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Friday, April 18, 2014


Avila, Spain Medieval City Walls
Author Showing How Weights Chained to Walls Worked
for People with Scruples!
Photo by: Beatriz Cabrera
OCast and Port escrópulo, Eng scruple. One scruple weighed one dinar (coin), 1,198 miligrams or 20 wheat grains. See dinero. [ES: Carroll-Mann. Guisados 2-art. Jun 6, 01:96:ftn 12; and Nola/Pérez.1994:82:196]



½ oz cinnamon
1/ 8 oz cloves
1 lb sugar
½ oz ginger

For Dukes with Scruples
(Sugar, Cinnamon, Ginger and Cloves)
Photo by: Lord-Williams
While listing the above ingredients, Nola states that cloves are not included when preparing Duke’s Powder for lords. He continues that ginger can be added “for the ‘passions of the stomach.’”

Concerning apothecaries weights, they are measured in the following manner: one pound is twelve ounces; one ounce, eight drachmas; 1 drachma, three scruples; on the other hand, the clearest way of understanding this is: one drachm weighs three dineros, scruple weighs one dinero, and a scruple is twenty wheat grains.[2]

[1] In her footnote 12 of  ES: Guisados1-art - 6/6/01, Lady Brighid ni Chiarain states that “Barbara Santich suggests that this recipe title is a misnomer, and an indication of Italian influence on Catalan cooking. A very similar blend of spices — minus the sugar -- is found in an anonymous Venetian cookbook of the late 15th century. It is called specie dolce, ‘sweet spices’. Several recipes in that cookbook call for dishes to be topped with sugar and unspecified spices before serving. Santich theorizes that specie dolce was the spice blend, which was sprinkled with the sugar. The Italian name specie dolce, ‘sweet spices’, may have been mangled in translation to become the Catalan polvora de duch, "powder of the duke".

Which came first the chicken or the egg? The 14th C Catalan Sent Soví manuscript recipe #CCXX, p 216 is for “Duke’s Powder,” naming the same ingredients as Nola including one pound sugar and with the addition of galingale and cardemoni (apparently a tropical fruit).

[2] In her footnote 12 of  ES: Guisados1-art - 6/6/01, Lady Brighid ni Chiarain explains: “There seems to have been some differences between Catalan and Castilian measurements. The Libre del Coch specifies that a drachm weighs 2 diners, whereas the Spanish versions say that 3 dineros weigh a drachm. Both sources say that a diner/dinero weighs the same as a scruple.”

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