Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Spam, Middle English style

With so many bloggers plagued by spam these days, I thought it was time true spam (not that vile cyber-namesake) found a defender.

After all, the IRL variety has been around a long time, so it must have something going for it.

As proof, I offer herewith a fifteenth century spam recipe:

Mortrewys de Fleyssh.--Take Porke, an seþe it wyl; þanne take it vppe and pulle a-way þe Swerde,(Note: Rind, skin.) an pyke owt þe bonys, an hakke it and grynd it smal; þenne take þe sylf brothe, & temper it with ale; þen take fayre gratyd brede, & do þer-to, an seþe it, an coloure it with Saffroun, & lye it with yolkys of eyroun, & make it euen Salt, & caste pouder Gyngere, a-bouyn on þe dysshe.

Enjoy it, but in moderation. Experts have recently learned the hard way that too much Middle English spam at one sitting can cause indigestion.


At September 14, 2005 at 10:43:00 PM EDT, Blogger iBeth said...

I kinda like spam . . . and hash . . . if only I didn't think "mad cow disease" every time I tried it.

The cyber spam, now, that's another story. Typepad has done a pretty good job of quelling comment spam; track-back spam, not so much. I think very unkind thoughts about the cretins who leave porn spam on my posts about my young daughters.

Have you tried your 15th c spam recipe? Was it a good spam recipe? :)

At September 14, 2005 at 11:33:00 PM EDT, Blogger fausto said...

No, I haven't tried it. But the same book does have a French toast recipe that is just about verbatim how you'd tell someone to make it today, once you adjust for the gendered nouns and pronouns and the archaic spelling and word forms ("eyren" for "eggs", for example).

Philocrites is to blame for starting the Middle English recipe meme a few months ago, although as far as I know, I'm the only blogger to have found another period recipe book and taken up the call. At one point we found rival recipes for egg custard -- his used "ayren" and sweet milk curds for texture, while mine used "eyren" and breadcrumbs for a binder.

Incidentally, I had to look it up, but a "mortrewys" (modern "mortress") is a dish made of ground, blended ingredients formed into a molded shape. Meatloaf and pate' (as well as spam) are familiar contemporary examples, but these old cookbooks are full of others made of various birds, fish, domestic meats, wild game, innards, vegetables, and various combinations thereof. The root of the word is the same as "mortar", which is what you would have used (along with a pestle) to grind the ingredients.


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