Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Chocolate: or, An Indian Drinke

CHOCOLATE: OR, An Indian Drinke. By the wise and Moderate use whereof, Health is preserved, Sicknesse Diverted, and Cured, especially the Plague of the Guts; vulgarly called The New Disease; Fluxes, Consumptions, & Coughs of the Lungs, with sundry other desperate Diseases. By it also, Conception is Caused, the Birth Hastened and facilitated, Beauty Gain’d and continued. Written Originally in Spanish, by Antonio Colmenero of Ledesma, Doctor in Physicke, and faithfully rendred in the English, By Capt. James Wadsworth. [1652]

Thanks to Dr. Colmenero here, I now know so many more things about the health benefits of chocolate than I did before!

The vertues thereof are no lesse various, then Admirable. For, besides that it preserves Health, and makes such as drink it often, Fat, and Corpulent, faire and Amiable, it vehemently Incites to Venus, and causeth Conception in women, hastens and facilitates their Delivery: It is an excellent help to Digestion, it cures Consumptions, and the Cough of the Lungs, the New Disease, or Plague of the Guts, and other Fluxes, the Green Sicknesse, Jaundise, and all manner of Inflamations, Opilations, and Obstructions. It quite takes away the Morphew, Cleanseth the Teeth, and sweetneth the Breath, Provokes Urine, Cures the Stone, and strangury, Expells Poison, and preserves from all infectious Diseases.

But more on that later!

I'm not good at photographing hot chocolate apparently.

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 even sweeten it with Sugar to your taste: If you drinke a good draught of this in a morning, you may travell all the day without any other thing, this is so Substantiall and Cordiall.

Dr. Colmenero's Hot Chocolate
1 qt. milk
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, pulverized in the food processor
2 egg yolks
1/2 C. sugar
White bread, preferably French bread or similar rather than Wonder.

Heat the milk in a pan.  When it begins to simmer, whisk in the chocolate.  If you want to use a molenillo, you can find them at Hispanic markets.  When the chocolate has melted, temper in the egg yolks.  Add sugar.  Drink, or pour over bread.

Verdict: DRINKABLE CHOCOLATE CUSTARD.  This tastes like what you imagined a ladleful of Willy Wonka's river to be like. I also made some Abuelita hot chocolate from my grocery store's Hispanic section for comparison, which isn't 100% fair but the best I could do.  To the surprise of no one, Dr. Colmenero's is the clear winner.  Full recommendation!  Now, let's discover the many ways chocolate can improve your life.  In rhyme!

To every Individuall Man, and Woman, Learn’d, or unlearn’d, Honest, or Dishonest: In the due Praise of Divine CHOCOLATE.

Doctors lay by your Irksome Books
And all ye Petty-Fogging Rookes
Leave Quacking; and Enucleate
The vertues of our Chocolate.

Let th’ Universall Medicine
(Made up of Dead-mens Bones and Skin,)
Be henceforth Illegitimate,
And yeild to Soveraigne-Chocolate.

Let Bawdy-Baths be us’d no more;
Nor Smoaky-Stoves but by the whore
Of Babilon: since Happy-Fate
Hath Blessed us with Chocolate.

Let old Punctæus Greaze his shooes
With his Mock-Balsome: and Abuse
No more the World: But Meditate
The Excellence of Chocolate.

Let Doctor Trigg (who so Excells)
No longer Trudge to Westwood-Wells:
For though that water Expurgate,
’Tis but the Dreggs of Chocolate.

Let all the Paracelsian Crew
Who can Extract Christian from Jew;
Or out of Monarchy, A State,
Breake àll their Stills for Chocolate.

Tell us no more of Weapon-Salve,
But rather Doome us to a Grave:
For sure our wounds will Ulcerate,
Unlesse they’re wash’d with Chocolate.

The Thriving Saint, who will not come
Within a Sack-Shop’s Bowzing-Roome
(His Spirit to Exhilerate)
Drinkes Bowles (at home) of Chocolate.

His Spouse when she (Brimfull of Sense)
Doth want her due Benevolence,
And Babes of Grace would Propagate,
Is alwayes Sipping Chocolate.

The Roaring-Crew of Gallant-Ones
Whose Marrow Rotts within their Bones:
Their Bodyes quickly Regulate,
If once but Sous’d in Chocolate.

Young Heires that have more Land then Wit,
When once they doe but Tast of it,
Will rather spend their whole Estate,
Then weaned be from Chocolate.

The Nut-Browne-Lasses of the Land
Whom Nature vayl’d in Face and Hand,
Are quickly Beauties of High-Rate,
By one small Draught of Chocolate.

Besides, it saves the Moneys lost
Each day in Patches, which did cost
Them deare, untill of Late
They found this Heavenly Chocolate.

Nor need the Women longer grieve
Who spend their Oyle, yet not conceive,
For ’tis a Helpe-Immediate,
If such but Lick of Chocolate.

Consumptions too (be well assur’d)
Are no lesse soone then soundly cur’d:
(Excepting such as doe Relate
Unto the Purse) by Chocolate.

Nay more: It’s vertue is so much,
That if a Lady get a Touch,
Her griefe it will Extenuate,
If she but smell of Chocolate.

The Feeble-Man, whom Nature Tyes
To doe his Mistresse’s Drudgeries;
O how it will his minde Elate,
If shee allow him Chocolate!

’Twill make Old women Young and Fresh;
Create New-Motions of the Flesh,
And cause them long for you know what,
If they but Tast of Chocolate.

There’s ne’re a Common Counsell-Man,
Whose Life would Reach unto a Span,
Should he not Well-Affect the State,
And First and Last Drinke Chocolate.

Nor e’re a Citizen’s Chast wife,
That ever shall prolong her Life,
(Whilst open stands Her Posterne-Gate)
Unlesse she drinke of Chocolate.

Nor dost the Levite any Harme,
It keepeth his Devotion warme,
And eke the Hayre upon his Pate,
So long as he drinkes Chocolate.

Both High and Low, both Rich and Poore
My Lord, my Lady, and his ——
With all the Folkes at Billingsgate,
Bow, Bow your Hamms to Chocolate.

-Don Diego de Vadesforte.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Virgin Hippocras

Forme of Cury [1390]

Hippocras is wine that has been spiced with "warm" spices, sweetened with honey or sugar, and strained.  It's medicinal, since all the spices correspond to warm, dry, choleric qualities.  So if you are feeling sanguine, melancholic, or phlegmatic, this will cure what ails you.  Since I am a teetotaler and have small children, I used the traditional teetotaler's substitute: Welch's grape juice.  Not the most authentic substitute, but one must work with what one has.  Don't judge me on this one, I bought long pepper, didn't I?  

These spices take some amount of work to find.  Luckily, I have a relative who lives near Savory Spice, This is my mix.  The only change is no spikenard or cinnamon flowers, but I did add cubebs. It smelled magnificent.  I warmed it overnight in my crockpot, then strained and chilled.

For more information on hippocras, please visit Ivan Day and OldCook.  Ivan Day even has a full list of all the spices you can use, so you make make your very own personal blend.

UR FAIT YPOCRAS Treys Unces de canett. & iii unces de gyngeuer. spykenard de Spayn le pays dun denerer, garyngale. clowes, gylofre. poeurer long, noiez mugadez. maziozame cardemonij de chescun i. quart' douce grayne & de paradys stour de queynel de chescun dim unce de toutes, soit fait powdour &c.

To make hippocras. Three ounces of cinnamon and three ounces of ginger. Spikenard of Spain the price of a denier, galangal, cloves, long pepper, nutmeg. Marjoram cardamom, a quarter ounce for each. Grains of paradise and cinnamon flower, a tenth ounce for each. So make the powder and use it.

Verdict: My five-year-old woke up and said, "What is that amazing smell?"  Both her and the two-year-old are chugging it like winos.  It's pretty spicy!  Anyone who said that medieval types had no conception of "hot food" has never had a good swig of this stuff.  Whew.  With alcohol, it would probably warm you right down to your bones.

Seeing as this is supposed to make a person feel choleric, I watched the children carefully to see if they were excitable, impulsive, restless, energetic, strong-willed, and full of a love of being charge.

They were.  It works!  SCIENCE.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

For to make Comyn

Forme of Cury [1300's]

Tak god Almaunde mylk and lat yt boyle and do ther'in amydoun wyth flowr of Rys and colowr yt wyth safroun and after dresse yt wyth graynis of Poungarnetts other wyth reysens zyf thow hast non other and tak sugur and do theryn and serve it forthe.

To make Comyn
Take good almond milk and let it boil and do therin almond with flour of rice and color it with saffron and after dress it with grains of pomegranates or with raisins if thou hast none other and take sugar and do therin and serve it forth.

Look it's a duck!

I decided to try and mold this, so I added quite a lot of rice flour to the almond milk and chilled it. I also didn't add almonds to the mix.

Verdict: One taster spit it out.  One taster dry-heaved.  The only person that took a second bite was me.  It tastes like paste, both hot and cold.  Maybe it would be salvageable with flavor added.  If you are into eating baby rice cereal.  You could probably just buy baby rice cereal to replicate this more easily.  Or... you could imagine it is polenta, serve it hot, and put really saucy meat on top.  That's up to you though, I'm not making this again ever.

About 15 minutes after unmolding, it started looking nasty.  The pomegranate seeds were enjoyed, though! And it was beautiful for several minutes!  So it was totally worth all the work carefully brushing the mold with almond oil, and making almond milk from scratch, and using saffron!  Right?  Right.

"I yike dese.  I not yike the lello.  It not yummy."

Thursday, December 8, 2016

To prepare chicken in rosemary

In the name of the Holy Trinity, I, Sabina Welserin, begin this cookbook.  God grant me His holy grace and wisdom and understanding and judgement with which I through his Holy will live here in this time and with Him forever.  Amen.  anno 1553. [Courtesy of David Friedman]

This German cookbook has slightly simpler recipes and slightly more sensible numbers of ingredients than the Forme of Curye.  This may be because the author is a member of the merchant class, rather than a cook to royalty.  So let's boil some more raw chicken!  HOORAY.  

To prepare chickens in rosemary. Set the chickens in broth, so that the broth completely covers the chickens. Let them cook about halfway and take rosemary, about the length a finger bone, from the bush. For a meal put a good handful on the chickens, but not too much, so that it does not become bitter. Take after that the livers from all the chickens, let them boil up in the broth and put some good mace therein. Let it cook together well, before you serve it.

Verdict: Rosemary + mace forever!  An unexpectedly great flavor combination.  I put chicken legs, broth, rosemary, and a sprinkle of mace in my InstantPot and cooked it 20 minutes because the chicken was still frozen.  Boiled chicken fat is just not okay, though.  Eaugh.

Not wanting to waste that delicious delicious broth, I picked all the meat off the leftover chicken pieces and put it back in.  The next day, I added rice, peas, and a squeeze of lemon and had fabulous soup.  Really, really good soup.  This combination is probably going into rotation with chicken noodle soup for the day after we have a rotisserie chicken for dinner.

For a 1553-appropriate fix, sear the chicken before boiling or skin it, then take it out when it is cooked and cook some cracked wheat in the broth, so it will be kind of like oatmeal texture.  You have made frumenty! Lay it out on a platter and serve the chicken on top.