Monday, October 08, 2012

The Kitchen Armory.

I want to have a little fun today (and maybe a couple more days) with a rather unusual source for kitchen lore – a sixteenth century book on armory and heraldry.

To be fair, the book covers a little more than just armory and heraldry, as the gloriously full title indicates:

The academy of armory, or, A storehouse of armory and blazon containing the several variety of created beings, and how born in coats of arms, both foreign and domestick: with the instruments used in all trades and sciences, together with their terms of art : also the etymologies, definitions, and historical observations on the same, explicated and explained according to our modern language : very usefel [sic] for all gentlemen, scholars, divines, and all such as desire any knowledge in arts and sciences, (1588)  by Randle Holme.

Now, Mr. Randle has quite a bit to say on cooks, the kitchen, its equipment, its technical terms, and its products. Firstly, I give you his general opinion of the art and mystery of cookery and its practitioners:

Cookery is an extraordinary, and an ordinary art; the first exemplisheth in Dishes of such high Prices which none but Noble Hospitalities can reach unto, and those only Illustrate by new Terms of Art, more than any substantial sollid Dish-meats, which in truth for all their costliness are meer Kick-shews, rather to please the Pallet with a delicate Hoo-goo, then wholesome feeding. Whereas, the second may with less labour be better managed for the general good, and Treatments of meaner expenses, given to Friends, Allies, and acquaintances; having handsome and relishing entertainment throughout all the Seasons in the Year. For I have found by Experience that some Country Cooks have out-gone, with mixtures easily prepared, and not too chargeable to the Purse, those who have with cost made Hogg-podg, Dish-meats, neither pleasing to the Pallet, or credit to the Masters: But this is none of my bisiness.
I have generally noted in great Feasts, Cooks have sent up their Dish-meats to the Table ad libitum, according to their own will; some first Boiled Meats, then Baked Meats. Then Roast Meats all together &c., Other Cooks (but Gentlemen Sewers rather, whose office it is to place Dishes on the Table) will send them, one Boiled, another Baked, another Roasted &c. Alternatley Dish for Dish till the Table be furnished: and for that end I have abovesaid gatherered a Feast of twelve, fourteen, sixteen, and twenty Dishes for a considerable Feast for all times in the Year, noting several Dish-meats ender on and the same figure, in the first and second Course, intimating therefore that if the Season of the Year will not afford one kind, it is probable it may another, except in cases of scarcity, or places of great distance.
But let Cooks study new Dish-meats, and work out their Brains when they have done all they can, there is but four sorts of Meat which they can properly, and with safety, work upon, viz. Flesh of Beasts, Flesh of Fowle, Flesh of Fish, and Field Fruits; and these again are according to their kinds, either Stewed, Boiled, parboiled, Fryed, Broiled, Roasts, Baked, Hashed, Pickled, Souced, or made into Sweet-Meats. Nil Ultra.

Now, the book does not contain ‘recipes’ as such, but some of the ‘explications’ in the section on terms used in the art are close enough to be so called, and they will stand in as such for today. I have selected my favourite definitions, and think it will be fun for us to see how they relate to terms used nowadays.

A la Doode, is a French way of ordering any large Fowl, or Leg of Mutton, to be eaten cold with Mustard and Sugar: the thing is seasoned with Salt and Spice, Larded and Baked and kept cold.

Brodo Lardero, is an Italian term, and is the ordering of Tongues, Noses, Lips and Pallate of Beefs, by boiling and blanching them whole, by halfs or Gobbins: and served up in strong broth with Bacon interlarded.

Carbolion, is a liquor of Wine Water and Salt to boil Fish in. [This is clearly a ‘court bouillon’, is it not?]

Jemelloes, is a Paste made like Butter, of fine Sugar, Yolks of Eggs, Musk, Carraway seeds searsed [sifted], gum Dragon steeped in Rosewater and Flour run through a Butter squirt, and made into what fashion you please.

Parmisan, or Parmisant, Old Cheese, 7, 8, or 9 years of Age.

Pine-Molet, is a Manchet of French Bread, with a hole cut in the top, and all the crum taken out, and filled with a composition of rost or boiled Capons minced and stamped to a Paste, with sweet Herbs, Eggs and Spices &c, and so boiled in a cloth; and serve it in strong Broth, with several sorts of Fowls about it.

Salmagundi, an Italian dish-meat made of cold Turkey and other Ingredients.

And, my absolute favourite:

Wivos me quidos, is the Spanish way of dressing Eggs, which is to set them over the Fire with Sack [sherry], Sugar, Nutmeg, Salt, and juice of Lemon, and let them heat till they be thick.


Les said...

Funny. I've never heard of hoo-goos but now I have a new word for any iffy yet fancy sort of thing. I grew up in Texas and we fitted our own beef but I don't recall cow lips being one of the available cuts. I didn't even know cows had lips.

The wivos me quidos sounds quite good.

Sara L. Uckelman said...

I want a butter squirt.

Ferdzy said...

Hoo-goos, I assume, come from the French "haut gout", or high flavour. Wivos are huevos, but I can't decipher me quidos (metidos?)That would be "eggs put in". Maybe...

The Old Foodie said...

Thanks, Ferdzy! I am sure you are right! It sounds so obvious now you have said it. Good to have an explanation of the word, isnt it, Les?
And hello Sara/Aryanhwy: I want one too. I must look up some images.
I am still puzzling over the 'me quidos' too - hoping a Spanish-speaker will weigh into the debate.

The Old Foodie said...

I am going to find a whole lot more recipes for cow lips, just for you, Les, my loyal reader!

Judy said...

LOL! Cow lips in today's meat-packing plant lingo, in the USA, is the exterior reproductive region of a cow, to my understanding; and are used in products like hot dogs.

The Old Foodie said...

LOL Judy! I think you just put a lot of folk off hot dogs!

Elise Fleming/Alys K. said...

Could "Wivos me quidos" be "huevos batidos"? Eggs that are beaten? Given the ingredients, I would think that they would be beaten together and cooked that way.

The Old Foodie said...

Good theory Alys, it does sound very possible. No more theories have come in, so yours wins so far. When I get time, I will look for other 'Spanish' egg recipes in 16th C cookbooks.

Les said...

Unfortunately, I think Judy is correct on the cow lips except that it is mentioned along with eating the roof of the cows mouth. Maybe this is a gelatin rich dish?

The Old Foodie said...

I thin, for all our sakes, I need to do a bit more research on the meaning (or meanings) of 'cows lips'. I assumed it was the face/palate area, but in the light of Judy's comments, now I am not so sure!