Category Archives: General

General updates, comments and information on the Feasting team.

Bread, Eggs and Milk

8410390-bread-milk-and-eggsWas looking up some ways that cooks in the Lowlands (12th Century Western Europe) would of used up old bread from the days before. Nothing went to waste in that society and with no real refrigeration and limited resources for ingredients, it made sense to use up as much as possible.

As I skimmed around this book (Libellus de arte coquinaria: An Early Northern Cookery Book ed. by Rudolf Grewe, Constance B. Hieatt), I came across two recipes with the same more or less basic ingredients — bread, milk, and eggs — but handled differently.

Recipe XVI [D13] (Page 63)
How to prepare a dish called “White Mush”

One should take fresh milk, an well crushed wheat bread, and a beaten egg and well ground saffron, and let it cook until it becomes thick. Then, place on a dish and add butter, and sprinkle on powdered cinnamon. It is called “white mush.”

The second dish, I originally thought was a cooked dish, but as I really looked at it, I can’t assume it was and think more that this is a drink. With all the health concerns of raw eggs nowadays, I can’t imagine recreating this at all (or it being like the title “sweet”). However, I wanted to include this since it seemed really interesting to see the “take break, milk and eggs” combination.

Recipe XVII [D14] (Page 63)
About a dish call Kalus: Sweet Milk

One should take fresh milk, and cut into it the crust of wheat bread, cut into a small dice. Afterwards place this in a pan and well beaten egg yokes. This is called “Kalus.”

Differences off the bat, one is cooked, the other is raw. The first crushes the bread and the other is a dice. One seems to be a sort of pain perdu riff, cooked and more soft.

My mind started wandering and I thought perhaps “white mush” is a precursor to the “Pudding in a Frying-panne” that is mentioned in John Murrell: A new booke of Cookerie; London Cookerie. London 1615. Or maybe it was some sort of influence? Probably not, but it makes sense to create recipes from basic food stuffs that were mostly found in homesteads and farms, created from common livestock like cows and chickens.

To make a Pudding in a Frying-panne.
Take foure Egges, two spoonefuls of Rosewater, Nutmeg grated, Sugar, grated Bread, the quantitie of a penny Loafe, halfe a pound of Beefe Suit minst fine: worke them as stiffe as a Pudding with your hand, and put it in a Frying-pan with sweet Butter, frye it browne, cut it in quarters, and serue it hot, eyther at Dinner or Supper. Jf it be on a fasting day leaue out the Suit, and the Currens, and put in two or three Pomewaters minst small, or any other soft Apple
that hath a good relish. [Recipe taken from]

The Kalus, seems to be more of a drink,and less of a dish (side or main) really. Though the handling of the bread into cubes, also reminds me of another recipe from A New Booke of Cookerie, however, this one again is more of a dish that is cooked and less liquid (plus sugar, fruits and other sweet goodness).

To make an Italian Pudding.
Take a Penny white Loafe, pare off the crust, and cut it in square pieces like vnto great Dyes, mince a pound of Beefe Suit small: take halfe a pound of Razins of the Sunne, stone them and mingle them together, and season them with Sugar, Rosewater, and Nutmegge, wet these things in foure Egges, and stirre them very
tenderly for breaking the Bread: then put it into a Dish, and pricke three or foure pieces of Marrow, and some sliced Dates: put it into an Ouen hot enough for a Chewet: if your Ouen be too hot, it will burne: if too colde, it will be heauy: when it is bakte scrape on Sugar, and serue it hot at dinner, but not at Supper.

Many other plays on the three staples out there. How many can you find?

Hannah Glasse and her 310th birthday via Google Doodle

Google Doodle today features a prominent culinary figure in the 18th century, attributed to writing the first modern cookbook in English.


Hannah Glasse was the author of “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy,” which was published in 1747. In comparison to the other cookbooks previously published over the years, this version was written in easily understood English, far closer to modern English. This made this book highly used and sought after within Great Britain and further.

There are 972 recipes that cover all sorts of standard home cooking fare. Baking, roasting, frying, boiling and everything in between is discussed using locally sourced ingredients (and nothing truly shocking or wild like in much earlier cookbooks for Royalty for Tudor kitchens, and the like). It was made for the home, for servants to use (or to those so inclined that weren’t servants). On top of the recipes for meals, recipes for medicines and housekeeping tips were also included. It seems like a precursor to a Mrs. Beeton that came a century later.

This book was so popular, that it had been reprinted several more times after its first publication. 20 editions in the 18th century were printed and continued to be published until 1843. Many classic English comfort foods are discussed and much of what we understand as traditional English cuisine are in this book.

This cookbook is used fairly extensively for early American cuisine and 18th century food history. It is still available in print currently, but free copies of the book are available throughout the web. Here is one showing the original text that you can download here. You can also pick up her book on Amazon.

Take a Culinary Adventure

 photo roller-coaster_zpszplz0yxp.jpg

Many of my friends have food preferences, which is fine. Some people have some major allergies to different types of foods. I totally understand. Those with medical issues please don’t feel bad in not being able to cook these items for you to eat. It’s ok. Those of you that have just never found an eggplant that you’ve liked, I task you to at least try.

Cooking is one of those things that you can control the outcome with very little effort. I can’t tell you how many people have come to me and told me they hated X thing (be that a vegetable, meat or otherwise) and when they ate the item by me, they realized they hated it because of how it was cooked in the past, but they enjoyed what I did.

I don’t say this to pat myself on the back (well…not exactly) but to say that if you hated something from childhood and you’re an adult now, to actually try a new completely different preparation recipe for said past horrible food item. Example, you hated boiled vegetables when you were 7, so how about trying to roast them instead? Yes, there is a BIG difference in flavor and texture, so much so that it may change your opinion of vegetables.

This rule covers all type of food stuff, because from preparation to preparation, there are subtle flavor and texture differences that can change the way you perceive and enjoy food stuff. While you may hate things that are boiled, you may adore them sautéed, roasted or au gratin. Changing out the type of oil you use to fry, brown or sauté foods can go a long way in flavor profiles. When I was first learning to cook, I was using a lot of canola oils, blends, and cheaper oils because a) I didn’t know any better and b) they were what I could afford. Using vegetable oils, butter, animal fats, and a combination blending all those, can make a huge flavor difference. Examples of some of the more flavorful cooking “oil/fats” would be duck fat, bacon fat, coconut oil (especially nice when cooking for vegetarians and vegans), olive oil, and an old favorite, peanut oil. Of course, you should use what is easiest for you to get a hold of at your local markets. Just keep your eyes open for things that you might not ever tried, but might take your cooking, and food enjoyment, to the next level.

DO drink the Water: Water Consumption in Medieval Europe

Food Fallacies: Medieval people drinking Ale or Wine only because the water available was not safe.

When dealing with Medieval food and food history, there are numerous fallacies out there on a variety of topics. One of the more annoying ones is the quality of safe water that was available to drink in Medieval times. I believe this idea, the thought that all water was terrible to consume, goes back further that just Medieval Europe, but this is something I am not sure about. But what is a fact is that while, I’m sure there were unsafe and stagnant waters within pre-17th century culture, that not “ALL” water was poisonous, and as such, people did, in fact, drink out of fresh streams, fresh water rivers and natural springs.

There are a number of online sources for this myth buster, but the best one I found was this link which is a book search result from Water: A Spiritual History by Ian Bradley. While the chapter mostly discusses holy wells, several pieces of his commentary go over the consumption of water in medieval times. Page 73 states: “In fact, the majority of water sources were probably seen in purely utilitarian terms, as providers of water for drinking and washing and not regarded as especially sacred.”

There are earlier examples of water being drunk as well. This goes to an article about Greek and Roman ideas about water.

There are some very good blog posts from Beer brewers and other food historians on the subject of water purity and the Ale and Wine myth. This one from Jim Chevallier has a lot of great examples of drink water references.

Myth spreading is bad. Don’t be part of the water myth! Drink up!

The Edible Monument

Not sure if you out there in cyberspace have seen Ivan May’s great blog or his recent post on “Joke Food” or not. If so, I would strongly suggest giving it a look if you are into illusion foods and learning about some fun things to make with sugar paste, marzipan and the like.

Also, there is a great resource for illusion foods and displays at the Getty called The Edible Monument. Check that one out if you love historical festival research, sugar sculpture info, cookbooks and table setting info… just a lot of great cooking stuff.

Both links have been added to my links sections for reference.


Christmas pie for diabetics

Little Jack Horner sat in the corner
Eating his Christmas pie,
He put in his thumb and pulled out a cranberry
And said “What a good boy am I!”

Wanting to try other pies for my family and use splenda because my hubby is diabetic, I give you my latest work, the Cranberry Buttermilk Pie. I was going to make Chess pie, but with most recipes, corn syrup was called for and that is a no-no for diabetics. However, I didn’t want to make just a plain buttermilk pie, so I decided to add something very much associated with Christmas, the cranberry. The tartness of the cranberries blends well with the sweetness of the buttermilk filling.

My recipe:

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup Splenda [if you wish to use regular sugar, use 1 1/3 cups sugar]
3 eggs, separated
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of salt

If you wish just to make a plain buttermilk pie, stop here and use 1 9 inch pie shell.

If you with to make the Cranberry pie, use two 12 oz bags of fresh cranberries and two 9 inch pie shells.

Cream the butter and sugar; add the egg yolks, beating after each addition. Beat in flour and buttermilk; add the lemon juice, lemon peel, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Beat egg whites until stiff; fold into the filling.

For the cranberry pie, place one bag of cranberries into each pie crust. Pour half the filling into each pie shell, gently folding the filling around the cranberries; bake in center of a preheated 325º over, until the custard is set and slightly brown, about 1 hour.

Welcome to Feast of the Centuries!

And we are just putting this super food blog together as I type this, so excuse the “dust” (which could be powdered sugar knowing us).  For those of you who don’t know us, we three (well, three so far, there might be others in the future) are foodies on a Historical Mission to share food goodness whereever possible.  Whether that is in the form of recipes, interesting facts, historical tidbits, interviews, reviews, how-to’s or what-have-yous… we will be there serving up the information and the good flavors.

The official introductions should be up on the main page in a few days (knock on wood) and more links will be added that I have, but we will always be open to hearing what our readers have to say.  If you have any interesting links, redactions to any period recipes, reviews of books related to cooking, or anything that would fit into the food ideal we are trying to relate to, please contact us privately!  Always appreciate that sort of thing.

More later!  Thank you for your peeks and interest.


Chief troublemaker and headcheese smeller