Cooking Techniques, Cooking Utensils & Smoking Food?

Viking, Saxon, and Early Christian Irish cultures

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Re: Cooking Techniques, Cooking Utensils & Smoking Food?

Postby Dave Mooney on Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:04 am

I'm nearly sure it's in 'Ancient Laws and Institutes of Ireland Volume 4 (1865)' at http://www.archive.org/details/ancientlaws04hancuoft

In the left hand frame is a list of options to view the book. The PDF even has the cover texture.
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Re: Cooking Techniques, Cooking Utensils & Smoking Food?

Postby tri on Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:30 pm

I'm with you on the Tardis point Dave!

On the other hand, the evidence from Chris Lynns excavations at Deer Park Farms in Co. Antrim might be vague evidence for an early medieval Dr. Who...
The text below is taken from Mac Neills article mentioned above and refers to the expected (again idealistically so) contents of the house of a mruigfer or landman. All the items in caps have been recovered from DPF,

"a CAULDRON with its SPITS and SUPPORTS; a VAT in which a boiling of ale may be stirred; a WASHING TROUGH and a bath, TUBS, CANDLESTICKS, KNIVES for cutting rushes, and ADZE, an AUGER, a SAW, a pair of SHEARS, a trestle, an AXE, the tools for every season, every implement thereof unborrowed; a GRINDSTONE, mallets, a BILLHOOK, a hatchet, SPEARS for killing cattle...full ownership of a PLOUGH' (Mac Neill 1923, 291).

Now that'll be the book to buy when it's finally published!

More insights on cooking and general living conditions to be found in:

Fred Allison, Alan Hall and Harry Kenward 1999 'Technical report: Living conditions and resource exploitation at the Early Christian rath at Deer Park Farms, Co. Antrim, N. Ireland: evidence from plants and invertebrates. Part I: text.' Unpublished report from the Environmental Archaeology Unit, York.

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Re: Cooking Techniques, Cooking Utensils & Smoking Food?

Postby Dave Mooney on Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:47 pm

...a VAT in which a boiling of ale may be stirred...


I'm going to assume that's the boiling of the worth to make the ale cause it'll be very safe to drive your chariot at high speed down dark bog tracks if you boil the finished product as there won't be any alcohol left in it. :P
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Re: Cooking Techniques, Cooking Utensils & Smoking Food?

Postby the_power on Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:03 pm

Andrea L Willett wrote: Ireland, if I understand the evidence correctly, was an aceramic society at the time. I haven't seen any published evidence of imports of the size and shape to be used for a Roman-style testa over a 30cm loaf 10cm thick. You do need some sort of oven to do loaves of leavened bread. Could there have been community bakers doing the leaved bread like there were community based water mills, and the un-leavened bread was made at home?


We don't really have the climate to grow high-protein wheats that are suitable for leavened breads; well, it's possible you could, but it would be risky. Basically, you need two weeks of strong sun, the week before you harvest. One good days rain is enough to make the crop unusable (as it will have too high a moisture content to dry in time). Soda breads weren't invented til the mid 1800s, likely because of the price of importing continental grain at the time.

I'd say it is very likely that all bread was unleavened, unless some farmers were willing to risk a crop, on the off-chance that they could make some high-gluten grain for their king as a nice present. Some of the law books do mention the various grades of grain, putting low-protein wheats like emmer and einkorn quite low on the scale.

On the plus side, low-protein wheats make good beer :)

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Re: Cooking Techniques, Cooking Utensils & Smoking Food?

Postby Dave Mooney on Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:13 pm

I think that's why we invented 'Corn Drying Kilns'. Forced drying before the grains went mouldy.
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Re: Cooking Techniques, Cooking Utensils & Smoking Food?

Postby Andrea L Redden on Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:11 pm

tri wrote:The most complete account of cooking (and all other domestic equipment) is to be found in Eoin Mac Neills 1923 translation of the Crith Gablach (Law of status and franchise). It basically (among many, many other things!) lists the expected contents of houses according to the status of those who lived there. As with all legal texts there is a healthy does of idealism - this is how things should be, not how things are - but what's relevant here is the insight it gives into domestic equipment.

The translation is published in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Section C (1923) - can't remember exact reference off the top of my head but if you have any of Fergus Kellys books, it'll be in his bibliography.

Given that you're in Australia I'm sure how easy it'll be to find so if you need a summary of the contents just let me know!
Tríonaa/quote]]/quote]

Hello Triona!

What is touted as Binchey's translation is here http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/celtic/ctexts/crith.html but it isn't very long and doesn't mention the contents of dwellings.

I believe there's a full set of PRIA at the state library in Melbourne but I only get up there once or twice a year. Also, you have to order journals more than 2 years old at least 24 hours before as they're held off site. My husband's been up a few times lately though so I'll see if he can get tto the SLV with enough spare time for some photocopying. I'll let you know if it doesn't work out. Thank-you for the offer. :)

Our clubs annual feast is in a month's time and we have a bit of extra money in the kitty. There's been serious talk of using it to purchase cooking equipment for our displays. It also helps me set an appropriate menu, knowing what they used.

Thanks again,

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Re: Cooking Techniques, Cooking Utensils & Smoking Food?

Postby Andrea L Redden on Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:28 am

tri wrote:On the other hand, the evidence from Chris Lynns excavations at Deer Park Farms in Co. Antrim might be vague evidence for an early medieval Dr. Who...
The text below is taken from Mac Neills article mentioned above and refers to the expected (again idealistically so) contents of the house of a mruigfer or landman. (snip)

Now that'll be the book to buy when it's finally published!
Keep us posted when it comes out.

tri wrote:More insights on cooking and general living conditions to be found in:

Fred Allison, Alan Hall and Harry Kenward 1999 'Technical report: Living conditions and resource exploitation at the Early Christian rath at Deer Park Farms, Co. Antrim, N. Ireland: evidence from plants and invertebrates. Part I: text.' Unpublished report from the Environmental Archaeology Unit, York.

Trí /quote]
I've emailed the EAU about obtaining copies of that and Part 2.

Thanks again,

Andrea
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Re: Cooking Techniques, Cooking Utensils & Smoking Food?

Postby the_power on Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:34 am

Dave Mooney wrote:I think that's why we invented 'Corn Drying Kilns'. Forced drying before the grains went mouldy.


Yeah, but there is only so much they can do; how long you can queue grain before drying depends on the moisture content; and you can't dry it all at once. It's a problem that happens today; there are only so many grain drying locations, so if you get an unusually wet summer, some grain will risk going on fire before it can get to the dryers, as the rest of the grain needs to spend longer in there. If it's wet enough, it'll go up before it's a week old. I'm sure a grain farmer would give you more accurate information.

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Re: Cooking Techniques, Cooking Utensils & Smoking Food?

Postby Andrea L Redden on Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:49 pm

tri wrote:More insights on cooking and general living conditions to be found in:

Fred Allison, Alan Hall and Harry Kenward 1999 'Technical report: Living conditions and resource exploitation at the Early Christian rath at Deer Park Farms, Co. Antrim, N. Ireland: evidence from plants and invertebrates. Part I: text.' Unpublished report from the Environmental Archaeology Unit, York.

Tri

EAU reports now webbed for download at http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/chumpal/EAU-reps/eaureps-web.htm

Thanks again Tri.

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Re: Cooking Techniques, Cooking Utensils & Smoking Food?

Postby Andrea L Redden on Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:43 pm

the_power wrote:We don't really have the climate to grow high-protein wheats that are suitable for leavened breads; well, it's possible you could, but it would be risky. Basically, you need two weeks of strong sun, the week before you harvest. One good days rain is enough to make the crop unusable (as it will have too high a moisture content to dry in time). Soda breads weren't invented til the mid 1800s, likely because of the price of importing continental grain at the time.

I'd say it is very likely that all bread was unleavened, unless some farmers were willing to risk a crop, on the off-chance that they could make some high-gluten grain for their king as a nice present. Some of the law books do mention the various grades of grain, putting low-protein wheats like emmer and einkorn quite low on the scale.

Hello John!

Wheat IS mentioned in the law texts, as is leavened bread. Samples have also been found in the Dublin excavations. I'm not implying it was a common grain or grain product but it's definately usable in a "feast" context. I'm using white wheaten bread for the high table and leavened 'barley bread' (1/3 each barley flour/wholemeal wheat flour/white wheat flour) for everybody else.

James is up in Melbourne today photocopying Crith Gablach at the SLV.

I'm thinking a griddle for cooking flatbreads at displays would be good. Any contemporary descriptions or recent finds anybody knows about to define what THEY meant by 'griddle'? I seem to remember a photo on Dan's clubs website that showed a suspended stone slab being used at their displays.

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