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Friday, February 23, 2018

SALGUERA - WILLOW USED IN MEDICINE

Willow
Photo from: Tammy Jackson
sauce blanco, Leon palera, L. Salix atrocinerea, Fr. saule, Eng. common willow. This tree or bush is native to northern temperate areas and grows in humid areas or in marshlands. Its nectar flowers bloom in Spain from March through April.

By the 14th C, the predecessor of what is known as the willow, today, existed only on riverbanks in Europe. It was appreciated for its decorative effect and medicinal properties. The bark is extracted and used to reduce fever. like today’s aspirin.

Further, it was used to relieve rheumatism although today’s modern medicines are more effective. Still it is used as a sedative and administered in tonic form, by either letting the bark sit in water for half a day and then boiling it or marinating it. This is well chopped or ground into powder in wine and imbibed three times a day.

Dioscorides recommended the leaves, bark and sap as astringents. For iliac pains, he prescribed drinking the leaves ground with pepper and mixed with wine. He thought that drinking the seeds in a liquid would loosen the blood in the chest. The ashes of the bark were mixed with vinegar to make an ointment and applied warts and corns to make them disappear. For earaches, he recommended placing the bark and leaves in the rind of a pomegranate with pink oil and boiling it. Further, he claimed that the sap improved eyesight.


[Dialecto. 1947:284; Fernández Muñiz. 1994:186; and Silva. 1994:174]

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

SALERO - SALTCELLAR

Crystal Master Salt
Photo from: B. Bowen Carr
MEng nef, Eng saltcellar. When salt was scarce, only high nobility could afford it. From this came the expression “above the salt” as it was only served to the upper tables in the hall that were set on a platform.

Lords in England had huge saltcellars, usually in the shape of boats. They were placed on the table in front of them in the hall for banquets, to symbolize the extent of their hospitality as salt was necessary for life and its vital role in preservation.

The size of the saltcellar symbolized the status of the lord. Those of high status had the biggest saltcellars and were more hospitable than those of lower ranks.

Spaniards had such big saltcellars that some had wheels. In Spain salt was offered to all the guests. If there were many, bread was hollowed out and used as a saltcellar at the lower tables.

Eiximenis instructs that salt should be picked up with the point of the knife blade and placed on one side of the plate. It should never be put on the tablecloth he continues. Between meals salt cellars were kept covered and under lock and key. See sal. [Cejador. 1990:99; and Sanz 1967:15]


Monday, February 19, 2018

SALCHICHAS - SAUSAGES

Longanizas Made by Author
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Ar. mirkas, kroush mahshiei (stuffed intestines; mahshi, anything that is stuffed), Eng. sausages, salted meat. The Spanish word is derived from the Latin salsio, to salt.

The Berbers claim they introduced them into Spain long before the hot dog was invented in Frankfurt. The Romans, however, could have introduced them as they ate sausages. Apicius gives recipes for sweet or strong sausages. Recipes for Spanish sausages have varied little over the centuries consisting of chopped lean or fatty pork of pig.

Today, Spanish sausages are seasoned with white pepper, paprika, nutmeg with salt and local variations such as basil, sugar, garlic, coriander and/or cumin. In the Middle Ages, Spanish sausages contained minced meat mixed with garum, pepper, coriander, lavender and cinnamon as seen in the Anón Al-Andalus recipe for “mirkas.” Hispano Muslim and Jewish sausages were made with lamb or other meats except pork. Spanish Christians in general made pork sausages but Anón/Grewe provides recipes using fowl, lamb and goat.  Medieval Jews and Christians added wine before stuffing the mass in intestines.

The Author with
Sausages made by her 
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Sausages include chorizo (red pork sausage), longaniza (white sausage), morcilla (blood sausage) and salchicha (spiced sausage, in which ingredients vary according to the place where it is made). Of these there are various types: raw, bland and hard and regional variations. Sausages can be cured or smoked to last for a long time without having to be refrigerated. Formerly, as today, sausages are hung or preserved in ceramic jars. They can be boiled, fried or eaten raw.

 [Anón/Grewe. 1982:IIII:65; Anón/Huici.1966:1:15-16; Apicius/Flower. 1958:20:II:I:4:63:II:IV:69:II:V:1-4:69-71; Apicius/Liversidge. 1958:30; Castro. Alimentación. 1996:177:240:253 etc.; García Sánchez. 1992:149; Gitlitz. 1999:210; Pers. Memories. Slaughters Mostoles. 2000:2001:2003; Sanz. 1967:10; and Serradilla. 1993:63-66:70-74:91]

For a recipe for sausages by the Medieval Spanish Chef see blog titled "picado" published May 29, 2017.




Friday, February 16, 2018

SAL, SALT FOR PRESERVATION

salt. The necessity of salt has produced its incorporation into symbolism and rituals. Salt is the most essential ingredient in food preservation; even Egyptian mummies were preserved in salt.

During Biblical times, salt took on the meaning of permanence; therefore, the “covenant of salt” came into being. St. Mathew 5:13 states: “We are the salt of the earth.” Homer called salt “divine”. Salt played vital a role in the geographic locations of cities such as Rome, Cadiz, Spain, Tuzla in Bosnia-Herzegovina ("tuz," is salt in Turkish), and Salzburg, Austria. 

Salt Beds to Preserve Food Items
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Societies living on grain diets, as opposed to dairy products, need extra salt. Salarium argentum, special salt rations that were given to Roman soldiers were the forerunner of “sal-ary” or “salt-money” that Eton College boys annually begged for it to help pay their expenses. After gold, it was most appraised. Arabs thought salt was ‘as necessary in food as grammar in lecture.’ Salt was a sign of hospitality. With bread it was offered to guests, see salero. Contrary to popular belief it not was used more than sugar in the Middle Ages. Salt, however, did cause the success and the downfall of empires. Control of salt mines made or broke dynasties. Salt’s role in universal history cannot be taken with a grain of salt. Governmental decrees and salt taxes and other salty factors shaped history. Salt continued to be expensive until the 16th C. when Europeans reverted to the ancient Chinese method of drilling for it. It was not only the quest for spice but also salt that incited the Spanish government to finance Columbus’ search for new trade routes, explorations in South America and the expansion of territories in what now is the United States. 

During the reign of Philip II of Spain and Flanders (including of the Netherlands), the Dutch blockade against the importation of Spanish salt was a major contributing factor to Spain’s bankruptcy. Salt was a major cause of Spain’s disappearance as an empire. For overspending in the American Revolution, the French gabelle salt tax
) increased from 14 to 140 times the cost of production, from 1630 to 1710 thus becoming a major grievance leading to the French Revolution. During the French retreat from Moscow, most of Napoleons’ troops died due to of lack of salt their wounds did not heal. Salt helps digestion through saliva, reinforces the stomach and promotes beauty. It eases molar pain, bruises and stops bleeding. For food preservation also see adobo, geletina and aguasal. 

[ES: Figueroa. “Sal.” Jan 29, 03; ES “Gastronomia.” May 2, 03. ES: “Hïstory of Tuzla.” Mar 14, 02; ES: MRBLOCH. Mar 27, 02; ES: Salt. May 28, 2002; Martínez Llopis. “Prólogo” 1982:34; Sánchez-Albornoz. 2000:43-44; and Villena/Calero. 2002:115]


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

SACRIFICIOS, FIESTA DE LOS


Lamb
Photo from: Peter Neish 
Ar.‛Īd al-Adhā (“Sacrificial Festival”) or Ar. ‛Īd-Kabīr(“Great Festival”) Eng Festival of the Sacrifice, an Islamic festival celebrated on the 12th of the month of Dhul Hijfja in commorance of Ibrahim’s offer to sacrifice his son Ishmael (Christians and Jews believe it was Isaac, Ishmael´s brother). As God had a ram sacrificed, families slaughtered an animal instead of human beings. Festivities last for several days during which special dishes were served such as boiled wheat with milk in remembrance of Amin, the Prophet’s mother followed by main dish of lamb, dates and fruit.

As almost all festivities, this one ends with street dancing and singing into the wee hours of the morning during which the merrymakers sprinkle flower perfumes on each other. [Benavides-Barajas. Alhambra. 1999:54; and Van Dozel. 1994:100-101]

A DISH CALLED TAFAYA BLANCA ADAPTED FROM MARÍNS TRANSLATION OF IBN RAZĪN AL-TAĞĪBĪ’S RELIEVES DE LAS MESAS, ACERCA DE LAS DELICIAS DE LA COMIDA Y LOS DIFERENTES PLATOS, SECCIÓN SEGUNDO, SOBRE LAS DIFERENCTES CLASES DE CARNE DE CUADRUPEDOS, CAPÍTULO SEGUNDO, SOBRE LA CARNE DE OVINO, 1. PLATO QUE SE LLAMA TAFĀYĀ BLANCA, p 148 

Ingredients

Boiling Lamb
Photo by: Lord-Williams
2 lb lamb[1]

¼ c olive oil
1 tsp ginger scrap-pings
salt to taste
1 tbsp coriander
3 small onions quartered
1 lb meatballs (optional)

Preparation

Select meat from breast, trotters and ribs of a tender lamb. Cut and clean. Put them in a pot. Add water and olive oil. Put the remaining ingredients in a cloth and tie it. Put it in the pot with the meat and water. When the water begins to boil, remove the sachet, leaving th meat to boil until done. If wanted, add meatballs. When the meat is ready brown it letting the fat rise. After serve should the Almighty so desire. This dish can be made with kid or chicken; make as indicated above as is God's will.


[1] Optional. It can be lamb, goat or chicken.


MARÍNS TRANSLATION OF IBN RAZĪN AL-TAĞĪBĪ’S RELIEVES DE LAS MESAS, ACERCA DE LAS DELICIAS DE LA COMIDA Y LOS DIFERENTES PLATOS, SECCIÓN SEGUNDO, SOBRE LAS DIFERENCTES CLASES DE CARNE DE CUADRUPEDOS, CAPÍTULO SEGUNDO, SOBRE LA CARNE DE OVINO, 1. PLATO QUE SE LLAMA TAFĀYĀ BLANCA, p 148