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In Which We Learn That Twistie Is Incapable of Reading a Calendar | Manolo for the Big Girl

In Which We Learn That Twistie Is Incapable of Reading a Calendar

Last week I declared the final entry in Food Friendly May…and today I did a facepalm as I realized that it’s still May for one more day. I are not bright.

On the other hand, I am nothing if not capable of coming up with another recipe. In honor of my inability to keep up with modern life (not to mention my history geekness), I have decided that it would be fun today to post a recipe from back through the mists of time along with a modern version. I found this recipe – and a great many others equally interesting…though some are certainly more appetizing to a modern taste than others – at this fabulous site. If you are fond of historical re-enactment, interested in the history of food, or just a sucker for a good recipe, I highly recommend spending some time there.

Spynoches yfryed (Fried Spinach)

Period: English, 14th Century

Original Receipt:

Spynoches yfryed. Take spynoches; perboile hem in seþyng water. Take hem vp and presse out þe water and hew hem in two. Frye hem in oile & do þerto powder douce, & serue forth.

Gode Cookery Translation:

Take spinach; parboil them in boiling water. Take them up and press out the water and hew them in two. Fry them in oil & do there-to powder douce, & serve forth.

Of course, that tells you what the words mean if you’re not fluent in Middle English, but it doesn’t really tell you what to do as a modern cook, does it? Luckily, there are instructions on dishing it up in today’s kitchen, as well.

Ingredients:

Fresh Spinach Leaves

Olive Oil

Powder Douce (this was a Medieval blend of sweet spices, almost always containing sugar and cinnamon, but never pepper, and with such other spices as nutmeg, clove, cardamon, mace, etc.)

Directions:

Parboil the spinach, keeping in mind that this means to partially cook by boiling. Remove the leaves from the water; drain well and press out the water. Cut the spinach leaves in half; fry in hot olive oil. Remove from oil & drain. Place in serving dish and sprinkle on powder douce to season. Serve it forth!

Alas! the translators have chosen not to put amounts of the ingredients in the modern recipe, so that means we’ll have to experiment, doesn’t it? Oh, and one safety tip: dry the spinach well before putting it in hot oil. Cool water + hot oil = oil bullets zinging around your kitchen and hurting you painfully. This might be a good time to pull out the old Salad Spinner.

And that, my friends, is the end of Food Friendly May here at Manolo for the Big Girl. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as I have.

3 Responses to “In Which We Learn That Twistie Is Incapable of Reading a Calendar”

  1. Angel June 1, 2008 at 9:32 pm #

    I will have to pass on this recipe. Sugar, cinnamon, and spinach don’t mix in my world.

    Awwww, I’m going to miss your food posts. I enjoyed them.

  2. Twistie June 2, 2008 at 11:07 am #

    Thanks, Angel! I enjoyed writing them, too, so they’ll probably pop up randomly from time to time.

    As for this recipe, I haven’t tried it, either. I just thought it was an interesting window into how differently things are done not only in different places, but in different times, as well.

  3. Lunadog June 2, 2008 at 9:47 pm #

    Medieval food is terrific! Just think of it as another world cuisine to try. After 30 years in the SCA, some of my favourite recipes are Bashed Neeps (turnips, carrots and parsnips cooked & mashed with butter. sugar, cinnamon & ginger) and Tart in Ymbre Day (yummy onion pie). Ooh, and Apple Fool and Cold Buttermilk Soup! Some of them are now everyday dishes at my home. Try ’em, you’ll love ’em!