Friday, September 12, 2014

Feed me, Seymour! Medieval food and spices

Plain or not? That was the question of people in the Middle Ages. Spices were an important part of the people’s diet. Spices added flavor to the daily meal; the product disguised the taste of bad meat as no refrigeration was available. Traders from the Far East and the Middle East brought a variety of spices to Europe while others were available locally.

The most important additive was salt. During some parts of history, salt or sodium chloride, was worth as much or more than gold. The chemical has been used to preserve meats & fish and enhance recipes since 6000 B.C. Salt was obtained in many of the same methods we use today: mining or evaporating water. It was also used in the dying process and in the making of soap (among others).
Pepper was obtained from India and the Mediterranean. In addition to cooking, pepper was used in medicine. Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, mustard, galanga (a root similar to ginger), cardamom, cumin, coriander, turmeric, anise, caraway, and nutmeg were important parts of cooking. These could be expensive due to the costs of trade expeditions to obtain them. Saffron was used in the dye process.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hockey Season is almost upon us!

The temperature is beginning to drop. I doubt we'll have any triple digit days and maybe we won't see the thermometer rise past the low nineties. It means two things: the summer is almost over with fall on the horizon and it's time for training camp!

That's right, the ice hockey pre-season is just around the corner.

I have been going into withdrawals, not having live hockey to watch. Sure, the NHL Channel is showing old games from last season but it's not the same thing. I know the score when I view the previously broadcast games. It seems like cheating when I watch a game I've already seen. It wouldn't be so bad if the shows were good games (when San Jose won) but the only ones I have seen so far include the losing post-season series.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

say what?

Being popular on Facebook is like sitting at the cool table in a cafeteria at a mental hospital.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wrinkly dogs invade Reno! Reno Kennel Club's annual show

The Reno Livestock Events Center was host to the Reno Kennel Club's annual dog show on Friday, August 15th through Sunday, August 17th, 2014. I was able to attend on the Saturday, before I had to report for an overtime shift at work.

Bottoms Up! Medieval beverages

“Water, water everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink
Water, water everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.”

From “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

What did the average person drink verses the well-to-do in the Middle Ages? Liquid refreshments in the form of alcohol were easily obtained by the common folk. The fancier drinks cost money as many were imported from other regions, pricing some alcohols and non-alcoholic beverages out of the range of the average person. Ale, mead, and cider were the drinks of choice for the general populace while the wealthier included wine and some liquor in their diet. Because of a quality-control issue, water wasn’t known as a drink although it’s not to say that folks didn’t drink water.