Remember that post I did a while back when I talked all about Old World/New World foods? I mentioned that I added potatoes to some of my favorite Westerosi dishes, like Roast Aurochs with Leeks, because in GRRM’s writings there are already a lot of other New World foods in Westeros. After all, beans, squash, pumpkins, pecans, and corn are all post-Columbus (and thus unknown in Medieval Europe) but make an appearance in Westeros.
Well, it turns out that at least on HBO’s Game of Thrones, potatoes do in fact exist in Westeros.
Well, after taking some time to process it, I guess I can go ahead and say (officially) that I am not going to the police academy this year. I just wasn’t high enough on the list, I guess. But the people involved in the process have been highly encouraging and supportive towards me, and so I will make another effort whenever they put together another class, either later this year or early next year.
In the meantime, it has been a humbling experience to get back into the job hunt full-time. And to be honest, a little depressing. But since I am Mr. Silver Lining, I am trying to find the bright side of the experience and move on.
So there’s a few things I am doing to keep myself entertained while I continue the (seemingly eternal) job hunt.
A few weeks ago my friend Teri sent me a link to something she thought would interest me – A Cozinha Mediaeval, or in English – the Medieval Kitchen. I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered it sooner – a web site that combines two of my favorite things: Portuguese cuisine and medieval history. Yet another reason for me to keep working on my Portuguese language skills, which are quite poor, sadly.
I have not yet had the chance to try any of the recipes that are on the site, but there are so many that look absolutely delicious: carne estufada (called stewed beef but actually a beef rib dish); and arroz frutado (a rice dish with fruit and almonds) are two of my favorites so far. And the site doesn’t stop with just recipes. There is a wealth of other information as well, such as senhor Djalma’s excellent essay on the myths of medieval cuisine and his review of a 15th century Portuguese cookbook that was reprinted in 1963 by the Portuguese Ministry of Culture.
I used the mutton stew recipe I mentioned yesterday to make this, but I did make one change: I added yellow carrots, which would certainly have been known in Europe by the late middle ages. Orange would not become the typical carrot color for a few more centuries. Red would also have been common, but those are a little more difficult to come by these days, at least outside of a farmer’s market full of heirloom gardeners. It just felt like the stew needed something besides meat, an egg, and seasoning.
Note to self: get a better background for medieval cooking photos.
This week has become one snow event after another, and we are starting to actually run out of places to put the snow when we shovel. There are really only two piles: the big one on the other side of our trash and recycling bins, between them and the neighbor’s fence; and the small one in this little corner between the steps and the house, where there is a stump I want dead anyway. So the little pile is getting close to its maximum practical size, and the other one has reached the height of the bushes. And trying to chip away all the melted, compacted snow that had refrozen as ice all over the walk and steps took almost an hour of hard work. Thirty degrees outside and I was sweating.
My big project this week has been the kitchen. I have wanted to do a major cleaning for a while now, and it’s as good a time as any. This also gives me a chance to do some reorganizing since I have a good idea now of what new kitchen items (I mean post-wedding) get used more often than others. So my electric griddle gets put somewhere that makes it easier to use, for example. The clam boil pot, as much as I love it, might get used once or twice a year and so it can go somewhere out of the way.
Anyway, as I was cleaning yesterday Scratch decided he was going to “help” by heading up to his new cat bed, up on the freezer. Now, before I get into this too deeply, some background is required.
The snow has begun, and we have already gotten a few inches, slowly and steadily, over the past 12 hours or so. I already shoveled the steps once this afternoon and already you can’t tell I ever did it. Even early this morning when I got up to make breakfast before Kelly had to go to work, we already had enough snow to coat everything outside.
And now they are saying we may get even more than they originally thought. I will get some pictures tomorrow once it has more or less finished.
In the meantime, I am doing some Portuguese home cooking. Maybe I will do some pictures of that too.
I promised I would post a picture if I managed to make anything that came out reasonably tasty, and so here you go. This is the Pork Pie recipe from A Feast of Ice and Fire, but made with a “Ground Sausage” from one of those companies that make meat substitutes. It came out delicious, despite my inability to do the top crust correctly (hopefully do better next time).
Anyway, I think I might try something else this week.
Happy Thankgiving everyone! And happy Hannukah too!
Thanksgiving is next week, and for those of us who love to cook, this is one of the absolute best times of year. And ever since I decided to explore medieval cuisine, I have been wanting to try new dishes, and so I have been collecting books on the subject (and not just Chelsea and Sariann’s awesome Game of Thrones cookbook). Thank goodness for ABE Books, or else I would never have been able to find many of these, or afford them once I did find them.