hist-brewing: Cornish Braggot-part 1b

adam larsen euphonic at flash.net
Sun May 28 10:06:35 PDT 2000


    In light of recent inquiries that i have received i feel the need to
jump the gun a bit and provide some information that was intended for
part 2 of the Cornish Braggot thread.  I have included below some recent
correspondence that i believe will shed some light on a few points of
concern.  The inquiries and my responses are as follows:

Tim Bray wrote:

> Adam - This certainly sounds like a great recipe and I would love to
try
> it, but I do have some questions about the provenance and dating.
>
> First, I take it that the version you have translated was written out
in
> English?
>
> Second, a 1355 date seems dubious if the recipe actually calls for
"brown
> sugar" and especially "vanilla beans," as the latter are New World.
Late
> 1500's is theoretically possible for these ingredients, but specifying

> brown sugar still seems unlikely.
>
> I'm not trying to be picky, I am just curious as to the actual origin
of
> this recipe.  If it truly comes from the 14th century, that would be
> fantastic.
>
> Thanks for all the great info in your series of posts - can't wait to
try
> some of them!
>
> Cheers,
> Tim Bray
> Albion, CA

Hello,

    Thanks for your interest.  I think i should tell you that their is
no
need to worry about being fussy as your questions are reasonable.
First
off the recipe was written in Cornish and was translated by George
Donnsby, a
direct descendent of  the author.   The measurements were made into
contemporary American measurements by a fellow antiquarian/brewer Paul
Filby.  The recipe actual calls for something called "blacked sugar"
which i
just assumed was comparable to brown sugar although i don't know for
sure.
Also, the vanilla was, according to the version i saw,  thought to a
great
modern addition made by the transcriber during the late 1500's when the
present version of the recipe was made.   The transcriber also went to
great
pains to point out that cloves were a terrible bother to obtain and
suggested that they be replaced with something called "fennis pepper"
which i
have no idea what it was.
    All these points and a few more were going to be placed in part 2
of  the
braggot Cornish series.  Although it would appear that "the gun has been

jumped" as they say in America.
Hopefully this information is helpful

Adam
-------------------------------
Michael Newton wrote:

       Here is where I have some questions. I have no idea when the
battle of Litchfeld was, but I doubt that it was written in 1355 due to
the spice ingredients. Vanilla is found in South America, so either the
recipe is post Columbus (latter half of 1400's) or vanilla was added in
later by someone else (does the recipe seem to be written by one or more
people?)

        Where the heck did you find some Carduus Benedictus? and more
importantly, how can I get ahold  of some?

        Could you give me some info on the buck bean? genus, that sort
of thing? I can't seem to find anything on it.

        Beatrix

        (who is interested in doing the recipe, but wants to do some
research first)

 From:
            adam larsen <euphonic at flash.net>
        To:
            Michael Newton <melcnewt at netins.net>

    Your points along with many others were going to be dealt with in
the second
installment because their is just too much detail to cover in one post.
The vanilla was, according to the version i saw,  thought to a great
modern addition made by the transcriber during the late 1500's when the
present version was made.   The transcriber also went to great pains to
point out that cloves were a terrible bother to obtain and  suggested
that they be replaced with something called "fennis pepper" which i have
no idea what it was.
    Buck bean is also known as Menyanthes trifoliata. It was a bittering
and anti septic agent that was best loved in Germany and the Nordic
countries.  Although it was some what common in Albion Yarrow was a more
popular ingredient.
    The Battle of Litchfeld was fought in 955 between the Germans and
the Hungarians. I assume that the Otto in the recipe's title was taken
from the German commander of  the forces in opposition to the
Hungarians.  An interesting point to consider is that the Germans
managed to raise support for the campaign from France and several
Northern European nations although i don't know if any volunteers
came from England.  It was a rather pivotal event in European history
although i find it  bizarre that a Cornish Brewer would care so long
after the fact.  Regardless though i can only speculate as to what
sources the transcriber used and his motivations.  Perhaps they were
religious?   Personally i am of the
opinion that the recipe evolved quite a bit from what ever it's first
incarnation was like.
    In so far as the Carduus is concerned i think i'll put together a
list of state side sources for gruit herbs like carduus, horehound, bog
bean, eyebright etc. if  more  interest is  expressed.  If you can't
wait just tell me and i'll give you a source or two for carduus.




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