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In addition to being a new mom and now being back at work I've got some other projects I've still been working on.

The big one is the Culinary Symposium. Elizabeth had graciously volunteered to be this year's Chairperson, but has since been made the head of one of the largest and longest standing groups in our historical society- and as a result is naturally rather busy (HUGE understatement). I'm taking up the torch and going from being just the class coordinator to being the chairperson and trying to make sure we're all on track and on the same page. I've emailed all the teachers, done a couple of site visits to the new location and now need to figure out where the rest of the team currently stands. I'm really excited about this year's line up and really hope I get to  take some of the classes, especially those from Alys Katherine who's coming all the way from the Middle. There are other classes I want to take too, and I hope this isn't the last time we have her for teaching, but I'd hate to miss out. I'm even contemplating possibly submitting a paper to the lecture track to be later published in the proceedings. I'll post here later with specific details for people to send out to any of the places and individuals I may have missed who might be interested.

I've still been researching reproduction and childbirth in Renaissance Italy and feel like I've got enough information in my head for at least 5 papers. Since I've got to start somewhere and narrow the focus I'm bringing it back to my first research passion- food. I haven't decided on a title yet, perhap "Food and Fertility in Renaissance Italy? Now I just have to create an abstract and write up all of the information. I've already got a rough outline and chunks of the information in my head, it's just now down to getting them to flow together and do all the citations correctly. Chemicallace suggestion endnote, and I'm planning on giving it a try to help.
Rough outline: 
Getting pregnant & gender
1a- humoral theory (underlying medical theory for whole paper)
1b- what & when, the importance of timing
Prenatal care
2a- food groups divided by humoral nature
2b- beverages, spices, and other oddities
2c- food and beverage as supplements(potential experiment, water with iron extinguished into it)
During delivery
3a- fasting and food recommendation
3b?- potentially food products used as salves and medicine during delivery (positions, ect. another paper)
Edit to add: 
Food recommendations for wet nurses/ breast feeding
4a- what was proscribed and prescribed.
Ritual foods presented to mother after birth- any celebratory foods
5a-  valuable food related gifts (cups, spoons, forks)
5b- cakes, cookies, etc. given often inside gift cups.  

Working my way through the Anon. Venetian manuscript again. I finally have the exotic meats that were holding things up, now forever in my mind as "the dammed boar".  I'm planning on heading up north after work the Friday of Ursulmas and experimenting with Fiamma for the three roasts/ sauces that were holding things up for lack of appropriate ingredients. I'll be taking lots of pictures and posting again here, as well as my blog dedicated to my Italian historical research: http://allvenicechannel.dreamwidth.org/  I still have to make some choices on the ingredients that arn't clear, i.e. what type of bread to make into bread crumbs after toasting, what kind of vinegar, etc. before I bring up all the supplies and actually make them all.

After at least 5 different drafts I'm finally happy with a pattern for a working class Italian outfit from the late 1500's. For the first working test I'm using what I had in my stash which is waaaaay less that what I usually use for just the skirt alone. I'm having to re-think the pleating as even with bulking up the pleats with blanket weight wool there still isn't enough to do cartridge pleats, so I may have to do box or knife pleats. Still, I'm hopeful that I can finish this in time for Ursulmas so I can have a casual breast feeding friendly outfit.

On a mostly non-historical related note, regarding instead the charity I've been working with the last several years, It's My Bag- http://www.itsmybag.info/. We had been doing photos previously as one of the other board members has a hearse and a coffin. However, going to local horror conventions and other local markets and fairs doing "photos in a coffin" hasn't been bringing in as much as we would like in funds. At our last board meeting I suggested that we look into the possibility of doing photos at SCA events as a fundraiser, and brain stormed what events might work best for this, like 12th night, Ursulmas, June Faire?, and possibly some feasts like Yule where people are wearing their best court clothing and might like a formal portrait taken. We were at 12th night and had by far the most successful fundraiser we've had in at least the last year! I wasn't able to help much with the actual running of the booth, but the other board members who ran it (Michael & Karen) were delighted with how things went. We're now lined up to also have a booth at Ursulmas http://aquaterra.antir.sca.org/Ursulmas/ and have been asked to come to several other events. If you happen to see us at an event, please consider getting a photo taken- all proceeds go to help foster kids and other at-risk and underprivileged kids.
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Quick update before I drag my tired bottom to bed

This may look like a brick of cheese, but it's much, much harder. I didn't cut it so much as hack at it: 

I initially was going to melt it in the disposible pie tin I wound up hacking it to pieces in. I'm glad I realized that I'd need it in a much smaller space so I could dip the bottles deep enough to coat not only the corks, but the strings for the tags as well (as this serves to help them stay in place as well as seal the corks).

Dipping the bottle: 

Finished bottles!

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As an aid to my poor brain that these days is more like a steel sieve than a steel trap:

Italian Majolica pottery- pretty! I want to make some of these some day!

A really nice collection of "Italian Ren" resource links. I've already picked out some a couple of times to get people started who don't yet want to invest in books until they've tried a few styles first: http://www.quite-contrary.org/cost_link_ital.php
Includes Drea's fantastic online reference to the Milanise Tailor's handbook:

Pepperbeast is translating her way through Book V of Scappi's Opera- the menus for each day of the year!!! Total Squee_ http://libroquarto.wordpress.com/
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Sorry I couldn't resist the Princess Bride quote, I just watched it with the munchkin on Wednesday.
At the suggestion of one of the foodies I hope to someday grow up to be like I am scrapping my Historical italian food class and I am going to reconstruct it with better focus. I think I tried to do to much with it, then got to too focused/ sidetracked on context. So where to begin? A new synopsis? 

Here's what I've got so far: 

Italian food through manuscripts, literature and personal accounts.

What did they eat and where does that information come from? (should I include publishing locations? That might be misleading as to content, but I’m not sure how else to classify it, e.g. Scappi from Bologna, worked in Rome for the Pope, but was published in Venice).



Timeframe and location of food manuscripts~, household manuals< , agricultural manuals@, and popular literature>.


The Marvels of Milan (Milan) 1288@ Bonvesin da la Riva

Libro di cucina (Venetian) c.mid 1300’s~ anonymous

Libro Della Cocina (Tuscan) c.mid 1300’s~ anonymous

Decameron 1353> Giovanni Boccaccio

Libro de Arte Conquinaria (Rome) 1450~ Martino da Como

De honesta voluptua (Rome)1480~ Bartolomeo Sacchi (il Platina)

Libre del coch (Naples) 1477~ Roberto de Nola

Agricultura (Venice) 1477@ Piero de' Crescenzi (1504 copy)

Il Perche (Venice) 1507~ Girolamo Rosselli

Epulario (Venice) 1516~ Giovanne de Rosselli

Opera (Venice) 1570~ Bartolomeo Scappi

I came across an online scan of one of the agricultural manuals that were first published in 1477- this copy was printed in 1504, Venice
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I've been meaning to inventory these for a while, and I finally got around to it. I figured I would post them here so I'll be able to find it later even if something should happen to my computer.
pictures and descriptions behind cut as a courtesy )

raffaellasworld: (Orange Venetian)
The garlic sauce recipe came from a translation of Libro di cucina/ Libro per cuoco (14th/15th c.)  (Anonimo Veneziano), which you can oogle here: http://www.geocities.com/helewyse/libro.html

III. "Agliata", roasted garlic sauce.
Agliata to serve with every meat.  Take a bulb of garlic and roast it under the coals (substitute an oven in the current middle ages).  Grind the roasted garlic and mix with ground raw garlic, bread crumbs and sweet spices.  Mix with broth, put into a pan and let it boil a little before serving warm. 

My version: 
Take two heads (not clove, whole head) of fresh garlic. Cut off just the tops and wrap in tinfoil with a little water.  Roast on a cookie sheet for about 45- 60 minutes at 350. Once cooled squeeze out of skin, thow out skins. Add 1/4 cup fresh raw garlic chopped or crushed, blend in either food processor or blender until perfectly smooth. Add liquid* and bread crumbs until desired consistency is achieved.  
The original manuscript calls for broth, I've used both chicken or beef, and have also made a tasty vegetarian alternative with either vegi broth, or vinegar which adds a slight back-kick to the in your face garlic flavor. I'd start with adding 1/4 cup of both the liquid of your choice and the bread crumbs and keep going with one or the other until its the thickness you'd like. You can either make this quite pasty or fairly liquid. If it needs to travel you can also make up the paste and add the liquid on-site. 

Serves 4 garlic lovers or up to 8 flavor weenies. :) Also great made in big batches. I used about 10 heads and went more heavy on the raw crushed garlic for the wedding and it served 100 with about 1/4 cup left over. For my brother's wedding I used about 4 heads, and one of the attendees decided it was a great chip-dip. You won't have the most romantic breath after eating it, but you probably won't get sick for at least a week either.

Honeyed carrots: 
I can't remember the original sources, just that I saw a recipe for period carrots, the basic "take a goodly amount of carrots, cooke until they are don - add hony, butter and serve it forth" kind of a thing. :) I thought, HEY, I can do that and I need a tasty veggie, so I winged it. I can't believe we went through almost all 10 pounds. 

My version: 
This was for 100 people, so I'll put down what I did then break it down to smaller portions. 
10 lb baby carrots, peeled. It would have been nice to cut them into cute little rounds, but I was limited on time and help so I ran them through my food processor with the slicing attachment. It sliced most of them long way instead of little rounds, but it worked well. I decided to make these vegetarian friendly (but not vegan) so I cooked them in vegi broth until they were still firm but not raw. I added 1/2 stick of butter to each 5 pound pot, and honey to taste (probably about 1-2 cups. Let flavors combine, drain most of liquid and serve. 

Guesstimating for 6- 8 people, depending on how much they like veggies: 
1 pound baby peeled carrots,  3 cups broth (veggie, beef or chicken your choice), 1T butter, 1/4 cup honey (honey to taste, add some, test, add more if desired). 

This is really one of those dishes that is dependent on the individual cook, how done do you like your carrots, how sweet will you like them. It turns out even yummier than I had originally envisioned. :)


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