I am home after a wonderful time at the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. As always, the food was fantastic and in theme, thanks to the organisers, who are all unpaid volunteers. I don’t know if they know it, but there is a name for the role which they played. I only recently discovered it - the word is ‘manciple’. Perhaps you are wiser and already know it, but if not, the Oxford English Dictionary gives this definition:
“An officer or servant who purchases provisions for a college, Inn of Court, monastery, etc.; (more generally) a person responsible for the supply of provisions, etc., for a group of people.”
The word is apparently derived from the Latin mancipium , referring to a bondservant or slave, which I guess makes the title particularly appropriate for the unpaid, hardworking Symposium volunteers. I would also like to thank those who performed the role of anaettas at the weekend – although I don’t know who they were!
I would give the Oxford Symposium Manciples this pudding, if I could:
A very rich Pudding of prime ripe Fruit.
This is made sometimes by pressing the fruit through a sieve, if apricots, greengages or peaches; sweet juicy apples, or rich mellow pears, may be grated; or the fruit may be scalded a few minutes in white wine; then the skins and stones removed, and beaten in a mortar. When cold mix with rich custard, cream, eggs, and bread crumbs, or Naples biscuit, with loaf-sugar to taste; the kernels blanched, and a glass of brandy or Madeira wine. Then bake in a dish edged with puff paste, and call it according to the fruit employed - apricot pudding, peach pudding, and so forth. If the cook is ordered to make such a pudding, it is fit she should know how to do it; but it is a great pity to spoil good things by such incongruous mixtures; the batter alone would make a much better pudding; and the fruit and wine might be saved for dessert. For these rich delicate puddings, the tinctures are preferable to the spice in substance.
The Complete Cook; J.M. Sanderson (1846)
Clarity and focus seem not to have been Sanderson's strong points.
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