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What did pilgrims eat 1000 years ago? - do share simple recipes

2020 Camino Guides

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
I started thinking about this a day or so back - How spartan was the cuisine?
After some very basic research it seems as if the menu may have not been so elaborate but there was almost as much variety then as now. Rice may have not quite reached Iberian peninsular and potatoes had to wait another 750 years to make its way into a tortilla?
Veggies and fruit in season , meat , stews , dairy products , bread , pancakes ,preserves, chickpeas and legumes , eggs to name just a few - quite a variety. Tea seems to have been around since pyramid times but coffee was only introduced in 1780 or so ........... vino has been present before humanity itself.;)
Please share some simple recipes with us to feed say 3/4 pilgrims - I look forward to trying a few during this Lock Down.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2017-18)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
FWIW I tried using sliced radish in place of potato when making shrimp tortilla and it worked very well. slightly trickier to do the cooking...has radish been around that long in Spain?
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
@RENSHAW great question. Any excuse to think about food is good for me.

A 1000 years ago, in Northern Iberia, right at the outset of the Camino. Interesting times.

Protein: meat, fowl, fish, shellfish all available but in relatively limited quantities and, without refrigeration, caught and killed and cooked that day or salted;
Lentils & chickpeas (possibly);
Milk, cheese & eggs (but of course every time you eat the egg you don't get to eat the chicken).
Carbs: in the North of Spain, mostly Barley, some Kimmer, some wheat.
Veg: Cabbage (various), Turnip/Beets, Onions (what did the Romans do for....) No carrots, peppers, chillis, beans, parsnip.

So, a couple of recipes.

Roast some Barley in a dry skillet till it smells like roasted nuts. Cool. Crack gently in a pestle & mortar or between two boards. Blow away the chaff.

Put some lard, butter, or Olive Oil if you are rich, in a pan and sweat some chopped onion if you have any. When soften add the kibbled Barley and a ladle of stock, stir. Keep adding stock and stirring until the Barley is soft. Add chopped greens. Serve when the greens have wilted.

Put in a sauce pan oil, broth, finely chopped leeks, herbs & spices, cured pork shoulder, cut into long strips including the skin. Cook, gently, till you can pierce the skin. Add apples cleaned, the core removed, slice lengthwise and cook them together: meanwhile crush pepper, cumin, green coriander, or seeds, mint, moistened with vinegar and honey, add to this the broth of the above morsels. Boil, skim, strain over the sprinkle with pepper and serve.

This recipe works for just about any meat or fowl. Substitute turnip, Alexander root, Parsley root or any other starchy root you can forage depending on time of year. My favourite version is Rabbit & Alexander root but I have both locally available. Drink the broth, eat the meat. Give thanks ;)
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
A thousand years ago in Christian Spain, I can't say. But I do have a Catalan cookbook from the early fourteenth century sitting on my bookshelf. Here is one sample recipe, in English translation (if someone wants the medieval Catalan text, I can take a photo and message it to you):

Morterol (Meat Stew)
If you want to make morterol (meat stew), make a good broth of mutton and chicken. Then take under-cooked mutton legs, with the lean part chopped up, and fatty salt pork, fresh pork, and grated bread, as much or a little less than the meat. Put it in a pot to cook with the fatty broth. And when it has thickened, flavor it with salt,and take it from the fire. And take beaten eggs, two for each bowl, with some stew, and put it in the pot, mixing well. And color it with saffron.

Also, if you want to make it with chicken and almond milk broth, be careful that the broth is cooked, then take the chickens and cook them together with the salt pork. If you make it for a healthy man you can put in mutton and pork. And boil it with the almond milk in the way that is said above.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
For an idea of what pilgrims ate in the distant past you might check out what the wandering journeymen or compagnons de devoir ate in
Les Etoiles de Compostelle by Henri Vincenot. It provides a fine accounting of medieval ways and techniques both philosophical and mechanical. Originally published 1982 in French, the English version is The Prophet of Compostela.

The major character in the novel,
Jehan le Tonnerre, becomes a journeyman or
compagnon. Still today in France such highly specialized craftsmen are known as Les Compagnons de Devoir. Read here in French more about their long history, tradition and contemporary training which includes a working Tour de France.

For a good English account of the Compagnons see this Wiki article.

For an earlier forum thread re the Compagnons see https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/a-different-sort-of-pilgrimage.40029/
 
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Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
They could perhaps have eaten a variety of the simple, traditional dish “migas” which, according to “Small Dictionary of Gastronomy”/Maria Lucia Gomensoro originates to a Spanish tradition of eating small cubes of bread dipped in milk and then fried. Allegedly, this dish has been known since the middle ages when bread was a main nutriment all over Europe.

Today migas is often made with chorizo, but in earlier times, it was probably made with “morchilla” (blood sausage) or some kind of fish. There are numerous varieties of migas, here is one that I have tried:

200 g Spanish chorizo sausage
4 thick slices of day-old slightly dry white bread
1-2 tablespoons of Spanish extra virgin olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons sweet paprika

Cut the chorizo sausage into ½ cm thick slices.
Cut the bread, with crust, into 1 cm cubes.
Add enough olive oil to a large, heavy-bottom skillet so that it generously covers the bottom.
Heat the oil, add the garlic and cook for a minute or so.
Add the chorizo slices and cook them for 2-3 minutes until browned.
Add the Spanish sweet paprika and mix well.
Add the bread cubes to the skillet and pan fry, stirring all the time, until golden brown and crisp.
Serve hot in a bowl with a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Some say that though this is a very simple dish, it is difficult to make it well, and I agree! I think it has to do with frying the bread at the right temperature so it will not absorb too much oil and not frying the garlic too much(?) – but it is fun to experiment…
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
Charlemagne who died in 814 (the same year as the discovery of the moral remains of Saint James) decreed that herb gardens be planted throughout the Carolingian Empire and he led by example, planting the following culinary and medicinal herbs/foods in his gardens - talk about French Cooking!

I wonder if the capers went with his morning lox and bagel?

It is our wish that they shall have in their gardens all kinds of plants: lily, roses, fenugreek, costmary, sage, rue, southernwood, cucumbers, pumpkins, gourds, kidney-bean, cumin, rosemary, caraway, chick-pea, squill, gladiolus, tarragon, anise, colocynth, chicory, ammi, sesili, lettuces, spider's foot, rocket salad, garden cress, burdock, penny-royal, hemlock, parsley, celery, lovage, juniper, dill, sweet fennel, endive, dittany, white mustard, summer savory, water mint, garden mint, wild mint, tansy, catnip, centaury, garden poppy, beets, hazelwort, marshmallows, mallows, carrots, parsnip, orach, spinach, kohlrabi, cabbages, onions, chives, leeks, radishes, shallots, cibols, garlic, madder, teazles, broad beans, peas, coriander, chervil, capers, clary.

Charlemagne also promoted aquaculture - known as "Stew Ponds"- maintained at some monasteries - they were stocked with pike, eel and tench fish and were a boon to the elasticity of food supply. Have you ever had smoked eel? Delicious!

Areas with long coastlines like Galicia would have eaten lots of wild-caught seafood during the 9th century including cod, lobster, sea-bream, oysters, conger eel, pilchards and octopus boiled in a copper cauldron.
 
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Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
They could perhaps have eaten a variety of the simple, traditional dish “migas” which, according to “Small Dictionary of Gastronomy”/Maria Lucia Gomensoro originates to a Spanish tradition of eating small cubes of bread dipped in milk and then fried. Allegedly, this dish has been known since the middle ages when bread was a main nutriment all over Europe.

Today migas is often made with chorizo, but in earlier times, it was probably made with “morchilla” (blood sausage) or some kind of fish. There are numerous varieties of migas, here is one that I have tried:

200 g Spanish chorizo sausage
4 thick slices of day-old slightly dry white bread
1-2 tablespoons of Spanish extra virgin olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons sweet paprika

Cut the chorizo sausage into ½ cm thick slices.
Cut the bread, with crust, into 1 cm cubes.
Add enough olive oil to a large, heavy-bottom skillet so that it generously covers the bottom.
Heat the oil, add the garlic and cook for a minute or so.
Add the chorizo slices and cook them for 2-3 minutes until browned.
Add the Spanish sweet paprika and mix well.
Add the bread cubes to the skillet and pan fry, stirring all the time, until golden brown and crisp.
Serve hot in a bowl with a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Some say that though this is a very simple dish, it is difficult to make it well, and I agree! I think it has to do with frying the bread at the right temperature so it will not absorb too much oil and not frying the garlic too much(?) – but it is fun to experiment…
I like your migas recipe but I think that olive oil and paprika were very expensive 1000 years ago on the Camino, especially in Galicia, because the big production was in Muslim territory.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
I like your migas recipe but I think that olive oil and paprika were very expensive 1000 years ago on the Camino, especially in Galicia, because the big production was in Muslim territory.
Yes, you are right - this recipe is a "modern" variant :)
 

wjohnk

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugese Coastal (2019)
Did not Spain provide a lot of Olive oil to the Roman Empire? It would surely have been available in ~ 1000 AD.
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
Did not Spain provide a lot of Olive oil to the Roman Empire? It would surely have been available in ~ 1000 AD.
Yes, the southern half part of Spain produced olive oil 1000 years ago but at that time it was Al Andalus and the relation with the Christian kingdoms were most time not good.
Only 50 years ago in rural Galicia they always fried with lard.
I think that there was a small production of olive oil in Navarra and La Rioja but not for the poor people.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Charlemagne who died in 814 (the same year as the discovery of the moral remains of Saint James) decreed that herb gardens be planted throughout the Carolingian Empire and he led by example, planting the following culinary and medicinal herbs/foods in his gardens - talk about French Cooking!

I wonder if the capers went with his morning lox and bagel?

It is our wish that they shall have in their gardens all kinds of plants: lily, roses, fenugreek, costmary, sage, rue, southernwood, cucumbers, pumpkins, gourds, kidney-bean, cumin, rosemary, caraway, chick-pea, squill, gladiolus, tarragon, anise, colocynth, chicory, ammi, sesili, lettuces, spider's foot, rocket salad, garden cress, burdock, penny-royal, hemlock, parsley, celery, lovage, juniper, dill, sweet fennel, endive, dittany, white mustard, summer savory, water mint, garden mint, wild mint, tansy, catnip, centaury, garden poppy, beets, hazelwort, marshmallows, mallows, carrots, parsnip, orach, spinach, kohlrabi, cabbages, onions, chives, leeks, radishes, shallots, cibols, garlic, madder, teazles, broad beans, peas, coriander, chervil, capers, clary.

Charlemagne also promoted aquaculture - known as "Stew Ponds"- maintained at some monasteries - they were stocked with pike, eel and tench fish and were a boon to the elasticity of food supply. Have you ever had smoked eel? Delicious!

Areas with long coastlines like Galicia would have eaten lots of wild-caught seafood during the 9th century including cod, lobster, sea-bream, oysters, conger eel, pilchards and octopus boiled in a copper cauldron.
I'm surprised to see Carrot on that list, according to the http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/history.html "Carrots were originally recorded as being cultivated in present day Afghanistan about 1000 years ago, purple, white and yellow carrots were brought into southern Europe in the 14th century and were widely grown in Europe into the 16th Century".
Likewise Kidney-beans, a native of South America and unknown in Europe pre-Columbus - unless those sneaky Vikings got a lot further than Newfoundland. As to the culinary delights of Hemlock 😨.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Lots of stews and meats and poultry and fish and charcuterie (mainly sausages), bread (white) (& various locally traditional pastries & sweets), sauces, cheeses, local greens and veg and cabbages and mushrooms and fruit and berries and roots and beans/peas only, and only when in season or within the confines of preservation limits, game, and various conserves of the traditional European sort, varying greatly at the local level, so pickled, salted, hung, dried, cold larder storage, smoked, jams and marmalades, or often even just hermetically buried under ground for preservation purposes (for some of us, the memory of doing this is from just a single generation ago ; some of it continues to this day, and a tiny smattering of it was in my own family back in the 70s).

Remember, VERY little sugar (crystallised when you could find it), so mostly fructose in fruits and honey used in sugar-based conserves. Good salt was a precious herb, and expensive.

Rice/Wheat rather than noodles/pasta, except, well, Italy, where by contrast they ate little bread. Porage in many places.

Most veg and fruits and all roots peeled.

Every country has its own traditional versions of the meat, fat, and veg soup of the pot-au-feu kind.

Butter north ; olive oil south. (though each were, and are, used to a degree outside of their native regions)

Wines, ales, spirits, eaux-de-vie, liqueurs, various teas and infusions, various local non-alcoholic drinks of the sarsaparilla type, not much milk drinking except children as the lactose-tolerance mutation was FAR less prevalent than it is today.

NO BEER -- hops were not introduced into brewing 'til the 14th Century, so that people drank a multiplicity of local ales (French cervoise) flavoured with a multiplicity of local herbal flavouring differing wildly in taste and quality from place to place.

In Italy, "pizza" was a bit of flat bread closed around some filling, somewhat similar to a falafel (but in a European style, and remember, no tomatoes)

Traditional European bread is a huge piece, well baked, about 0.6 to 1 metre long and as thick as a country loaf. It keeps VERY well indeed, and there was no such thing as a baguette or so on, and the small and more tender loaves that we are accustomed to nowadays were luxuries for when the harvest was plentiful. But they did eat small buns.

Contemporary Spanish & Portuguese cooking is probably closer to their mediaeval roots than elsewhere, though French Provincial/Bourgeois cuisine and some types of German/Alsace/Lorraine/etc cooking also retains many of those traditions, and so on and so forth country to country, but the general isolation of Iberia behind the Pyrenees has led that part of Europe to be more conservative in the culinary Art than elsewhere.

---

Crikey, I could just go on, and on, and on ...

They generally did not starve, except during those disastrous plague years or drought/bad harvest ones ...
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
I'm surprised to see Carrot on that list, according to the http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/history.html "Carrots were originally recorded as being cultivated in present day Afghanistan about 1000 years ago, purple, white and yellow carrots were brought into southern Europe in the 14th century and were widely grown in Europe into the 16th Century".
Likewise Kidney-beans, a native of South America and unknown in Europe pre-Columbus - unless those sneaky Vikings got a lot further than Newfoundland. As to the culinary delights of Hemlock 😨.
Perhaps Tincatinker, the discrepancy you astutely noticed is due to the translation from the Latin list. Wild carrots may have been translated as just carrots? Here's the list from 802 - hows your Latin?
My point in sharing the list was to underscore the variety of foods available in the 9th century.

The Capitulare de Villis was such an ordinance, issued around 802 A.D.. It had 120 chapters of laws regarding issues throughout his empire, including one intricately requiring and instructing all farmers on how to keep bees. Having just inventoried two of his royal estates and finding their systems and management lacking, Charlemagne moved in the Capitulare to reform those royal estates, which stretched from Germany to Spain. He included a requirement that the estates all grow particular beneficial plants instead of the unsystemized gardens they had grown before in order to help the lands around them.

That list, in Chapter 70 of the Capitulare, has given scholars insight into what were considered the best medicinal and culinary plants of that time, most of which were actually mentioned by Pliny the Elder of Rome (23–79 A.D.) centuries before in his work Naturalis Historiae Libri. This is not shocking however, since Charlemagne’s empire was at the early end of the Middle Ages, meaning much of his information would still be from Greek and Roman sources. All of the medicinal herbs cited in the Plan of St. Gall, drafted within decades of the Capitulare and intended to be in a grand Benedictine garden in Switzerland, are also listed in the Capitulare, confirming his thoughts as those of others in the know in his time.

Capitulare_de_villis_vel_curtis_imperii_LXX
List from ch. 70 of the Capitulare
Chapter 70 of the Capitulare details the plants that were required to be grown, with fines and penalties if they were not. Some are still considered beneficial today, some are not. The list reads: “It is our wish that they shall have in their gardens all kinds of plants: lily, roses, fenugreek, costmary, sage, rue, southernwood, cucumbers, pumpkins, gourds, kidney-bean, cumin, rosemary, caraway, chick-pea, squill, gladiolus, tarragon, anise, colocynth, chicory, ammi, sesili, lettuces, spider’s foot, rocket salad, garden cress, burdock, penny-royal, hemlock, parsley, celery, lovage, juniper, dill, sweet fennel, endive, dittany, white mustard, summer savory, water mint, garden mint, wild mint, tansy, catnip, centaury, garden poppy, beets, hazelwort, marshmallows, mallows, carrots, parsnip, orach, spinach, kohlrabi, cabbages, onions, chives, leeks, radishes, shallots, cibols, garlic, madder, teazles, broad beans, peas, coriander, chervil, capers, clary. And the gardener shall have house-leeks growing on his house.” (Underlining added.)
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
FWIW I tried using sliced radish in place of potato when making shrimp tortilla and it worked very well. slightly trickier to do the cooking...has radish been around that long in Spain?
Tortilla does not absolutely require potatoes -- it's why there's a kind of it called tortilla de patatas -- but I would have tried with turnips instead (tortilla de nabos y cibolla) ; and there's even a variant using beetroot.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
For an idea of what pilgrims ate in the distant past you might check out what the wandering journeymen or compagnons de devoir ate in
Les Etoiles de Compostelle by Henri Vincenot. It provides a fine accounting of medieval ways and techniques both philosophical and mechanical. Originally published 1982 in French, the English version is The Prophet of Compostela.

The major character in the novel,
Jehan le Tonnerre, becomes a journeyman or
compagnon. Still today in France such highly specialized craftsmen are known as Les Compagnons de Devoir. Read here in French more about their long history, tradition and contemporary training which includes a working Tour de France.

For a good English account of the Compagnons see this Wiki article.

For an earlier forum thread re the Compagnons see https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/a-different-sort-of-pilgrimage.40029/
I regret to have to report that this is mainly a 19th Century artefact, having some extensive links with freemasonry.

I did meet a few of them during my long conversion process when I was still living in Paris, and I must insist from that, that many are good and decent and honest folk ; but there is a fundamental difference between this modern organisation and the mediaeval cathedral-builders that they attempt to emulate.

Having said that, there are still some honest craftsmen journeymen more loosely attached to that movement, and so more closely to the idea of pilgrimage/journeying -- and just for starters and for example those involved in the building of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

It's a mixed bag ; as things usually are !!! :p
 

Jo King

Old Dorset Tortoise
Camino(s) past & future
Part 1 April -May 2017. Burgos to Sarria
Part 2 September 23-29 Sarria to Santiago
April (2018)
Charlemagne who died in 814 (the same year as the discovery of the moral remains of Saint James) decreed that herb gardens be planted throughout the Carolingian Empire and he led by example, planting the following culinary and medicinal herbs/foods in his gardens - talk about French Cooking!

I wonder if the capers went with his morning lox and bagel?

It is our wish that they shall have in their gardens all kinds of plants: lily, roses, fenugreek, costmary, sage, rue, southernwood, cucumbers, pumpkins, gourds, kidney-bean, cumin, rosemary, caraway, chick-pea, squill, gladiolus, tarragon, anise, colocynth, chicory, ammi, sesili, lettuces, spider's foot, rocket salad, garden cress, burdock, penny-royal, hemlock, parsley, celery, lovage, juniper, dill, sweet fennel, endive, dittany, white mustard, summer savory, water mint, garden mint, wild mint, tansy, catnip, centaury, garden poppy, beets, hazelwort, marshmallows, mallows, carrots, parsnip, orach, spinach, kohlrabi, cabbages, onions, chives, leeks, radishes, shallots, cibols, garlic, madder, teazles, broad beans, peas, coriander, chervil, capers, clary.

Charlemagne also promoted aquaculture - known as "Stew Ponds"- maintained at some monasteries - they were stocked with pike, eel and tench fish and were a boon to the elasticity of food supply. Have you ever had smoked eel? Delicious!

Areas with long coastlines like Galicia would have eaten lots of wild-caught seafood during the 9th century including cod, lobster, sea-bream, oysters, conger eel, pilchards and octopus boiled in a copper cauldron.
?Hemlock?
 
Camino(s) past & future
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
Bread was consumed in large quantities. Bread could constitute up to 70% of the daily food ration of the people of the time. The lower classes ate rye bread, barley, millet and oats. The refined flours like the wheat with which white bread was made were mainly consumed by the upper classes.

They ate small pieces of bread with wine, soup, broth, or even a sauce. From this dish various preparations are derived in the form of soups from modern European cuisine such as Castilian garlic soups.

To accompany the bread, no water but wine, some beer or cider. At that time, hygiene measures were rather precarious and water in general was a focus of disease transmission. For this reason, the presence of fermented beverages such as cider, wine, mead and beer.

Wine and beer were also prized for their food content, especially by the lower classes, there were not many options to make proteins and carbohydrates like those present in beer.

Milk, on the other hand, was not part of the common diet, nor were many derivatives thereof produced, because conservation techniques were very limited.

They also ate chopped herring, fried fig cakes, leeks and soups, wheat or barley bread, nuts.

The consumption of pork was the most common, but not the cow or the veal. Meat was abundant in the meals of the upper classes.

Birds of various types were consumed: swan, quail, partridge, stork, lark and wild ducks. Hunting was reserved for the upper classes and the nobility, serfs and peasants were prohibited from hunting

The lower classes ate the livers, viscera, legs, ears and the blood of pigs, blood sausage with pine nuts and raisins. The fish was eaten although in many cases salted, especially in places far from the seas. In Mediterranean countries it was customary to eat mollusks such as oysters and mussels.

Vegetables and other products of the field such as legumes were present in medieval dishes. Potatoes, green beans, cocoa, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, and corn were brought from America by the Spanish.

An interesting book on this subject is 'The Mediveal Cookbook' by Maggie Black, with recipes. The cookbook presents the original recipes as well as their modern adaptations to prepare them.
 
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Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
?Hemlock?
Shed your 20th century ideas. Perhaps medieval doctors found poison WOULD kick start the immune system? Why are people questioning actual historical documents?
 
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Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
Bread was consumed in large quantities. Bread could constitute up to 70% of the daily food ration of the people of the time. The lower classes ate rye bread, barley, millet and oats. The refined flours like the wheat with which white bread was made were mainly consumed by the upper classes.
Intelligent and comprehensive summary of food in 9th century - I will have to look at Black's book. Since I am writing another book about that time period. Nicely done!
 
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Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Deleted - It seems I'm wrong about many things and my post created unnecessary controversy in what ought to be a simple thread to exchange recipes. I apologize for the distraction.
 
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Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
Yes, If there were five- star Michelin restaurants in "Spain" at the time (814) of Alfonso II, they all would have been in the south controlled by the Islamic rulers,

What many folk do not know from history, is that the real culture in "Spain" in the 9th century (when the Apostle was discovered) was centered in the Caliphate of Cordoba to the south. Something I am working on -exclusive preview to Camino forum readers.

I will privately email the first 19 chapters of the book (like Dickens did in the London papers - one chapter at a time each day) if you send me email contacts privately -I need critical readers!) Particularly history buffs like JabbaPappa, Raggy, Dave Bugg, Pelegrin, Turga and Tincatrinker, but also anyone that reads and can contribute constructive criticism. In the time of this virus - we need daily contact - 19 chapter in 19 days starting 4/5.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Mushrooms, wild asparagus and crumbled old bread, gently fried in a little salted pork fat. Yum.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
A reminder for members to stick to the topic. If you want to discourse on another subject, start your own thread.
 
Camino(s) past & future
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
There is an influence of Arab cuisine in Spanish cuisine, but one should not ignore Castilian, Leonese, Extremadura, Catalan, Basque, Galician, Navarra, Aragonese cuisine. Andalusian and Valencian cuisines were, those probably yes, more influenced by Arab cuisine.






The almond was introduced in Spain, according to most studies and sources, the Phoenicians. The Hispania of the Romans already produced and consumed almonds.

Olive oil, wine and salting of fish for preservation were introduced by the Phoenicians. The Romans, Greeks and Phoenicians habitually consumed oil, hundreds of years before the arrival of the Muslims in Spain.

The cane route was born in New Guinea and reached India, from where it extended to China and the Middle East. It was precisely the pioneering Indians who tried its flavor. The first historical references to sugar date back to 4500 BC. Much later, around 510 BC, the sugar reached Persia. Europe arrived in the 4th century BC, thanks to the travels and conquests of Alexander the Great through Asia. Later, the Greeks inherited it from the Romans, who called it "salt of India." In the 7th century of our era, an important milestone in the diffusion of sugar consumption was marked. It is the Arabs, so fond of sweets, who, by invading the Tigris and Euphrates regions, discover the infinite possibilities it presents. These introduce it to recently conquered areas, cultivating sugar cane in Syria, Egypt, Cyprus, Rhodes and all of North Africa. It is precisely there where Egyptian chemists perfect their processing and refine it. The expansion of its consumption continues through the trips of Venetian merchants and a century later, through the Crusades to the Holy Land, this food is known throughout the Christian world.

The artichoke (the name is Arabic) was used by the Greeks and the Romans, who introduced it throughout the Empire. The Arabs popularized it.

The albóndigas (meatball) also has an Arabic name, but they are a popular Roman invention that was already known in Roman Hispania.


It is very easy to fall into admiration for an interesting and highly promoted cuisine and culture today, but there was a previous one, which survived and developed: The cuisine of the convents and monasteries, which were as with the rest of the culture in general, who kept and preserved them for later generations, an identical phenomenon occurred in France with the Cistercian monasteries, which –among other cultural and gastronomic wonders - They created the Bordeaux vineyards and left us their famous wine. A thanks to them!!.

https://www.heraldo.es/noticias/gastronomia/2013/04/21/las-mejores-recetas-de-los-frailes-recogidas-en-un-libro-205917.html

Capuchin eggs or friar's cod are some of the almost 150 recipes collected by the historian and university professor of gastronomy Jaume Fàbrega in his book 'Cuina monàstica' (Monastic cuisine), in which he explains the best dishes prepared in convents and monasteries from Catalonia, Aragon, Castilla, Mallorca, Portugal and Italy.

Fàbrega, author of 65 books and four gastronomic encyclopedias, has captured in 'Cuina monàstica' more than 30 years of research in archives and libraries, where he has documented recipes from the 13th to the 19th century with dishes prepared in monastic pots.

"The friars have always been the best cooks, very good gourmets and thanks to them we have preserved, to a large extent, traditional Mediterranean cuisine," said Fàbrega, who is now immersed in the writing of a book on "aphrodisiac cuisine".

Reviewing the recipes collected, Fàbrega has discovered that "the traditional ones are sometimes more innovative than those of Ferran Adrià, because they propose unusual combinations, such as the aromas of sea and mountains or the imaginative use of spices," he explained.

Perhaps it refers to dishes such as sobrasada with honey, duck with quince, squids stuffed with meat, fish with sweet and sour sauce and nuts ('barborada') or apples stuffed with meat, which are some of the recipes that are detailed in the book.

Fàbrega, who this year has decided to give himself for its 65th anniversary the publication of five books with five different publishers, places 'Cuina monàstica' within a trilogy that completes with 'La cuina marinera de la Costa Brava' (Ed. Farell), and 'L'essència de la cuina catalana' (Ed. Comanegre).

In 'Cuina monàstica' (Ed. Mediterrània), Fàbrega discovers through manuscripts that the friars "were great professional chefs and have meant the continuity of Catalan cuisine". "If it weren't for them, we would have lost her," he explains.

"They are the memory of Catalan cuisine, which was the first in Europe in the Middle Ages. Already at that time, through the Franciscan Francesc Eiximenis they proposed the first manual of gastronomy and wines in Europe; they link medieval cuisine with modern and lay the foundations for this ", added Fàbrega, professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).

"They were the ones who introduced the products of America, those who have preserved plant species in their gardens, have investigated agriculture and enology, and have exchanged the best seeds among monasteries," he indicated. "The monks conserved the cultivation of the vineyard and the oenological techniques, we can consider them the custodians of the wine: western cuisine is precisely based on the culture of wine", according to Fàbrega.

"Some orders prevented religious from consuming meat, which was replaced by fish (...) On the other hand, wine was never excluded: being punished for bread and water was the worst punishment that there could be," recalls the gastronomic scholar, who resides in Banyoles (Gerona) and who has documented that the religious "were excellent and refined gourmets, lovers of the most delicious delicacies".

The book, which includes the oldest recipe, from the 13th century, from the monastery of Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona), includes dishes made by Franciscans, Capuchins, Cistercians, Jesuits, Discalced Carmelites, Benedictines and Augustinians.

Fàbrega recalls that the monks have always cultivated their own garden to have quality and fresh products and that they also received, like the feudal lords, products from the farmers, who gave them the best hams, or had rights over fishing, as in the case of the Amer Convent (Girona).

The case of spirits is another example of monastic sybaritism. Fàbrega remembers that the elaboration of distillates was a prerogative of the clergymen because they were thought to be medicinal. The 'Chartreuse', the 'Bénedictine' or the 'Aromas de Montserrat' are some examples of 'religious' liqueurs that are still on the market today.



Isabel Moro tells us about the importance of the gastronomic work that monasteries have had throughout history, turned into great centers of knowledge during medieval times, archives of knowledge (and flavor) of a kitchen forgotten today.

If the cuisine of the popular classes, the vast majority of Extremadurans of all time, has been that reduced pastoral diet reinforced with the winter pout, more or less illustrated by mantanza according to the possibilities of each domestic economy, it existed, as a counterpoint in Extremadura, from the end of the Middle Ages, a gastronomic culture that together with the cuisine of the royal houses, was the pinnacle of European culinary art.

http://www.revistamadreselva.com/38/cocina-de-los-monasterios

The subject of Spanish cuisine is very complex, and it is not possible to speak of a specific influence on our cuisine. Spain is in the Mediterranean, in the Atlantic, near Africa, it receives influences from Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans, Celts, Franks, Nordic and Germanic peoples, and after these from Arabs and Jews. Three different ways of eating and cooking, with three different religions and cultures that impose or suggest different norms, sometimes totally opposite, merge, a very rare phenomenon in the world. During the Arab domination, the Hispanic kingdoms did not lose their cultures, thanks to which some culinary cultural elements could be maintained as before, other times merged and other times mixed to result in something typically Spanish, without being said to be Arab, Jewish or Castilian, it is simply Spanish.



Personal note:

Years ago, since restaurants and cookbooks specialized in themes or cultures began to exist, I began to miss fewer restaurants and books dedicated exclusively to the cuisine of convents and monasteries, which I began to know many years ago and to appreciate. Napoleon also knew it, and more than one famous French recipe was brought to France by his generals, and today they are considered exclusively French ...
 
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Joe.Iozzi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Portuguese, Camino del Norte,
In response the the comment that carrots didn't exist in Western Europe in the Charlemagne's time: "When they were first cultivated, carrots were grown for their aromatic leaves and seeds rather than their roots. Carrot seeds have been found in Switzerland and Southern Germany dating back to 2000–3000 BC.[8]"
8. Rubatsky, Quiros & Siman (1999), p. 6
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
In response the the comment that carrots didn't exist in Western Europe in the Charlemagne's time: "When they were first cultivated, carrots were grown for their aromatic leaves and seeds rather than their roots. Carrot seeds have been found in Switzerland and Southern Germany dating back to 2000–3000 BC.[8]"
8. Rubatsky, Quiros & Siman (1999), p. 6
The Latin word used in Charlemagne's list is carvitas, and a list of translations offers this: Daucus carota L. / Möhre / Peen / carotte sauvage / carrot. Source is a place near Aachen in Germany where they set up a Charlemagne garden, see here (in German only). However, it is not possible to determine without doubt whether these names relate to plants we grow and commonly eat today.

There are also recipes for food that Charlemagne ate or would have liked to eat, including potato salad with herbs from the list 🤭, yummy. I'm sure he would have liked it.

Charlemagne's relics are kept in Aachen, after his death it became an important pilgrimage site. Aachen is said to have been one of his favourite places to stay. He didn't have a capital city in his empire, the Frankish kings were constantly on the move from one place to the next. Hence the importance to have a vast network of bases where he and his court could stay and obtain food and other provisions.
 
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Mike Blackard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF -Sept.-Oct 2018 , CF Aug- Oct 2019
(CF or VdlP summer/fall 2020)
Yes, If there were five- star Michelin restaurants in "Spain" at the time (814) of Alfonso II, they all would have been in the south controlled by the Islamic rulers,

What many folk do not know from history, is that the real culture in "Spain" in the 9th century (when the Apostle was discovered) was centered in the Caliphate of Cordoba to the south. Something I am working on -exclusive preview to Camino forum readers.

I will privately email the first 19 chapters of the book (like Dickens did in the London papers - one chapter at a time each day) if you send me email contacts privately -I need critical readers!) Particularly history buffs like JabbaPappa, Raggy, Dave Bugg, Pelegrin, Turga and Tincatrinker, but also anyone that reads and can contribute constructive criticism. In the time of this virus - we need daily contact - 19 chapter in 19 days starting 4/5.
Terry, I would love to get on your mailing list. mike_blackard@hotmail.com
I'm also interested in how pilgrims paid for food and lodging 1000 years ago. My understanding is that many pilgrims were making the pilgrimage to get a papal indulgence without having to pay lots of money to the Pope. So for the poor sinners of the middle ages, this was one way of getting your free get out of jail and into heaven" card. That being said, who had enough liquid cash (gold / silver ? ) to pay for a round trip pilgrimage?
We all tend to forget that they all had to turn around and walk back home from Santiago. No banks, no ATMs, no light weight paper money, no credit cards. I can see why there were bandits hiding in the woods.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
from @gmag's text: ""The friars have always been the best cooks, very good gourmets and thanks to them we have preserved, to a large extent, traditional Mediterranean cuisine," said Fàbrega, who is now immersed in the writing of a book on "aphrodisiac cuisine". "

I am presuming that there will not be much crossover from a book on monastic cuisine with one on "aphrodisiac cuisine."
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
Caught out in the open, some may have resorted to rabbits / chicken on a skewer...
And how was poching and pilfering of such items and household animals rated in the Middle Ages.
Not all pilgrims were lawabiding , one should think ! And consequences not so lenient !?
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Medieval cooking and cuisine has long been a hobby of mine. That's why I happened to have a fourteenth century Catalan cookbook on my bookshelf for easy reference. I'd be happy to go on an on about it - about the influence of cooking from the Islamic civilization on Christian European cuisine, on the similarities and differences between the cooking in the different regions of Europe, how the cuisine changed over the course of the middle ages, the effects of the humoural theories on recipe and menu design, and so on. I recognize that isn't the focus of these forums. But if anyone wants to take this to personal messages, I'm willing. :)
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
The consumption of pork was the most common, but not the cow or the veal.

An interesting book on this subject is 'The Medieval Cookbook' by Maggie Black, with recipes. The cookbook presents the original recipes as well as their modern adaptations to prepare them.
There are so many books on the subject! There were a lot fewer when I started following it some thirty-five years ago.

I said I wouldn't go on and on, but I couldn't resist responding to the bit about which meats are consumed. One thing I've found interesting is the change in tastes over which animals are eaten young and which are eaten old. If I look at grocery stores and restaurant menus today, I can see lamb but not mutton, goat but not kid. If I look at the recipes in medieval cookbooks, it is precisely the opposite: you see recipes for mutton and not lamb, kid and not goat.
 

David61

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2019
Frances (2020)
You are going to startle some folks who think the Camino only began with "The Way". To them, the question would be, "What did Martin Sheen eat?"
;)
Not tapas, roast lamb (cordeiro) or oranges as far as I recall.
 

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
Mushrooms, wild asparagus and crumbled old bread, gently fried in a little salted pork fat. Yum.
This recipe is great and simple to make. I'll give it a try sometime with my own twist of a sprinkling of goats milk cheese on top?
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Not tapas, roast lamb (cordeiro) or oranges as far as I recall.
If there was so much as a bowl of crisps, peanuts, olives on the table in any single scene ; then that's at least one tapa.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
If I look at grocery stores and restaurant menus today, I can see lamb but not mutton, goat but not kid. If I look at the recipes in medieval cookbooks, it is precisely the opposite: you see recipes for mutton and not lamb, kid and not goat.
I agree David that there has been a migration in popular meat eating but in my local Farmers Market, at least until Lockdown (now there's a word for next years edition of Chambers), I can buy both Mutton and Kid-meat. The Goat-milk and Cheese-makers need an outlet for the Little-Billies and the Sheep farmers are trying to get a return on barren ewes. Popular consumption evolves constantly. It would be a wide-eyed Apprentice these days who got served Oysters 4 days a week.

But @RENSHAW "What did Pilgrims eat 1000 years ago?" There's been some fun debate about the availability of flesh, fowl & good red-herring (oh, and Carrots). My feeling is the most accurate answer would be "whatever they could get" but probably Sopa, Lentejas y pan. Recipe? Put whatever you have in a pan, cook it, eat it ;)
 
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Camino(s) past & future
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
But @RENSHAW "What did Pilgrims eat 1000 years ago?" There's been some fun debate about the availability of flesh, fowl & good red-herring (oh, and Carrots). My feeling is the most accurate answer would be "whatever they could get" but probably Sopa, Lentillas y pan. Recipe? Put whatever you have in a pan, cook it, eat it ;)
YES!!!!!!!!!, so easy, sure. 😂
 
Camino(s) past & future
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
from @gmag's text: ""The friars have always been the best cooks, very good gourmets and thanks to them we have preserved, to a large extent, traditional Mediterranean cuisine," said Fàbrega, who is now immersed in the writing of a book on "aphrodisiac cuisine". "

I am presuming that there will not be much crossover from a book on monastic cuisine with one on "aphrodisiac cuisine."
Who knows! There are many ways to achieve holiness ... and Saint Teresa of Jesus said that God is in the kitchen ...😇
 

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
I found this 1966 gem of a book last year at a car boot sale. Many of the recipes would have been made a thousand years ago , I will look for the best one to share. What I did notice is just how many dishes had butter added or at the very least , lard. Has anyone bought butter recently - twice the price of that substitute carcinogenic yellow brake fluid that we use as spread today?? BOB 2020AX 001.JPG
 

Stroller

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2015), Frances (2016)
Yes, I haven't eaten that "carcinogenic yellow brake fluid" for years. I both eat it and cook with it at times.
 

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
Yes, I haven't eaten that "carcinogenic yellow brake fluid" for years. I both eat it and cook with it at times.
Right , I know that it is just a tad off the OP but from now on I am only going to buy butter and cut my consumption in half , thus spending the same.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Muxia-Fisterra, 2017
Portuguese, 2018, (Catalan, April 2019, VdlP 2020)
@RENSHAW great question. Any excuse to think about food is good for me.

A 1000 years ago, in Northern Iberia, right at the outset of the Camino. Interesting times.

Protein: meat, fowl, fish, shellfish all available but in relatively limited quantities and, without refrigeration, caught and killed and cooked that day or salted;
Lentils & chickpeas (possibly);
Milk, cheese & eggs (but of course every time you eat the egg you don't get to eat the chicken).
Carbs: in the North of Spain, mostly Barley, some Kimmer, some wheat.
Veg: Cabbage (various), Turnip/Beets, Onions (what did the Romans do for....) No carrots, peppers, chillis, beans, parsnip.

So, a couple of recipes.

Roast some Barley in a dry skillet till it smells like roasted nuts. Cool. Crack gently in a pestle & mortar or between two boards. Blow away the chaff.

Put some lard, butter, or Olive Oil if you are rich, in a pan and sweat some chopped onion if you have any. When soften add the kibbled Barley and a ladle of stock, stir. Keep adding stock and stirring until the Barley is soft. Add chopped greens. Serve when the greens have wilted.

Put in a sauce pan oil, broth, finely chopped leeks, herbs & spices, cured pork shoulder, cut into long strips including the skin. Cook, gently, till you can pierce the skin. Add apples cleaned, the core removed, slice lengthwise and cook them together: meanwhile crush pepper, cumin, green coriander, or seeds, mint, moistened with vinegar and honey, add to this the broth of the above morsels. Boil, skim, strain over the sprinkle with pepper and serve.

This recipe works for just about any meat or fowl. Substitute turnip, Alexander root, Parsley root or any other starchy root you can forage depending on time of year. My favourite version is Rabbit & Alexander root but I have both locally available. Drink the broth, eat the meat. Give thanks ;)
@RENSHAW great question. Any excuse to think about food is good for me.

A 1000 years ago, in Northern Iberia, right at the outset of the Camino. Interesting times.

Protein: meat, fowl, fish, shellfish all available but in relatively limited quantities and, without refrigeration, caught and killed and cooked that day or salted;
Lentils & chickpeas (possibly);
Milk, cheese & eggs (but of course every time you eat the egg you don't get to eat the chicken).
Carbs: in the North of Spain, mostly Barley, some Kimmer, some wheat.
Veg: Cabbage (various), Turnip/Beets, Onions (what did the Romans do for....) No carrots, peppers, chillis, beans, parsnip.

So, a couple of recipes.

Roast some Barley in a dry skillet till it smells like roasted nuts. Cool. Crack gently in a pestle & mortar or between two boards. Blow away the chaff.

Put some lard, butter, or Olive Oil if you are rich, in a pan and sweat some chopped onion if you have any. When soften add the kibbled Barley and a ladle of stock, stir. Keep adding stock and stirring until the Barley is soft. Add chopped greens. Serve when the greens have wilted.

Put in a sauce pan oil, broth, finely chopped leeks, herbs & spices, cured pork shoulder, cut into long strips including the skin. Cook, gently, till you can pierce the skin. Add apples cleaned, the core removed, slice lengthwise and cook them together: meanwhile crush pepper, cumin, green coriander, or seeds, mint, moistened with vinegar and honey, add to this the broth of the above morsels. Boil, skim, strain over the sprinkle with pepper and serve.

This recipe works for just about any meat or fowl. Substitute turnip, Alexander root, Parsley root or any other starchy root you can forage depending on time of year. My favourite version is Rabbit & Alexander root but I have both locally available. Drink the broth, eat the meat. Give thanks ;)
Thank you for your inspiration, Tincatinker. We decided to reproduce this today, with only the food available at the time: no potatoes, no tomatoes, no rice. So, here we go with Pork, Lentils, Mushrooms, Onions, Root Veg, Apples and a rustic loaf, baked by my daughter Charlotte. It was an experiment, but it was bloody lovely!!!!
 

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