Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Today's research snippet: Medieval wine appreciation

Today's research snippet, and back to Alexander Nequam. On an earlier occasion he was talking about kitchen equipment. Here, and obviously in a hungry mood, he's talking about his favourite food and drink. He could almost have a guest spot on a wine appreciation programme for his description of raisin wine!

" A roast of pork is prepared diligently on a grid, frequently basted, and laid on the grid just as the hot coals cease to smoke. Let condiment be avoided other than pure salt or a simple garlic sauce. It does not hurt to sprinkle a cut up capon on with pepper. A domestic fowl may be quite tender, having been turned on a long spit, but it needs a strong garlic sauce, diluted with wine or vinegar made from the green juice of grapes or apples. Flavor a hen which has been cleaned and cut up into pieces, with cumin, if it is well boiled; but if it has been roasted, let it be treated with frequent drippings of fat, nor does it refuse garlic sauce; it will be more tasty with simple sauce.
Let fish that have been cleaned be cooked in a mixture of wine and water; afterwards they should be taken with green "savory" which is made from sage, parsley, dittany, thyme, costus, garlic, and pepper; do not omit salt.
One who takes this is especially exhilarated and restored by a raisin wine which is clear to the bottom of the cup, in its clarity similar to the tears of a penitent, and the colour is that of an oxhorn. It descends like lightning up on one who takes it - most tasty as an almond nut, quick as a squirrel, frisky as a kid, strong in the manner of a host of Cistercians or grey monks, emitting a kind of spark; it is supplied with the subtlety of a syllogism of Petit Pont; delicate as a fine cotton, it exceeds crystal in its coolness."

Today's research photo.
An Italian chalice, gilded copper and silver with translucent enamels.  Dateline circa 1360.  This was for church use rather than secular drinking!

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