Tidying Up with Alexandre "Outtahere" d'Avigne

Well my friends, this is the January issue of the Dorinda (I hope). By the time of the February issue, I will be gone from these fair shores. But all is not lost! I have a new email address, nexus@panix.com, and since our esteemed chronicler does as well, these pithy and educational columns may well continue to issue forth from my electronic pen.

That said, for my final locally produced article, what can I do but leave a legacy?

Alexandre's Marinated Mushrooms or (as some have called them) Mushrooms Alexandre (ah, fame, however fleeting!)

It seems I will never be able to do a feast without serving these, because someone always requests them - sometimes several someones. This recipe, and the spinach recipe, are always the most complimented and most requested after the feast as well.
The recipe itself is simple:

for feasts I tend to use red wine vinegar, cheap vegetable oil and garlic powder (do you want to peel and crush 30 garlic cloves?).

The recipe scales up nicely, we made about 30 lbs for Twelfth Night. I am somewhat at a loss to explain its popularity, but I am not complaining. I don't even recall where I found this recipe, and cannot claim it to be completely documentable. However, pickling is very common in medieval recipes and that is what this is.

The Spinach recipe I mention is another idiosyncratic one. I can't account for its popularity or remember where I got it, except that I am sure it came from a period cookbook somewhere. For that matter, I'm not even sure what the recipe was, but it was basically spinach, cream or sour cream, and sugar. Something like 1/2 cup of sour cream to 1 tablespoon or so sugar to a pound of spinach. Your mileage may vary.

To finish up this article, let me expound a bit of cooking philosophy. It has been proven, I think, that a number of nominally out of period items (eg. tomatoes) can be documented to have been eaten in period. However, this is an exceptional occurrence and by no means the rule. So to serve tomatoes at a feast is, while documentable, rather bizarre. Therefore, in my opinion, it should be avoided. There are enough recipes and foods which are solidly and well-established as period, and enough days in the week which are not SCA events for out of period food, that I feel avoiding the marginal foods is best.

And now, the subject which you've all been dreading. Or not. Chocolate. Sure it's good. As a confection, however, I have not seen it documented, and even it I have it falls into the marginal category mentioned above. Why is it that while very few will serve potatos, many will serve chocolate cake? There are lots of tasty period cake, candies and so forth, why not make them. There, I feel better.

The next column will be from the sunny Eastrealm, and if anyone has any requests for a subject, please drop me a line, otherwise I'll be forced to improvise.

I'm going to miss this place.

Back to Index

Comments are welcome.
Alexandre Lerot d'Avigné, Jeff Berry, nexus@panix.com

Copyright Jeff Berry
Originally webbed 4/25/94
Last modified 3/5/98