Life has been good, if busy, stressed and exhausted. We're coming into the home stretch for the Culinary Symposium and I'm sure there are bound to be details somewhere that are missed but overall I'm feeling really good about it. I'm gearing up to crunch the final numbers by Friday and have what I'll consider to be a final tally, knowing that not all of my teachers have registered yet so there will be at least 5-10 more on site.
I'm excited and nervous because David/ Eduardo talked me into writing up and presenting some of my most recent research on prenatal care in Renaissance Italy. It's my first time submitting an abtract.
I hope to eventually get up the nerve to submit to Oxford, the Renaissance Society of America or other academic forums, but I'm terrified that I won't be taken seriously (or I will be taken seriously and have to speak in front of that audience) because I'm just a passonate independant scholar, not formally backed by any institution.
Here's the abstract for the paper I'll be presenting:
Fruit of the Womb: Prenatal Food in Renaissance Italy
By Heather Ruiter / Raffaella di Contino
Conception and birth, a matter of interest to those of all cultures and classes, became an important focus in the lucrative field of health manuals in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Fertility and prenatal care in Renaissance Italy reflected contemporary medical practice of the time period in which diet, governed by Hippocratic and Galenistic humoral theory, was central to good health. This paper will explore dietary recommendations from Savanarola's "Ad mulieres farrarienses", Marinello's "Delle medicine partenenti . . .", Gioberi's "Errori Popolari" and other 15th and 16th century health manuals specifically directed at women who were pregnant or wanting to become pregnant.
Part of the title comes from a quote from [Giovanni] Michele Savanarola that I'll be using in my paper
"fruits, like fish are cold and humid; moreover, many of them are gassy, so generally you should avoid them altogether or eat them only in moderation." " When you crave a piece of fruit, just think that the most noble and beautiful fruit in the world is the human creature in your womb, so surely you can resist the vituperative claims of your palate for a vile, ugly, bad piece of fruit that will harm what you carry inside yourself" -Savanarola
Other than working on the symposium in general, I've been processing registration forms, arranging classes and fielding questions. I think we've definately made some process improvements this year, but I think we'll need to talk about whether this site will work for us in the future and other tweaks to make it even better. I'm not sure how many people total will stick around for the event post mortem on Sunday, but I'm hoping even if they don't stay people will let me know what they think, and how they feel we can make it better.
The long commute and lack of sleep has been grinding me down a bit. I'm still in awe of my beautiful son and he manages to amaze me every day. He's rolling over at this point, and holding himself sitting fairly well. He's got the strength to stand but no balance yet, so he' kind of a pudgy weeble-wobble. Heven help me once he's full self propelled. He's definately mastered the art of grabbing things and manipulating them, and he's working on his ultimate plan of world domination through cuteness. The girlchild still insists that she's unimpressed, but admits he's cute and coos at him when she thinks no one's looking.
I've been doubly challenged to do something I've been contemplating for a couple of years- enter some items in Kingdom Arts and Sciences. I was first challenged by a local friend Katherine and then by Edward Ian Anderson. :) Plans for the next year include putting together 2-3 entries for next year's Kingdom Arts & Sciences championship. It's nearly a year away but I want to make my final decisions soon as to what I'll enter so I can start laying the ground work. I've already contacted a few people locally who have the equipment I'll need and the experience to keep me from killing or maiming myself during the process. I originally wanted to challenge myself to enter 5 items that were all in some way related to what a 1570's patrician Class Venetian woman would have in her life and surroundings. I've since scaled it back and the items I'm considering are either a wooden birthing chair, or carved and covered chopines or zoccoli (shoes), a pottery item that was originally going to be a majolica birthing set, but will likely need to be scaled back to either majolica apothicary jars or a singular birthing bowl, and more in depth version of my research paper on prenatal medical recommendations in Renaissance Italy. Some alternate project ideas are figuring out how to properly present my research and experiments in historical hair, including replica hair pins if I go this route.
I'm also still trying to keep the local culinary guild going, and support the efforts of getting a kingdom wide culinary guild going that will in turn support and hopefully give more visibility to the other local guilds. April's theme is lenten foods and I'm going to pick some recipes this weekend unless anyone makes a request.
I've also been working on eating healthier and last Friday I had to go buy a belt because my favorite work pants were literally falling off me. I ultimately hope to lose another 50-60 lb, but I'm already down about 30 since getting pregnant and I don't want to buy a bunch of clothes for this size when I'm hoping to contiue the downward trend. This also means I seriously need to make myself some new historical clothing as well. Luckily I have a friend locally who's been awesome about helping me with fittings and getting things draped since I can't seem to do it solo and have it turn out correctly.