Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maudy Thursday!

I went to mass at 11 am and immediately made a b-line for our little convenience store at work afterwards. I really wanted a soda. I was going to get two sodas but I saw our lovely convenience store had created a gluten free section. I, myself, am not gluten free but have found that many gluten free foods tend to a)be more natural and c) not have corn. I saw dark chocolate peanut butter cups. I checked. No dairy. Woohoo! I *had* to get those because, now that the medieval diet is over thanks to it be post- Thursday mass, I was so having them.

A soda and peanut butter cups was exactly what I needed.

And the peanut butter sandwich. And olives. And chocolate covered peanuts.

Lunch was awesome.

I ended up getting a throwback Pepsi later because, again, it was very much needed.

Tonight, once I get home, it will be black eyes peas for dinner. Although the medieval Church rules were different, in the modern Church, as long as the meat isn't the main part of the meal, it's acceptable on "fish" days (like tomorrow). So, using a meat based broth to cook rice or beans is perfectly acceptable since it's meant to flavor and not be the meal within itself -the rice or beans are the meal. So, using bacon to flavor the peas should be fine. And yummy!

Saturday, I'm going to finish up my Easter Dress and go shopping with Mom. My Easter Dress, hopefully, will be in the style of the 1950's out of cherry printed bedsheets I bought at a discount store a couple of years ago. We'll see how it turns out but I always like the idea of using unconventional items to make neat looking things. That, and the bedsheets were cheap. I will add red netting to the hem of the dress.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Last Full Day of Lent!

I am so excited! Yes, there are still some restrictions until Easter morning but, for the most part, today is the very last day of the Medieval Lent! Yay! Tomorrow's evening meal will so be way too much black eyed peas with BACON and possibly some French fries on the side. I don't care if I won't be able to eat it until 9 pm (I have to work late tomorrow....maybe start with a candy bar? Hmm....) I want food.

Not that I didn't learn from this medieval lent again. First off, living off of nuts, raisins, and bread with herbs as some of the Saints are said to have done during the middle ages is a bit bland but it's not impossible. Raisins and walnuts together make an awesome snack. Second, honey is perfectly fine for Lent. Yay! Third, hummus - or, rather- something hummus like is also period for Italy.

I wasn't as good about keeping a daily diary of my food this time around because it was rather boring. The reason it was boring is because I had way too much to do! I didn't have time to cook constantly so...I had to make up reasonably period foods for on the go.

I only messed up a couple of times. I said at the start of this one that I probably wouldn't hold myself to the Lenten diet on Saturdays due to events and that's sort of what happened. And then I did have soy cream with crushed chocolate chip cookies on Monday because I was preparing for summer in the hopes that all the snow would refreeze and we'd get a couple hour delay for work but no such luck. Oh well! However, that was it. The rest of the time I ate a lot of bread, a lot of raisins, walnuts, almonds, olives, and pickles. I did have fish a couple of times and rice but I really haven't had the time to cook more than the bread each week. I'd cook tonight but I need to go to class!

Today will be more of the same. Maybe some bread and strawberry jam. I can't have peanut butter until Friday. Gah!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


First, I'll be posting this over on LJ as well so many of you will see this twice. Sorry!

Second, would anyone be willing to help me with a project? I'd like to bring more awareness to food allergies and what is in food after a recent incident (don't worry, I realized long before I ate it what was in it). I think one way to do that is just for my friends and fellow bloggers (that's y'all) to take a picture of what their normal food groceries look like for one week (ie, not the toilet paper). It doesn't need to be impressive. It's okay if you only needed to stock up on the pop tarts and beer. ;-) I just need a photo of the groceries and, if possible, the ingredients (or the sticker on the food item like with bananas, apples, ground beef, ect).

I'd like to put together a project showing how someone with food allergies views "common" food items. I have way too many allergies and my oldest nephew has a peanut allergy. The way we (and my poor sister in law!) have to view food in order to not go to the ER is very different from how those without food allergies live.

The reason I'd like to do this is not just for food allergies but to raise awareness of what we are really eating. It shocked me when I got my corn allergy exactly how many things have corn in them and how hidden that corn can be. Also, I think it would be helpful for those without food allergies when some poor person like me comes over for dinner.

I had a recent incident in which a lady didn't not understand that "no dairy" didn't mean just take the cheese off. It meant absolutely nothing with butter or milk in it. This included cake. I've had this happen before (sometimes with far worse extremes like just taking the cut tomatoes out rather than remaking a salad!)and I'm hoping that by doing a project like this I can help everyone - both people with and without allergies- understand what "no x" really means. And what we are all really eating.

Don't worry, if you don't want, I won't associate your name/blog with your pictures. I'm also happy to do so if you like your name associated with your pictures. Just let me know in an email. For my email, just comment here if you'd like to participate or have any questions about the project.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Food Post

Sunday, I had a lovely pot roast with super yummy potatoes and carrots at my parents' house with 2 of my three brothers, my very beloved sister in law, and all three nephews. It was delicious. And I came to a realization - I wanted the potatoes and could care less about the meat. Not that it wasn't good -it was- but I think not having a lot of bread the past week and really going with raisins and almonds made me want a lot of fresh veggies. That, and I really love potatoes - of course, I had a hamburger earlier so that probably cured the need for meat.

Anyway, we had an interesting for this blog discussion: when the heck did Lent end? According to the Church, it ends on Maudy Thursday. According to many protestant faiths, it ends on Easter. According to my Dad, it ends Palm Sunday because that's when Jesus came out of the Desert. Which, yes, makes sense, but doesn't count up to 40 days if we are excluding Sundays. If you count from Ash Wednesday until Holy Thursday, exclude each Sunday, you get a full 40 days. This means I couldn't take home the lovely pot roast for leftover because I still have a few more days of bread, oil, olives, pickles, and apple pie. (Thursday night, by the way, will include cake and black eyes peas -which means BACON-)

Last night, I made some sourdough bread which came out lovely and tastes wonderful. (Oh, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Friday! Probably with the medieval diet, no peanuts! Gah!) I did try the type of bread I use to buy at the store and it just tastes...fake to me anymore. I didn't like it at all. The homemade bread - with my homemade starter just as they would have used in the middle ages- tastes so much better that I don't think I can ever go back to buying bread. Which is fine. Making your own bread is a lot cheaper too. I can make roughly 10 loaves of bread for the same price I used to pay for just one "artisian" loaf. And at least I'll have food when the zombie apocalypse breaks out. Every one else will be going for the cereals and I'll be loading up the cart with the 10 lb bag of flour and some olive oils. Bread is yummy and is good to have during the zombie apocalypse. ;-)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Historical Fortnightly #6: Stripes!

The Challenge: Stripes!

Fabric: Cotton

Pattern: My own. It's a fairly basic cut.

Year: Last quarter of the 18th Century

Notions: Ummm.. thread? Some pins?

How historically accurate is it? Well, they did have cotton and they did has stripes. The cut is accurate but it's machine sewn. You can see more examples of short gowns here on Heileen's pintrest page.

Hours to complete: 1/2 hour. The striped petticoat I made five years ago. The short gown really only took a few minutes to put together.

First worn: Not sure yet.

Total cost: Free! The fabric was stash and even then, someone else bought it for me.

So, the full story: I made the petticoat for a robe a la anglais way back in 2008. The dress is not period - it has built in structural support because I could not make a pair of stays at the time that would fit me at all. However, I wanted something vaguely 18th C for a tea (this was the good Costume Con for those trying to figure it out at home). The dress, again, was not perfect but it wasn't horrible either. I still make petticoats the same way.

Although it wasn't period, I wanted to "save" the petticoat and make a shortgown for the outfit so I could have "day" and "night" wear easily. I never got around to it because my ability to make 18th C clothing evolved since then and I just didn't bother. However, the Historical Fortnightly gave me a good excuse to just sit down and cut out the short gown. I'll probably sell the entire outfit later on Etsy. But it is rather cute, or, rather, I think so.

The shortgown is all one piece. The cut is exactly like my 16th C Turkish outfits so it took all of 5 minutes to figure out how to cut it and measure it. Once it was cut out, I just had to sew up the top of the sleeve, the sides, and the hem. It really was only a half hour to make the entire thing - which may make me make a lot more shortgowns in the future if they are this easy.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quite a Pickle!

I did some research today on pickles - specifically, dill pickles, in the 16th C. According the NY Food museum Queen Elizabeth I liked pickles. Columbus came over with them in the late 15th C. But what about dill pickles? Well, dill was introduced way back around 900 to the Western World according to the website. Hmmm..

This recipe for dill pickles is from 1638 - too late.
However, there is this one from 1609:


Plat, 1609)

You may take a gallon of faire water, and a pottle of veriuyce, and a pinte of

bay salt, and a handfull of greene Fennell or Dill: boile it a little, and

when it is cold put it into a barrell, and then put your Cowcumbers into that

pickle, and you shall keepe them all the yeere."

(notes - A pottle is 4 pints. Bay salt is vague, I used sea salt)

Which could point to it being even earlier.

This recipe is not specifically for a cucumber but for any veggies - and I've seen plenty of evidence for "cowcumbers" in the 16th century so this might be it!

No. 48 Ein condimentlin
Flavor caraway seeds and anise with pepper and with vinegar and with honey. And make it gold with saffron. And add thereto mustard. In this condiment you may make sulze (pickled or marinated) parsley, and small preserved fruit and vegetables, or beets, which(ever) you want. (Guoter Spise)

Not exactly a dill pickle but at least it's a start. However, the florilegium files show that most people in the SCA seem to think or know that there is an Elizabethan recipe out there for dill pickles - which works with what the NY Food Museum says. So, dill pickles it is!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Last week of the Lent diet

Today was hummus, flat bread, and my raisin/walnut mix. This is pretty much what I've been eating since my work schedule is completely crazy. Mondays - like today- I have to be into work by 7:00 - preferably by 6:00- leave by 3 for my 8 hours, get home (3:30), change (4:00), attempt to find something to eat(4:30), and then run to class by 5:15 so I can be at the 6:00 pm class on time. The class runs until 9:30 and I'm lucky if I'm home by 10. A medieval person wouldn't have had to deal with this - or, if they did, someone else would cook!

I might go sneak some olives. I did have a peppermint stick earlier.

Palm Sunday is the last day of Lent but that doesn't mean you really break out everything immediately. I will start buying sodas again and eating PB&J next week because that's all I really want until Easter - in which I will be gobbling down potatoes, meat, and overdosing on chocolate bars.

The main things I've learned thus far this lent is that honey is okay for the medieval lenten diet and that chickpeas are period for Europe. Both made it a lot easier to find reasonable foods a Renaissance Italian woman might have recognized.

Tomorrow, I should have time to cook some fish - yummy!- and then make some bread for Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Historical Fortnightly #5: Peasants & Pioneers

I was going to do the lovely Fruit seller dress from the late 16th C but I had to work on 18th C gowns for a dinner instead.

Since I didn't have the time I needed to do the Fruit Seller dress, I went with something far more simple and basic that I always need - sleeves and an apron.

An apron and basic trapezoid shaped sleeves are used before, during, and after the 16th Century - which was my main timeframe. You can see the basic sleeves and a white apron in this painting from 1491:
 photo gozzoli1491kopi.jpg

A similar type sleeve in yellow from 1548:
 photo sustris1548venusamsterdam.jpg

Late 16th Century example of an apron and tie on sleeves:
Pietro Ronzelli: Nativita di Maria, Chiesa del Carmine, Bergamo

Basically, a pair of tie on sleeves and an apron were a common part of peasant dress.

I used coral pink colored linen that was nothing more than large scraps in my scrap pile. I think the rest of the fabric is an 18th C petticoat somewhere in my closet. I had just enough fabric to eek out an apron, apron strings, and two sleeves. I did have to piece the sleeves and the apron strings but piecing is very period.

I used a sewing machine due to time constants but overall cut and the fabric is historically accurate for the 16th C.

apron & sleeves

The color is not that orange - it's a lovely coral pink but my phone refused to take the picture without making it look either washed out or very bright. I'll probably wear these are Pennsic this summer.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Food and Sewing over the past week

Mom's dress is done! Yay! I'll get pictures on Saturday of both Mom in her dress and myself in mine. Mine is still somewhat in pieces - the back is done, the bodice is attached but I still have to do sleeves and trim on my Francaise.

Good thing today is a snow day.

Food: I've been eating olives, bread, raisins, walnuts, and raisins a lot. I made some whole wheat bread last night which is rather sweet. I might have some toast and jam with tea for breakfast. Because my diet has been rather boring, I haven't been blogging about it. I had rice and peas last night which actually involved a microwave. I haven't been cooking because I've had to sew. Next week, I should start cooking again and that will mean odd fish recipes and rather random attempts a apple pie. I did buy actual chickpeas and sesame seeds to try and re-create the 14th C Italian recipe for Lenten chickpeas (ie, hummus). The word "sesanime" constantly comes up and, based upon the recipes as well as the Italian language, I'm thinking it's crushed sesame seeds. The words are very close (sesame in modern Italian is just sesamo) and the way the ingredient is being use, sesame would make sense. I promise more on it later but it really is the only thing I can think up that makes sense.