I've decided to put my latest "project' up over here. I'm going to try a modified Renaissance Lenten diet. Being Catholic, I always celebrate Lent. Today, being Ash Wednesday, even in modern practice, is a day of fasting. You can read about the modern Lenten practices here if you are curious. Practices in the 16th C -the time period I typically depict in the SCA- were far more strict. There is a lady that has already tried to recreate the Lenten season of the middle ages and I've already learned a lot from her pages. It was reading her website a while ago that made me think that it might be an interesting idea to try - that and given my food allergies, these seemed like a "fun" way to celebrate lent. I'd be able to give up stuff and learn about one of my favorite time periods at the same time! Woohoo!
Some deviation from the true Renaissance diet is necessary - like I'm not fasting on Saturday, just Wednesday and Friday. The reason for this is two fold - I know what I can handle and like I can give up eating on Saint Patrick's Day? (It happens to fall on a Saturday this year. :-) ) Although I'm giving up a LOT of modern food, I'm not giving up my Orange juice. Yes, they had oranges and I'm sure they had fresh squeezed oranges at some point in the 16th C in the morning but I doubt they consumed the quantities I consume. Actually, a lot of the fish recipes I'm looking at call for oranges to be cooked with the fish. Hmm...
Anyway, I'm going to try the no eggs/no butter thing. It won't be possible if I go out to eat to avoid that but I should be able to at home. Since most of the time, I'll be eating out only on Sundays, it won't be an issue anyway - Sunday is a "mini Easter" as Sister Mary Ann says. :-)
Some of the links I've been using:
Oh my goodness. I am sort of shocked I haven't found this beauty before. It's filled with transcribed recipes from the 15th Century in England. There are some good recipes in it for Lent (Fish days according to the cookbook :-) ) that sounds really good. I mean, peas boiled in honey with some sort of fatty fish (they say whale meat but I don't think I'll find that). Sounds very interesting!
A list of a whole bunch of recipes from various centuries and places. Some are translated, some aren't.
Not a recipe site but very interesting to read. It's exactly what the website states - a time line of when certain foods were introduced. I also have a few cookbooks at home that contain 16th c recipes that I'll be using.
So, for today, what I've eaten:
Breakfast was a glass of orange juice. :-)
At lunch, I had tea. Tea was known in the 16th C but not common until the early 17th C. This is one of those mini deviations I'm doing. They knew what tea (or chai) was so I'm not too far off the reservation on this one. I also ate toasted almonds. Since today is a day of fasting, that was it. Almonds were a staple in the 16th C diet. They are in anything for the lenten season and a lot that aren't.
For dinner (the priest decided that 7pm mass shouldn't be let out until 8:20! I was STARVING. ) the "starter" was Sourdough bread. From what I've read, it seems that sourdough was a popular choice. It doesn't have milk or eggs and is delicious. It's actually my favorite bread so I'm quite happy.
In one of the many links I've been looking over, bread was dipped in an oil with herbs on fasting days. My guess is this is similar to what I've been eating since I was small - olive oil with oregano, onion salt, thyme, and basil. So, that's what I had.
For the main meal, I had rice cooked in almond milk. It's the store bought almond milk and not something I made myself. I don't have a grinder to grind up my own almonds and make the milk. The modern almond milk is probably different but it should work. To the rice, I added nutmeg, cinnamon, raisins, and carrots. It's delicious. I did have to add a bit of sugar to it for my tastes (the almond milk was sweetened but not enough).
I'm also drinking tea with dinner. :-)
If anyone has any good links for medieval or Renaissance lenten observations, feel free to post them!