Saturday, December 13, 2014

Historical Food Fortnightly: Fear Factor

The Challenge:14. Fear Factor November 30 - December 13
What foods have you always wanted to attempt, but were afraid to attempt to make - or afraid to eat? Choose a dish that is either tricky to create or nerve-wracking to eat, and get adventurous! It’s historical Fear Factor!

The Recipe: (where did you find it, link to it if possible)Pumpes

The Date/Year and Region: 15th C England

How Did You Make It: (a brief synopsis of the process of creation) I followed the recipe given in the link pretty much. The only things different are that I didn't have cubebes so I added a bit more black pepper, I used raisins instead of currants, and I added the wine to the meatballs, not to the broth.

Time to Complete: 45 min, maybe? My stove top refused to heat up!

Total Cost: The Sangria was $6.99. The ground beef was maybe $4?

How Successful Was It?: (How did it taste? How did it look? Did it turn out like you thought it would?)

Amazingly, it sort of tastes like Ikea's Swedish meatballs but much better. It is a sweet dish but not overpowering like it says in the link.

How Accurate Is It?: (fess up to your modifications and make-dos here) I used store bought almond milk rather than making my own - I was lazy, I know.

(Ignore the deconstructed meatballs. I was hungry and mashed them up before realizing I should probably take a picture to prove I made something)

Okay, so you might wonder what the fear factor is in this one since it's ground beef meatballs with cinnamon and egg yolks - ie, not really that far out there even for a 15th C recipe. It was the wine. I tried a new wine that I hadn't tried before. This was a Sangria I got at the store.

Because of my food allergies, changing up anything is terrifying. The wrong ingredient can, very much, kill me. Now, it's doubtful that Sangria will have buckwheat in it but you get the idea. My other food allergies tend not to be quite as bad at the buckwheat or tomato ones. Those are the just dial 911 and tell them we'll meet them on the way allergies. However, the berry one can be quite scary in itself.

One day, I was picking blueberries with my cousins. My face swelled up so bad that my eyes swelled shut. That was from just picking blueberries - not eating them. Strawberries are not a berry. They are actually part of the rose family and I'll happily eat them. Every single other berry to include cherries? Yeah, not so much.

Many people know that some wines have berries in them. What many people do not know is that wines are not required to have ingredient labels. Sure, they have that "if you are pregnant and you are drinking this, you deserve a Darwin Award" label on the side but nothing to indicate what might be in the wine other than grapes. And grapes are fine. I ate a bunch of grapes the other day in fact.

The label showed lemons, oranges, and grapes - all of which are fine. The label said wine and citrus - which might be okay, might not. It completely depends on the type of citrus.

Since I wasn't using much wine and it would be cooked into the meatballs, I figured that even if I was allergic, the reaction would probably be mild. So far, no allergic reactions to the wine in the meatballs.

Basically, every time I try something new, there is a "fear factor" to it. The way our ingredients are labeled in the USA is completely ridiculous. For instance, I tried to contact "I can't believe it's not butter" the other day about their new improved product. I wanted to know what the "natural flavors" actually meant and if that meant it had corn. I received a rather rude email back stating that it was trade secret and that if my allergy was so severe then I should have my doctor contact them about it and they'd tell my doctor. Er, what? Doctor Patient privilege anyone? Not that I'm exactly secretive about my food allergies. But the point is that ingredients don't have to be listed. The food companies can use "cover terms" for a lot of different ingredients. And, if it's an alcohol as in the case this evening, they don't have to list a thing.



  1. I totally understand about the allergies; I have life-threatening ones, too. I'm glad that you aren't having any reaction to this recipe, and that it tasted good! I also think it's an interesting and totally valid interpretation of the "Fear Factor" challenge!

    1. Which ones do you have if you don't mind my asking? I'm always curious about other food allergies. My nephew has peanut and egg - which is why I cook a lot of vegan goodies. No egg for him and no dairy for me. :-)
      I figured that there would be so little of anything left to be allergic to in the wine between the cooking, fermentation, and just the ratio of everything else to a possible allergen that any reaction I might have would be minor. Now, if I drank blueberry juice straight that would be an ER visit most likely. At the very least, a very unpleasant few days...