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September 26, 2006

Feast Ingredients

Getting Herb in Berkeley:

Squab (young pigeon) and Poussin (young or spring chicken)

September 19, 2006

Slightly Post Period Chocolate Drink

Juana Isabella posted this on West-cooks yahoogroup.


Slightly Post Period Chocolate Drink


I got the information below from page 36 and 37 of The Feudal
Gourmet: A Brief Overview of Early Spanish Cuisine, edited by Eden
Rain, published by the Madrone Culinary Guild.

The source Eden used was from "Chocolate: or, An Indian Drinke."
London, 1652, by Capt. John Wadsworth. Apparently a translation of a
book by Melchor de Lara, "Physitian General for the Kingdome of
Spaine", 1631. This is available on-line at
http://jducoeur.org/justin/chocolate.txt Not all of the article at
that URL is quoted below. What is quoted below is what appeared in
the Madrone pamphlet.

"The Receipt of him who wrote at Marchena, is this: Of Cacaos, 700,
of white Sugar, one pound and a halfe, Cinnamon, 2. ounces; of long
red pepper, 14, of Cloves, halfe an ounce: Three Cods of the Logwood
or Campeche tree; or in steade of that, the weight of 2 Reals, or a
shilling of Anniseeds; as much of Agiote, as will give it the colour,
which is about the quantity of a Hasellnut. Some put in Almons,
kernells of Nuts, and Orenge-flower-water.

Concerning this Receipt I shall first say, This shooe will not fit
every foote; but for those, who have diseases, or are inclining to be
infirme, you may either adde, or take away, according to the
necessity, and temperature of every one: and I hold it not amisse,
that Sugar be put into it, when it is drunke, so that it be according
to the quantity I shall hereafter set downe. And sometimes they make
Tablets of the Sugar, and the Chocolate together: which they doe
onely to please the Pallats, as the Dames of Mexico do use it; and
they are there sold in shops, and are confected and eaten like other

How to make use of the Chocolate, to be taken as a drinke, exceeding
cordiall for the comfort of the healthfull, and also for those in
weaknesse and Consumptions, to be dissolved in Milke or Water. If you
please to take it in milke, to a quart, three ounces of Chocolate
will be sufficient: Scrape your Chocolate very fine, put it into your
milke when it boiles, work it very well with the Spanish Instrument
called Molenillo between your hands: which Instrument must be of
wood, with a round knob made very round, and cut ragged, that as you
turne it in your hands, the milke may froth and dissolve the
Chocolate the better: then set the milke on the fire againe, untill
it be ready to boyle: having the yelke of two eggs well beaten with
some of the hot milke; then put your eggs into the milke, and
Chocolate and Sugar, as much as you like for your taste, and worke
all together with the Molenillo, and thus drinke a good draught: or
if you please you may slice a little Manchet into a dish, and so eate
it for a breakfast: you may if you please make your Chocolate with
Water and Sugar, working it after the same order with your Molenillo,
which for some weake stomacks may chance to be better liked. And many
there be that beat Almonds, and strayne them into the water it is
boyled, and wrought with the Chocolate and Sugar: others like to put
the yelkes of eggs as before in the milke, and ever sweeten it with
Sugar to your taste: If you drinke a good draught of this in a
morning, you may travel all the day without any other thing, this is
so Substantiall and Cordiall."

Using Cocoa Beans

Since the recipe gives the amount of cocoa in number of beans, the
first hurdle is to determine what amount of beans is equivalent to
what weight. Several years ago a friend of mine in the salvage
business gave me a large quantity of raw cocoa beans.

To get as close as possible to a period chocolate drink, you should
start with cocoa beans if at all possible. The modern processes to
which chocolate is subjected are just that, modern … they were not
used in period. They do serve a useful purpose; chocolate in its
natural state does not emulsify. It remains particulate and granular.
This is why period sources admonish the drinker to stir frequently.

It is now possible to get broken cocoa beans from Scharffen Berger
Chocolate http://www.scharffenberger.com/products/nibs/ These broken
beans have already had the hulls removed, so you need not worry about
that step. I have used both whole raw beans and the Scharffen Berber
Cocoa Nibs. They are both tasty. The Cocoa Nibs are easier to come by.

Raw cocoa beans have hulls on them. You must gently roast the beans,
let them cool and then manually remove the hulls. It is best to get
your oven warm, spread the beans in a single layer on a cookie sheet,
and leave them in the warm oven overnight. Do not try to speed up the
process by using a higher temperature or a larger quantity of beans.
I lost a large quantity of beans that way … they were burnt and had
to be thrown out.


130 shelled cocoa beans weighs 5 ounces. I had some additional ground
beans from an earlier project so I mixed those with the freshly
roasted beans. This came to 10 ounces. The proportions I came up with
were as follows:

10 oz Shelled cocoa beans
9 oz Sugar
.2 oz cloves
¾ oz cinnamon
½ oz anise
½ tsp annatto*
½ cup ground blanched almonds
2 Tbl. orange flower water
5 red chili peppers (I used long red ones about the length of a thumb)

Most of the redactions I have seen use annatto in place of agiote.
Annatto is the same thing as agiote. Annatto is a red coloring agent.
Annatto can be found at any store that has a reasonably large spice
collection. In San Francisco I would recommend Rainbow Grocery.

In making this mixture, I used all of my grinding machines; the spice
grinder, the small food processor and the large food processor. The
chilies and the annatto seem to work best if you run them through the
small food processor first and then the spice grinder. I used the
large food processor to mix all the ingredients together.

Mixing the Drink

Boil one quart of milk.
Add three ounces of chocolate mix.
Stir with the molenillo.
Return the milk to the fire.
Add two egg yolks to the drink.
Mix them in with the molenillo.

This can also be made with almond milk instead of real milk.

What is a Molenillo?

This is a tool which can still be purchased in Mexico. That's where
mine came from. When I visited El Escorial in Spain (Phillip II's
palace) I was pleased to see a molenillo on display among the kitchen

This is a wooden stick with a knob at the end that goes in the
beverage and a loose ring and arched hollows down near the knob. If
you don't have one, a whisk should work fine. Regardless of which
tool you use, stick it in the drink and hold the handle between your
palms. Rub your palms together back and forth as if to warm them.
This will cause the tool to spin in the drink and mix the chocolate.

Solid Chocolates?

"And sometimes they make Tablets of the Sugar, and the Chocolate
together: which they doe onely to please the Pallats, as the Dames of
Mexico do use it; and they are there sold in shops, and are confected
and eaten like other sweet-meats."

I would imagine that the simplest way to create these tablets is to
increase the amount of orange flower water which is added to the
mixture. If more liquid is added, the mix would become more of a
solid mass rather than the powder you get with my recipe. I have not
yet tried this.


Please feel free to pass this information along to anyone who may
enjoy it. However, please do not cut out my reference to Eden Rain
and the Madrone Culinary Guild. Her hard work is appreciated and all
of the pamphlets in the Feudal Gourmet series are very useful.

Additional Uses

The chocolate mix also makes a yummy base for a mole sauce … not
period in the SCA context but quite yummy. Cook with onions, garlic,
salt, additional chopped chilis, nuts if you like (pistachios are
particularly good), a bit of water and chicken. Stew until done and
wrap in a flour or corn tortilla.

Future Experiments

I'd like to experiment with the Mexican cone sugar and try refining
it via the process described in the Manual de Mujuers and see if that
makes any difference.

September 14, 2006

Camp Kitchen

Very cool camp kitchen setup:
Found here: http://www.roguehaven.org/Events/Estrella2004/Kitchen.jpg

From author (valentinepeter@hotmail.com):
Also, we incorporated our need for coolers as "ice-boxes" which allow
us to place blocks of ice or dry ice in the top with shelves for the food
in them as the "base" of the kitchen, and then place a wood counter-top
over them and top that with folding kitchen boxes that are pre-stocked
with spices, paper towels, tools and utensils needed for cooking.

Image from the Siege of Florence Fresco 1530:

September 12, 2006



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