Friday, June 14, 2013

A “Barbarian” Dinner, Part 2.

Here, as promised, the remainder of the description of the “Barbarian Dinner” which appeared in The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London in 1722.

Their Drink is Plain Water or Milk, and sometimes Rob of Wine mix'd with Water. I was once Treated with this by the Bashaw of Suse, Abdomeleck ben Alchotib, and there was brought to me a great Bowl which held above 3 Quarts; he told me, there was not above half a Pint of this Rob in it and the rest was fill'd with Water. It was very Generous and Pleasant, and tho' I did not Drink a Quarter of it, yet I sound the Strength in half an Hour. This they say is a Remedy against Cold likewise, and pretend to take it Medicinally, tho' Rob of Grapes is Lawful, according to Their Law. Under this Pretext, many Fessee Merchants, to make make Rob or Vinegar, Press all the Grapes in their Vineyards, put it up in great Jars Under-Ground, and keep it long; so that it proves Excellent Wine. When 4 or 5 Merry Companions, with every one his Mistress, appoint to be Merry, they go out to their Vineyard or Garden, have Musick, and all or most of those Dishes, and there sit and Carouse over a great Earthen Bowl full of Wine, of about 4 or 5 Gallons, and so Drink round in a Cup that will hold almost a Pit, like a large Tea-Dish, till there is none left; it often happens that they do not part till they have made an end to the whole jar, which seldom is less than a Week’s Time; I have known some that have been 9 Days successively Drunk. Those that are known to Drink Wine, or Piss Standing, their Testimony will not be Valid in Law. In a Morning during this Time of Merriment, they are for some Savoury Bit, Pickled fish, or Escaveche, or Elcholle. They are great Lovers of Fish, and have as great Variety, and very God, which they Fry in Origan Oyl, Stew, Roast, and Bake, with a good store of Spiec, Onions, Garlick, Cummin, parsley, and Coriander. The Escaveche, or Fry’d Fish, is cut in thin Slices, and put into Vinegar, with the aforesaid Spices, adding Saffron and Pepper, &c. It will keep above a Month, and this they have commonly, as also Pickled Limes, Olives, Capers, &c.  They eat Parch’d Garavances, Parched Almonds, and Beans, which they Parch in a Pan with Water and Salt, These, and other things, they have to relish their Glass of Wine, or give them a Fresh Appetite to Drink.
The Hedge-Hog is a Princely Dish amongst them; and before they Kill him, Rub his Back against the Ground, by holding his Feet betwixt two, as Men do a Saw that Saws Stones, till it has done Squeaking; then they Cut its Throat, and with a Knife cut off all its Spines and Singe it. They take out its Guts, stuff the Body with some Rice, Sweet Herbs, Garavancas, Spice and Onions, they put some Butter and Garavancas into the Water they Stew it in, and let it Stew in a little Pot, close stopped, till it be Enough, and it proves an excellent Dish. The Moors do not care to Kill Lamb, Veal, nor Kid, saying it's a Pity to part the Suckling from its Dam.
They Eat with their Boil'd Meat, many times, Carots, Turnips of two or three sorts, Cabbage, Beans and Pease, &c. of which they have Plenty, and very Good. I have Eat of Porcupine Stew'd, which much resembled Camels Flesh in Taste, and that is the nearest to Beef of any thing i know.
I come now to give an Account of the Alchollea: It is made of Beef, Mutton, or Camel’s Flesh,  but chiefly Beef, which they cut all in long Slices, Salt it well, and let it lie 24 Hours in the Pickle. Then they remove it out of those Tubs, or Jars, into others with Water, and when it has lain a Night, they take it out, and put it on Ropes in the Sun and Air to Dry when it is thoroughly Dry'd and Hard, they Cut it into pieces of 2 or 3 Inches long, and throw it into a Pan, or Cauldron, which is ready, with Boiling Oyl and Suet, sufficient to hold it, where it Boils till it be very Clear and Red, if one Cuts it; which taken out, they set to Drain: When all is thus done, it stands till Cool, and Jars are prepar'd to Put it up in, pouring the Liquor they Fry'd it in upon it, as soon as it is thoroughly Cold they stop it up Close. It will keep Two Years, it will be Hard, and the Hardest they look on to be Best done. This they Dish up Cold; sometimes Fryed with Eggs and Garlick; sometimes Stew'd, and Limons squeez'd on it. It is very good any way, either Hot or Cold.
Before I conclude, I willingly give an Account of their Travelling-Provisionviz. Bread, Almonds, Raisins, Figs, Hard Eggs, Cold Fowl, &c. But what is most used by Travellers, is Zumeet, Tumeet, or Flower of Parch'd Barley for Limereece. These are not Arabian but Shilha Names, so I believe it is of a longer standing than the Mahometans in that part of Africk. They are all Three made of Parch'd Barley-Flower, which they carry in a Leather Satchel. Zumeet is the Flower mix'd with Honey, Butter aud Spice; Tumeet is the same Flower done up with Origan Oyl; and Limereece is only mixt with Water, and so Drunk. This Quenches Thirst much better than Water alone, Satisfies a Hungry Appetite, Cools and Refreshes Tir’d and Weary'd Spirits, overcoming those Ill Effects a Hot Sun and Fatiguing Journey might Occasion. This amongst the Mountaineers of Suse is used for their Diet as well at Home as on their Journey.
All things taken in Game, as Hawking, Hunting, and Fowling, are Lawfull for them to Eat, if they take it before it be Dead, so that they can have time to Cut its Throat, and fay, Bismillahe, or, if he is known to be an Expert Man at the Game, and fays these Words before he lets the Hawk take its Flight, let's Slip the Grey-Hound, or Fires his Gun, it is Lawful; all (I say but Swine's Flesh, and what Dies of itself) they have Liberty to Eat, and may Sell it. They tell us, there is but one part about the Hog or Swine that is Unlawful, which they do not Know, and are oblig'd to Abstain from the whole : but if they Knew it, they would let us have but little to our Share. They Eat Snails Boil'd with Salt, and Praise their Wholsomness.  Fish of all sorts are Lawful. In Tassilet and Dra most of their Food is Dates; there are Ten or a Dozen sorts.
They have good Capons all the Country over; no Turkeys, Ducks, nor Geese, but Wild, and those they have of two sorts: Ducks, Teil and Mallard, Corlews, Plovers, Snipes, Oxbirds, Pipers, a sort of Black Crow with a Bald Pate, and long Crooked Bill, is good Meat; and a hundred other fort of Fowl. I have Eat Antelope, which we have Kill'd in Hunting, and are very Good Food. They are as Large as a Goat, of a Chestnut Colour and White under the Belly; Their Horns are almost quite Straight from their Head up, Tapering gradually, with Rings at a distance from one another, till within an Inch and a half of the Top; Fine Large Black Eyes, Long and Slender Neck, Feet, Legs and Body, fhap'd somewhat like a Deer; they have two Cavities between their Legs, I think the Male well as the Female. There are many in a Herd, when at the same time they have Scouts, or those, who by Running give them notice of an Approaching Foe. When two lie down together, they lay themselves so, that their Backs are towards each other, and the Head of one towards the Tail of the other, that they may see every way. Their Dung is Sweet and Pleasant enough. They are taken sometimes by the Hawk, sometimes by the Shot; for they are too Swift for a Greyhound.
Partridges in Sus commonly Roost on Trees, there are so many Foxes which would otherwise destroy them.
The Moors will Eat Fox, if it be Far, either Stewed or Roasted, but they do not Care for it Lean, which has occasioned a Proverb amongst them on that Account, to it, Hellel deeb, Harom deeb; alluding to the Scruple might be made of its Lawfulness. Those Words signify, a Fox is Lawful, and a Fox is Unlawful; i.e. Fat, Lawful; Lean, Unlawful.
Fruits and Sweet-Meats they have of many kinds, as of 3 or 4 sorts of Pumpkins, Macaroons, Almonds, prepar'd many ways, Raisins, Dates, Figs Dry and Green, excellent Melons of 2 or 3 sorts, and Water-MelonsPomgranates of several kinds, Apples, Pears, Apricocks, Peaches, Mulberries, White and Black, Plumbs and Damascus Cherries, Grapes of many kinds and very Good, I have known Grapes in Messia (Lat. 30o or thereabouts) as big as a Pigeon’s Egg, (but they do not Make Wine;) and if they would assist Nature, they might have everything in Perfection.
Their Salating is Lettuce, Endive, Carduus, Parsley, Apium, and other Sweet-HerbsOnions, Cucumbers of several kinds, some about a Tard in Length, and 2 or 3 Inches Thick, and Hairy, (this is esteem'd the Wholsomest,) Radishes, Fumatas, or Apples of Love, all which they Cut, and put Oyl, Vinegar, and Salt, withs some Red-Pepper: This Salate they Eat with Bread.
They have a Fruit call'd Baraneen, in Spain Baragenas; these they Stew with their Victuals, and sometimes Cut them in thin Slices, and Fry them; it makes a pretty Dish. 
When the Moors have Feasted, every one Washes his Hands and Mouth, Thanks God, and Blesses the Hosts and Entertainers from whom they had it; they Talk a Little and Tell some Story, and then lie down to Rest.


Cathy W said...

Once I figured out that in these circumstances "Barbarian" meant "Berber" and not "uncivilized"... the tone of the two travelogues is so different! This writer almost sounds like an anthropologist; the traveler to Japan came off as a log more judgmental about his hosts' culture.

korenni said...

What are baragenas? Anybody know?