we have not yet tried them in this recipe.

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Fried Broad Beans

Platina book 7/

Put broad beans that have been cooked and softened into a frying pan with soft fat, onions, figs, sage, and several pot herbs, or else fry them well rubbed with oil and, on a wooden tablet or a flat surface, spread this into the form of a cake and sprinkle spices over it.

1 c dried fava beans

6-8 T lard

1/2 c+ onions

2/3 c figs (cut in about 8 pieces)

1/2 t sage

1/2 t salt

pot herbs: 1 1/2 c spinach, packed; 1 1/2 c parsley, packed; 1 1/2 c mustard greens, packed; 1 1/2 c turnip greens

Spices for sprinkling on top: 1/4 t ginger, 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/4 t pepper

Beans were brought to a boil in 2 1/2 c water, left to soak about 1/2 hour, then simmered another hour (until soft). Drain the beans, mix the whole mess together and fry it in the lard for 10 minutes, then serve it forth with spices sprinkled on it.

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To Make a Tarte of Spinage

Proper Newe Booke, p. 41/C11

Take Spynage and perboyle it tender, then take it up and wrynge oute the water cleane, and chop it very small, and set it uppon the fyre wyth swete butter in a frying panne and season it, and set it in a platter to coole then fyll your tart and so bake it.

20 oz spinach

1/4 lb butter

1 T sugar

1 t cinnamon

1/4 t mace

1/4 t salt

9″ pastry shell

Note: recipes for other pies in this book say “season it up with sugar and cinnamon and sweet butter” or also with mace or just with sugar and butter.

Parboil spinach 3 minutes, rinse in cold water, wring it dry. Fry 2-3 minutes in butter with spices. Cool. Fill shell and bake at 350deg. for 40 minutes.

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An Excellent Boiled Salad

English Huswife book 2, p.40 (GOOD)

To make an excellent compound boil’d Sallat: take of Spinage well washt two or three handfuls, and put it into faire water and boile it till it bee exceeding soft and tender as pappe; then put it into a Cullander and draine the water from it, which done, with the backside of your Chopping-knife chop it and bruise it as small as may bee: then put it into a Pipkin with a good lump of sweet butter and boile it over again; then take a good handfull of Currants cleane washt and put to it, and stirre them well together, then put to as much Vinegar as will make it reasonable tart, and then with sugar season it according to the taste of the Master of the house, and so serve it upon sippets.

10 ounces spinach

2 T butter

5/8 c currants

3 T wine vinegar

4 T sugar

1 lb loaf of white bread or more, toasted (sippets)

Serve on slices of toast.

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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:

Colleyville, Texas

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.

Rookie mistake.

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.

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