Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Feasting & Fasting launched and the week to come ....

Medieval oven 1370-1400
Medieval oven 1370-1400 (Photo credit: Vrangtante Brun)
The Feast & Fasting walk was launched in glorious sunshine, with a small group of very keen walkers, plus a fellow guide, always a bit daunting!

In theory the subject of the walk is a great idea, but I realised midway last week that I may have bitten off more than I could chew (excuse the pun, they may be a few more)! It's a huge subject and each item on  the 'shopping' list of subjects could become a walk of its own, sugar certainly, and milk, and the story of  bread and so on. Then to weave the story through the timeline to make sense to the listener; plus the vocabulary as it changed through time proved to be very intereseting too, as did the origins of sayings, like 'a baker's dozen'. Good grounds for discussion and kept everyone as keen as mustard.

Also describing the Humoural dietic theories in such a way that people would understand what I was going on about, and the importance to the culinary art of the period.  In the end I surcumbed to reading some of the examples from a card, as I fell at the first 'degree', nevermind the 'second and third'! Here is an example:

VI. Cabbage (Caules Onati)
Nature: Warm in the first degree, dry in the second.
Optimum: The fresh and fleshy ones.
Usefulness: They remove obstructions.
Dangers: They are bad for the intestines.
Neutralization of the Dangers: With much oil.

There are huge books dictating what was good or bad for your health from the kitchen, some of these old ideas are still with us today, passed down through generations, never quite knowing the reasons behind for it.

View the entire Tacuinum Sanitatis here http://www.godecookery.com/tacuin/tacuin.htm   Warning: you can spend a lot of time looking through these beautiful medieval drawings.

The walk was long and it needs cropping, but we all enjoyed ourselves and the use of 'quote card' (against my own City of London Guide principles) was a great help to conjour up the details of feasts, quantities and statistics which I would never have remembered in 2000 years!

We were certainly hungry by the end of the walk and repaired to a local hostelry for roast beef and ale to discuss the merits of the walk and many other things.

Like a good stew, wine or ale, this walk can only get better with slow cooking, fermenting and gentle brewing - the ingredients are right, just needs cooking a tad longer.

The next walk take place on the 27th July, booking now http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/7223763471/?ref=ebapi

Now for a change of scenery, this Sunday I will be take you for a walk to, through, around and by the beautiful gardens and green spots of the City of London. A botanical feast for the eye this time. 

Christchurch Greyfriars

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