Friday, November 30, 2012

Secrets of Fish Cooking.

Today I want to give you a final (for the time being) sample of ideas from the pages of our source for the week - Eighteen Books Of the Secrets Of Art & Nature, Being the Summe and Substance of Naturall Philosophy, Methodically Digested … (1661) by John Wecker.  Never fear, I will be getting back to this fascinating book again in the future – there is much, much more fun still to be had with it.

If it was meat yesterday, then surely it must be fish today? 

To fry Fish upon a Paper.
And for that cause the invention was found out how to fry Fish upon a Paper, as well as with a Frying-Pan. Take a single Paper, and raising up the sides like to a Lamp, pour in Oyl, and before it soke through, set it upon the clear coles without any flame, for the Oyl will not pass through, avoiding she fire, nor will the Paper burn, because it cannot dry, the Oyl preserving it. But fire cannot be without extream dryness, nor can flame or motion so attenuate as to make it burn, but it will grow hot by degrees putting under fresh Coles, and so it will boyl, which is very strange, for the Fishes will be well fryed in it.

You may take all the bones out of some Fish called Piones.
If you take out his guts and wash him, and let him stand twenty four houres in sharp Vinegar, and stuff him with Spices, you may boyl or rost him, and his bones will not hinder you to eat him.

Excellent seasoning of Fish.
You shall excellent well preserve Fish thus: Fry them meanly with Oyl, but not perfectly, then strew Salt upon them, that they may not be salt or fresh, and laying Bay leaves and Myrtle leaves between, when they are a little dryed, lay them up in a Pannier.

For those of you who do not eat flesh of any kind, there is little in the book on vegetables. I give you the single find, so far, in the expectation that this is about all there is.

That Coleworts [Cabbages] may not boyl
Paxamus, one of the Greek Husbandmen seems to have written well, that if one pour in a little Wine into boyling Coleworts, they will boyl no more, but, losing its force, it will change colour and dye.


Elise said...

Hi Janet,
What kind of paper did they use in 1601? I'm guessing it was some sort of rag linen? Which soaked in oil might be like a pretty sturdy parchment paper?

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Elise. It is rarely specified, but when it is, ofter it is writing paper that is mentioned - so good quality parchment paper would work, I think.