ABCDEFGH I got a gal in Kalamazoo..

This last weekend was the “International Congress of Medieval Studies” at the University of Michigan in Kalamazoo, MI, most commonly just called “Kalamazoo”. Every medievalist that wants to be taken seriously in the academic world needs to attend/present there.
If you hit their official hashtag on twitter (yes, medievalists are actually quite active on twitter), you can get an idea of the conference and the kinds of learning opportunities there are there – https://twitter.com/hashtag/Kzoo2017?src=hash

Go here for more information about this past Kalamazoo conference

For publications from the Medieval Institute: https://wmich.edu/medievalpublications/all-titles

Why am I telling all of you about this? Because if you are interested in medieval “stuff” this is a thing that you should be aware of and, if you are academically minded, you should consider making it one of your goals to present there. It is also a wonderful resource for information in the medievalist community.

I’m also telling you about this because it should be something that is on your radar if you are a medievalist. Here is where you can keep up to date with your research and discover avenues of research that you may not have been aware of. Now, I’m speaking to amateur researchers here, as researchers affiliated with universities, etc. have these kinds of resources immediately at their disposal.

I’m also sharing this because I have always diminished my own work and never seriously considered attending Kalamazoo or presenting at Kalamazoo because I was (and am) afraid that I’m not good enough or that people would think that I was out of place. It’s time that I stop being afraid and move forward. So, to set some realistic goals for myself, I would like to attend the 2018 Kalamazoo conference with the intent to present in 2019. The work that I’m doing right now that I’m the happiest with is the research into Richard II’s court and placing Forme of Cury into proper historical context. I have no idea how I’m going to make this happen, but it’ll be a good ride.

If you are new to the idea of Kalamazoo or are also a little afraid of attending as an amateur or independent researcher, is this something that you would like to do with me? We can meet up, hold hands, and keep each other company so it’s a little less scary. What do you think?

If you find what I do useful or helpful in any way, please help support what I do by becoming a Patron. I post 3x a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) and on Fridays you will receive Patron-only content.

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Failure is Important

Earlier this week, Mark Fishbach (aka Markiplier) posted something that spoke deeply to me. He talked about failure and why failure happens, more importantly, he talks about how to recover from failure.

One thing that I truly believe is that failure is inevitable. You are going to fail in something at some time in some way. Sometimes the overall impact is relatively small and sometimes it’s a devastating failure that you feel like you’ll never recover from – but you will recover from it, as long as you find your way out.

Here are a few things that I found useful to find my way out of failure:
1. Give yourself a defined period of time to deal with your feelings after a failure. That period of time should be between 3-5 days. Seriously. I know that feelings in general don’t have a cutoff period, but if you don’t give yourself a restricted period of time, you can end up wallowing in feelings of failure and inadequacy indefinitely.

2. Things that are useful to contemplate while mourning, because you are mourning:
2a. You are more than your failures.
2b. This is fixable.
2c. All of this is completely transitory. Today is not forever.
While I know it is difficult to hear things like this when you’re in your feels, but they’re true. Keep these things in mind, write them down if it helps, but remember their truth.

3. Once you’re through your mourning period, consider why you missed your goal or failed to accomplish something. Was it overly ambitious? Were the baby steps towards your goal ill-defined or were there too few of them? Did you choose a goal for reasons that weren’t well-defined or selected because you believed it to be something that you *should* do or something that was expected of you?

4. Was your goal poorly defined so you couldn’t be realistic with your benchmarks? Perhaps a goal of “dedicate 10 minutes a day to learning a new language” rather than “learn X language” is a better way to define things for yourself. Establishing a new habit is sometimes the real solution to a problem.

5. Talk through things with a close friend or family member. Before you start, ask them to just listen and let you talk through your thoughts before offering any suggestions or commentary. Sometimes saying things out loud to another person makes things clearer to ourselves. Communicate what you’ve learned just through using them as a sounding board and then welcome their commentary/suggestions. Take them on-board while you develop your process for recovery.

6. Know that everyone fails. Literally everyone.
-Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first television job.
-JK Rowling wrote the majority of “Harry Potter” while jobless, divorced, pennyless, and taking benefits (the UK equivalent of Welfare). Her book was then rejected by 12 major publishers before she got a book deal.
-Michael Jordan was cut from his High School basketball team.

7. The difference in failures is how you recover from them. There are few failures that you can not recover from in some way.

Samuel Beckett wrote, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” It has become cliched over time, but its truth can not be ignored. Failure is going to happen, how you recover is truly important.

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Eenen – Hutspot, Redux

As promised last Wednesday, here is what I learned while interpreting this recipe from Eenen seer schoonen ende excellenten Cocboeck.
To refresh our memories:

122 Om een hooft van eenen salm te stoven of te smooren
Neemt het hooft ende houwet gelijc hutspot. Siedet wel ende verslatet, doet er dan by corinten, gengeber, roosemarijn, wijn ende wat azijns. Latet tsamen stoven totdat het genoech is, rechtet dan op ende dienet, noch of stooft het recht slecht met wat gengeberpoeder ende opt leste wat groen geschorven petercelij ende als ghyt uut slaet so doet er wat azijns in. Recht hem op ende dient hem ter tafel.

122 How one uses a salmon to make a smothered stew
Take the large end of the [houwet gelijc] hutspot. Then you take coriander, ginger, rosemary, wine, and some vinegar. Let it stand until it is finished, place on a serving plate, you can serve plain or with powdered ginger and parsley and if it is thick, you can add vinegar. You can then serve this at the table.

Lessons learned:

Replacing the salmon with pork was a good plan as there were at least two people present that did not like salmon. Next time, I’ll do one of each version.

The recipe that I had planned for originally didn’t get me quite where I needed to be, flavor-wise, so I had to change it:

Updated Pork Recipe
1 pork loin
1/4 c fresh, chopped coriander (cilantro)
1 in knob of ginger, peeled and sliced
1/4 c fresh, chopped rosemary
1/4 c fresh, chopped parsley
1 bottle wine, I used a blackberry/raspberry wine from a Central PA winery
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/2 c red wine vinegar
3 T salt

The night before, combine the wine, wine vinegar, sliced ginger, salt, and rosemary.
Place the pork loin and pour the liquid over it in a slow-cooker.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
When you’re ready to slice it, add the chopped cilantro and parsley.
It was delicious on its own. We did not eat the liquid.

Now, to modify this for salmon and not cooking it all day…

Recipe – Salmon Hutspot (will serve 6-10 people)
3 lbs salmon (skinless)
1/4 c fresh, chopped coriander (cilantro), reserve some for garnish
1 in knob of ginger, peeled and sliced
1/4 c fresh, chopped rosemary, reserve some for garnish
1/4 c fresh, chopped parsley
1 bottle red wine
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/2 c red wine vinegar
3 T salt

Preheat oven to 350 ° F (177 C, gasmark 4).
While your oven is heating up, Cut salmon into 1″x 2″ pieces and prep the rest of your herbs/spices.
Place everything into the pot, including the fresh herbs. Stir well to keep the pieces of salmon from sticking together.
Cook in oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring once (at around 15 minutes).
Serve like a stew, garnishing the top with the reserved fresh herbs.

This week, we’ll talk about failure and on Friday, my patrons will get some additional updates to my card “game” idea along with a giveaway.

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Hutspot – A quick recipe translation

This week, I am hosting some friends and wanted to put something together that was filling and medieval. It’s a quick translation/interpretation of a traditional Netherlandish dish, Hutspot.

The article is at: https://www.patreon.com/posts/10006928.

Please consider supporting me in what I do with a donation to my Patreon.

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Back Pocket Feasts – A New Project

So, many years ago, I was placed in a situation where I and another cook had to come up with a shopping list and most of a menu three days before an event in an unfamiliar place with no idea what had or had not been done in advance. The original cook was ill, so it was completely understandable, but that incident has stuck with me for years. Fortunately, between the two of us, we had a lot of random information running around in our heads and were able to quickly calculate amounts, etc. as well as some supplemental dishes while wandering around the Restaurant Depot.
This is not a normal or common thing and it takes a specific skill set to pull it off.

The other incident that stuck with me was working with my daughter to plan a menu for a “Children’s Lunch” that she was heading up. It was a lot of using websites that I knew about and talking her through the basic ideas of how a course is structured and how to consider the needs of a large amount of food and how that differs from cooking for a small family. There was no real central place to get that information, it was years of experience and random knowledge that I needed to pass along.

I’d been tossing around the idea of “Back Pocket Feasts” for a while. It started out as a book idea where a series of themed multi-course medieval feasts would be offered with original documentation, a recipe for a small number of people, and information about scaling up those amounts based on the size of the crowd you were feeding. My problem was that I didn’t have the resources to test that many recipes and other than just handing off a bunch of recipes, it didn’t really teach you anything. So, good resource, poor teaching tool.

Then yesterday, I saw this Kickstarter for “Competition Kitchen: A Deliciously Creative Party Game“.

Immediately I started to get some ideas about how to make a medieval variation of the game, including some medieval specific ingredients (cubeb, sandalwood). Now, fun variation for medieval food fans but it doesn’t narrow in on a specific place or time.

Then it struck me, deal-a-meal. Now, here is where we dive into the crazy a little bit, but stay with me. Since ingredients tend to be similar across Europe during the middle ages, you don’t have to have new cards for each similar ingredient. The basic idea is for the cards to look like this:

I’m doing some more digging and data crunching to see what the best way would be to do this. What I want to do is offer something that lets people find ingredients first – since shopping by season or region can help control costs. It’s the difference between cooking from a cookbook and being a cook. There’s a degree of creativity that one learns by doing, and my desire is to help people discover that aspect of cooking a bit more quickly.

Once I have a better fix on how to present the information, I’ll share that here.

If you find value in what I do and would like to help support my hobby, please donate to my Patreon.

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From Meddling Medlars – Stuffed Turnips or How to make a pudding in a turnep root

I was talking about turnips with @glen_malley (as one does) and after the “turnips are not Rutabaga” comments decided to blog about it because I like clearing up confusion. Over at Wiki…

Source: Stuffed Turnips or How to make a pudding in a turnep root – meddling medlars

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#foodhistoryfriday

Some handy links to things that may be useful:

The Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery are offering some awards and grants. These are for education funding and reduced fees for the Symposium.

Meddling Medlars have a great analysis of two different medieval recipes for pear tarts – The tale of two tarts: Pear tarts three ways.

For reenactors that are called upon to cook for people with food allergies, The Jolly Duke Tavern has recommendations for how to accommodate food allergies and create a matrix to analyze your menu.

If you’re looking to up your cooking game, check out J. Kenji López-Alt author of “The Food Lab”. His explanations of the science of cooking are easy to understand and will give you the information that you need to improve your cooking.

Short list this week. I’m working on some new research into 14th century French cookery and had to dedicate my time to that. I’ll be sharing what I learn as soon as I have something interesting to say.

If you find this useful or interesting, please considering donating to my Patreon.

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#foodhistoryfriday

Here is your weekly roundup of Food History links.

Are you a member of the Graduate Association for Food Studies”? It’s the official graduate student caucus of the Association for the Study of Food and Society, but they do not limit their membership to Grad students only. I’ve had the pleasure of watching this grow since 2014 and the information that they have available now is the most complete and interesting yet.

Articles
The family or the farm: A Sophie’s Choice? The late medieval crisis in Flanders, Erik Thoen and Tim Soens. Universiteit Gent.

Voedselconsumptie te Brugge in de Middeleeuwen (1280-1470): Case study van het Sint-Jans hospitaal en het hospitaal van de Potterie, Sigrid Dehaeck, Universiteit Gent.

Food in the Middle Ages: New foods and changing fashions in diet, Iona McCleery, University of Leeds.

Videos
Clarissa and the King’s Cookbook — Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3
The late Clarissa Dickson Wright, of “Two Fat Ladies” fame, delves into the Forme of Cury. I’m probably really showing my age with the “Two Fat Ladies” reference.

Archanth’s YouTube Channel — https://www.youtube.com/user/archanth
Has videos covering many aspects of medieval life, including cooking, farming, and housewares.

Tudor Christmas Cookalong at the Tudor Kitchens at Hampton Court Palace.
It’s Hampton Court Palace. It’s amazing.

Off Topic, but something that someone may find useful:

Not about food history, but the best advice that I’ve received in a long time about getting off of your ass and writing: Is Being A Writer One Of Your Goals This Year? Here’s Some Help.

If what I am sharing is of value to you, please consider becoming a patron of this blog by heading over to my Patreon and toss a couple dollars my way.

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