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Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Galeno e Ipporcate
Primo Maestro di Anagni
Sotto: San Paolo, San Pietro, San Magno
San Giovanni Evangelista
Photo from: Bruno Cerboni
OCast Galieno, MEng Gallien, L. Claudius GalenusEng. Galen (129–201). He was born in Pergamum in Asia Minor. He became a follower of Hippocrates and Aristotle. He worked in Marcus Aurelius’ court as a philosopher and physician. For his knowledge of philosophy, anatomy and chemistry, he was ranked among the most famous physicians from ancient times and an indisputable authority for over a thousand of years. He was considered second only to Hippocrates.

Galen’s medical advances were important steps in medicine and, in particular, herbal medicine. He created various medicines by mixing plant and animal substances known as “Galenic preparations.” These demonstrated his profound knowledge of medicinals and their “virtues”.

He developed a drug called “theriac,” which was a cure all and an antidote against all poisons. He used men condemned to death to test the effectiveness of his medicines, thus introducing experimental medicine.

Photo from patriciaabooher
He also wrote about the properties of plants, antidotes and the humors. Galen developed the theory of the four humors. The belief in them remained throughout the Middle Ages.

The humors consisted fire (yellow bile), air (blood), earth (black bile), and water (phlegm). He maintained that each humor contributed to the personality: blood (associated with the heart) marked the degree of self-confidence; yellow bile (associated with the brain) governed the degree of irritability or anger rate; the phlegm (associated with the liver) controlled impassiveness; and black bile (associated with the spleen) governed the depression rate. Vapors formed in the humors ascended to the brain where the ‘temperament,’ personality or physical, mental and moral state of the individual resulted.

This infers that food, therefore, is a factor determining the characteristics or personality of the individual, a group of peoples and even nations today. The question remains, which foods do what and how?

The Arabs brought Ancient Greek medicine, including the Galenic theories to Spain and consequently the rest of Europe. Further, Benavides-Barajas maintains that Cordovan cookery was clearly formed thanks to Pergamo, Galen and Dioscorides and the importance Rhazi, Avicena, Averroes, Maimonides, Isaac Israeli, and Mesue gave to their theories. See Nueva-Clásica Cocina Andalusí.

Benavides-Barajas lists the best foods, which include semolina bread, Yemen legumes, young lamb, nutritive pasta, ragouts and many other dishes such as sweet and sour meats, sugar coated foods, rosewter, orange blossom wáter, sherberts, puff pastries and fritters.  [Anón/Grewe. 1982:
CLXXXVIIII:194-198; Anón/Huici.1966:43:36-37; Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:14-15; Castro. Alimentación.1996:231; ES: Anon/Perry. Sep 5 00; ES: Carroll-Mann. Guisados 2-art. Jun 6, 01:ftn 74; ES: “GALENUS.” Jan 31, 03;  Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:153;  Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:]45:49:56 etc.; and Jayyusi, Salma Khadra. 1994:117:558]


Live Hen with Husband!
Photo by: Lord-Williams

1 hen[1]
salt to taste
1 onion sliced and pounded
12 sprigs fresh cilantro chopped
1 tbsp olive oil[2]
2 tsp coriander
½  tsp white pepper ground
1 tbsp basil chopped
1 tsp murri[3]
1 c vinegar
½ c peeled and ground almonds
6 eggs
¼ c  mustard seed[4]
1 c wine or vinegar

This Basically Nutrious Dish is Known Universally
Photo by: Lord-Williams

Put cilantro in a food processor. Cover the blades with water. Chop the leaves and strain, reserving the water.

Quarter a hen and put it in a pot with salt, onion, half the cilantro, olive oil, half the coriander, half the white pepper, the basil and murri. Add cilantro water. Make a sauce by grinding  the mustard and mixing it with the vinegar. Add ¼ c of this to the pot and just enough water to cover the hen.  Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to boil gently uncovered for 1-1 ½ hours until done.

Add almonds and 2 slightly beaten eggs, the rest of the cilantro, coriander and pepper.

Break the remaining 4 eggs over the pot. Remove it from heat and leave it on the hearth to rest 15-20 minutes before serving, god willing.

[1] Chickens and egg yolks were considered to be warm and moist, which was ideal food for humans.
[2] Unless it is an organic hen olive oil is not necessary.
[3] See blog titled almorí published August 25, 2011 for recipe.
[4] Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, in his “Making Medieval Style Mustards, http://www.gallowglass.org/jadwiga/herbs/Mustards.html, states: The humoral theory of medicine also accounts for mustard's popularity. Medieval people believed that everyone and everything possessed qualities of moistness/dryness and cold/heat which needed to be kept in balance for health. The cold, moist humor was referred to as phlegm, and excess of phlegm was considered a common hazard, especially in winter. The heat and 'dryness' of mustard could correct this excess.”

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