November 06, 2006
How do medieval-themed restaurants get it [so] wrong? via Steve.
10 years ago
I knew tomatoes and potatoes (or tomatoes and potatoes if you're picky about pronunciahtion) weren't in Europe until after 1500 but I didn't realize "Cornish game hens" were a breed popularized in the 1960's by a . . . chicken . . salesman . . person. Tofurkey for me anyhoo. Save the deer and peacocks and porpoises and orangutans and sloths and breakfast cereals . . .
Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine
The author repeatedly writes sentences to the effect that
would be very unpopular with modern persons, and yet fails to grasp why medieval-themed places don't do
? He's missing the beef for the cattle.
Because who wants to be served four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie?
Because medieval theme restaurants want to retain their customers, that's why. They are not about historical accuracy in any way, shape or form, but about entertainment, as in disnefication. I suggest you buy Steve a book on marketing.
I'm really interested in food/produce history and origins. I wish there was a website dedicated to it.
Mr K - There's definitely a book or three on the subject. I can't remember the title/author of the one that springs to mind, but
Teresa Nielsen Hayden recommended it in a list of ref books for aspiring fantasy writers, probably on SFF.net or SFWA.org. I don't have time right now to find more info; will try later. What I did find is info about another book,
The Cambridge World History of Food
damn it. don't preview because you're in a hurry? you will pay. just pretend the Making Light link doesn't go on past TNH's name, and note that the next link begins at "The Cambridge..."
I'd like to go to a real feast as described. I'm all about feasting. Besides, watching a bunch of people play live-action dungeons and dragons while eating tomato soup with a jazzy name really doesn't appeal to me if I don't get my stale bread plate and animals stuffed in animals. Maybe I'll look for a
One elementary school I went to did a medieval themed feast on a small-class-sized scale one year. We stuck more or less to the rules of what was historically appropriate (at least closer than these restaurants, apparently) and had a lot of fun dressing up like knights and ladies and eating with our hands off stale pita plates.
I remember being fascinated with the Bronze Age cooking tools in the British Museum. They had, like, tongs and shit.
my medival geek thanks you for the link :)
verbminx, that World History of Food looks neat, but I think I'd be more interested in the appendix than the rest of the book.
> How do medieval-themed restaurants get it [so] wrong? I think the big problem is a general lack of filth. Also, the food is way to fresh.
to + o = too
There's nothing like
a well-hung stag
let your meat hang
Also, this seems like a good time to re-link
How to Make a Foole
OK, can lines from a link be taglines? I hope so, because...
Monkeyfilter: frumps for his folly, and flouts for his foppery
A Chef and His
Any luck with finding the name of that book, verbminx? I looked through the site you linked, but had no luck, mostly because I don't know exactly what I'm looking for.
I think the real medieval food sounds much tastier than roast chicken and potatoes. Spices and rich sauces - yum. (I also love Indian food).
Aha! I did find it, after concerted searching (and I couldn't find the Teresa Nielsen Hayden list I mentioned either). The book I'm thinking of is
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee. There's lots of commentary in there about the science behind food, including things like the development of various vegetables (what they looked like 500 years ago, for example), or why salt is enormously helpful in making good ice cream. Another book that might be worth looking at, on this tack, is
Food in History
by Reay Tannahill (who also wrote the excellent
Sex in History
). I haven't looked at it yet myself. Finally, there are a few medieval-renaissance cookbooks, like
by Francine Segan and
The Medieval Kitchen
by Odile Redon et al. Both have palatable recipes that are largely authentic, so they're worth looking at if you're planning a medieval feast. A friend used Maggie Black's
for her college's "Twelfth Night" celebration; everything I had from it was pretty good, if not always visually attractive. There's another book called
, by Constance Hieatt, which I haven't ever looked through, but which seems to be highly esteemed. It's interesting to note that, contrary to popular perception, the average medieval/renaissance European probably had teeth as good as or better than those of the average modern American. Why? Their sugar consumption was usually much lower, and they didn't have soft drinks, which have a combination of ingredients that promote tooth decay. Their teeth would have been worn down by certain common ingredients in their food, but the enamel would probably have been in pretty good shape. The archaeological record largely bears this out. (I've read.)