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Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Pearl Barley Ready for Cooking
Photo by: Lord-Williams
tisana, OCast tisane de ordio, ordiiate, OCat hordi, hordiat, ordio, Cat ordiat (fr ordi, barley), ML. hordeātus, tisana, tisanam, ordiate, Fr. orgemonde, tisane (14 C.), Eng. 1. orgeat, tisane (infusion), ptisan, barley water or gruel. Originally it was made with barley. Anthimus (6th C) described orgeat as a  98i drink for those ill with fever. It could be flavored with fruit, anise or almonds. Later it came to mean almond milk and now it has come to mean almond and orange flavoring used in cocktails. 

By the 16th C the Latin word tisana changed to ptisana and the French and English to ptisan while the Spanish remained the same. It was drunk as a medicinal infusion. It was thought good for the chest. Apicius gives recipes for barely soup or broth adding onion, herbs and pork probably parts of trotters in the first and legumes and greens in the second. A third recipe is the drink consisting of barley soaked in water overnight, crushed and boiled in water. Maimonides provides the recipe for a liquefied version consisting of pearl barely, poppy and fumitory seeds, dill flowers, olive oil, wine vinegar and water. 

Although generally defined as a drink, the recipes in Sent Sovi (ordiat) and Nola (ordiate) are thicker. In the first two of Sent Sovi's barley flour is boiled and strained with almond milk and reheated to thicken until it becomes a heavy cream. Sugar can be added to enhance the flavor for the sick and honey for those who are well. The second Sent Soví recipe is made with pearl barely and cooked in thin almond milk until the grains burst. Then they are pressed between two chopping boards and reheated. In the third the barley recipe is boiled presumably in water. Then the grains are chopped in a mortar and strained with almond milk, reheated and served with sugar. 

Nola's recipes are similar. In the first he uses plain water and then broth to boil the barley but it takes three days to make it. After boiling the barley the first time he lets it sit overnight. The second day it is boiled with almond milk made with chicken broth and let to sit overnight. It is warmed and served the third day. His second recipe only takes an hour and a half as the barely does not sit overnight but is boiled in water and then in almond milk. He uses ground barley and adds cinnamon as well as almond milk and sugar. 
Cooking Barley
Photo by: Lord-Williams

In 1395 Le Menagier de Paris provided a recipe using whole barley grains and includes licorice or figs. In Spain barley water (ordio) as a beverage or cream was very popular from the 14th until the middle of the 18th centuries not only for the sick but especially among peasants in rural areas where it was served very cold as a refreshment but it did not disappear entirely as it still can be found today. We know through Hartley that Scottish shepherds and laborers drank brose, porridge soup, with barley water or oatmeal made from the grounds or the shellings especially during the harvest season to prevent dehydration. The English version is beer without hops. the word orgeat, however, de not appear until the late 17th C, coming from the French orgemonde

Orgeat was the forerunner of tiger nut milk (horchata). See avenate, farro, horchata, manjares de cucharra and polentas. 2. After 1930 the term “tisane” was used for an infusion not only of barley but of herbs or other plants. During the Middle Ages infusions were common. Arabs made mint and lemon infusions the vogue in Spain while the English used elder among many others. 

[Anón/Grewe. 1982:LXXXVII: 128-129: LXXXXVIII:129-130:Apè I:30:223; Apicius/Flower. 1958:IV:IV:1-2:117:V:V:137; ES: Decker, “How old?”May 17, 07; ES: Renfrow. Jun 16, 04; ES: Isaac. Feb 1, 98; ES: RAE. 2001; ES: Shamsuddín. “Gastronomía.” Sep 21, 01; Groundes-Peace. 1971:29:118; Hartley. 2003:233; Martínez Llopis. Historia. 1981: 168; Martínez Llopis. “Prólogo.” 1982:22; and Nola. 1989:xxxv-3: xl-5: LX]


Barley Gruel with Cinnamon Sprinkled on Top
Delicious Hot or Cold
Photo by: Lord-Williams

¼ c pearl barley
1 c almonds
2 c broth
2 tsp sugar
salt to taste

Cook barley in 1 c water or more. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and gently boil until the water is absorbed and the pearls burst. Grind them in a food processor. (The original texts reads to mash them between two boards.)

Peel almonds and grind them in a food processor. Add broth and grind well. Strain this through a cheesecloth.

Add the barley to the almond milk and strain this into a pot. Heat and add sugar letting it dissolve in the porridge before serving. This is delicious hot or cold,

Tomar higos pasados los más melados que pudieres haber negros y blancos; y quitarles el pezón y lavarlos con buen vino blanco que sea dulce; y desque estén muy bien limpios, toma una cazuela que sea un tanto grande y de tierra, que tenga el suelo llano, y échalos dentro meneándolos un poco y después pon esta cazuela sobre las brasas; y bien atapada de manera que se estufe allí, y cuando estén estofados, y se habrá embebido en ellas toda la humidad del vino, menearlas un poco; y échales salsafina encima; y tórnalas a menear de manera que se incorpore en ellas aquella salsa y después comer este manjar, y es gentil cosa, y quiérese comer al principio de mesa. 
[1] Correspon a v, núm 29 (“Ordit”).
[2] ordiat; veg. nota 2 al c. 97.
[3] mala: V “altra”.
[4] nova manca en V,
[5] pessa: V “estona”-
[6]  prim-lo: V “prem-lo”.
[7] ab la ditt let . . .  és: V “ab let d’amelles axí com demunt és dit” – l’autro, per “l’altre”, ´la resta’. Provençalisme.


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