Sunday, December 28, 2014

Historical Food Fortnightly:15. Sacred or Profane

The Challenge: 
In this challenge, be as divine or as devious as you like! It could be a food with connections to a religion, a dish served for sacred celebrations, or a concoction with a not-so-polite name. Whatever your choice, show us how naughty and/or nice you can be!

The Recipe: (where did you find it, link to it if possible)
This is one I've done before

The Date/Year and Region:
15th Century, Italian

How Did You Make It: (a brief synopsis of the process of creation)
This time, I used 1 cup flour, 1 cup vanilla almond milk, 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch of saffron for the batter.  I dumped some cheap olive oil in a pan and fried up apple slices - cut the horizontal, not vertical.  I then sprinkled them with powdered sugar.

Time to Complete:
Maybe 1/2 hour?

Total Cost:
It was all stuff I had on hand.  The apples were one I froze a couple of months ago.

How Successful Was It?: (How did it taste? How did it look? Did it turn out like you thought it would?)  There is a reason I keep doing this recipe again and again...:-)  It is absolutely delicious.

How Accurate Is It?: (fess up to your modifications and make-dos here)

The original recipe calls for currants - but I'm not sure if I can eat those or not due to allergies.  Since the currants are supposed to make the batter sweet, I added sugar (still period) to it instead.  I also added cinnamon because I love cinnamon and what is better than cinnamon and apples?  The Almond milk is store bought and had vanilla.

As for the scared/profane, this recipe is called Apple Fritters for Lent.  Lent is about 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday where Catholics are called on to give up certain things.  In the medieval and renaissance church, you couldn't eat any animal products except fish.  There were certain fasting days (Wednesday and Friday with sometimes Saturday) where you could only have one full meal a day.  

There were a lot of reasons for this.  Basically, it was to give people a religious reason to conserve the food they had. You couldn't run out to the grocery store and expect imported foods to be there and be fresh.  You also needed to give the animals a rest and let them recoup their numbers a bit while allowing the mama animals to be able to nurse their newborn babes.  Remember, this is spring so all the lambs, cows, and a lot of other animals would be being born during this time.  (Not that animals aren't born all the time, just that it tends to be more common in the spring)  This way, the milk went to the baby animals and not towards butter, cheese, and other common food.  

Because we can run out to the grocery store now, we no longer are required to give up animal products during Lent.  Rather, you are expected to not eat meat on Fridays and do something that will help you to increase your faith in God - typically it's giving up something like chocolate which I never do since Hot Chocolate was okayed as a Lenten drink in the very early 17th Century.  :-)

As you can see, the idea of giving up sweets really wasn't part of the medieval mindset - the idea of desert really didn't even exist as we know it.   Rather, you ate what you had.  If you had sugary stuffs, great!   Apple fritters would be served along side a fish dish and probably a rice dish or just some bread and herbs as well.  

 I kept eating the fritters which is why there are only two in the picture.  They are very very yummy.
Cooking up the fritters.  You can tell I didn't quite get the batter on one apple slice correctly.  Eh, it tasted fine.  


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