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Our test: Recipe from Middle Ages

Old recipe from archaeology cook book was hard work, but worth it, writes our reviewer

It was the ideal set-up. The University Post was holding its annual Christmas party and it was a ‘potlatch’, or potluck, with everyone bringing their own dishes.

At the same time a University Post colleague had interviewed the archaeologist who had reconstructed the ancient recipes in the cookery book ‘A culinary journey through time’.

So why not do it? This vegetarian and lactose-intolerant reporter is used to more or less justified outbursts of creativity in the kitchen. And this reporter was determined to follow the clear instructions to prepare an ancient recipe from and, at the same time, respect her student budget.

Tasty outcome

The experiment started with me looking for a suitable recipe that would fulfil all my dietary requirements. I managed to find one (from the Middle Ages) that would probably please my evening jury: green asparagus with saffron.

The book is classified not only by the different eras in history (Iron age, Viking age, Roman Empire, or Middle Ages as some examples), but also by seasons. This will save your time and kroner, and stop you trying to find – for example – green asparagus in winter Copenhagen.

However, I missed some dietary symbols to directly point to the characteristics of each recipe, which would’ve made my research much faster. Also, stating for how many persons is each recipe would also help, to figure out where to cut or add. That being said, the overall impression was positive – and the results, tasty!

My pots and pans

You should be flexible. You may have no clue of what liquamen is (a fermented fish sauce), but you can always look it up and, once you know, maybe find a way to replace it. The asparagus didn’t have liquamen, but saffron. And the price of those is too high for this reporter, so I omitted it.

With less than one fourth of the required amount of asparagus, I did everything by eye.

The incidents with my saucepan and pan (my single-sized set of kitchen pots and pans wasn’t very suitable) became irrelevant when the aroma of nutmeg – who’d have thought that it goes so well with green asparagus? – and olive oil filled my house.

Whatever did they do?

The result of this adventure got a respectable 7 out of 10 from this reviewer. The remaining five eaters at the table, averaged at 7.2.

Even if it was freezing cold when it got to our table, and this just because I refused to heat it on the microwave.

Because they didn’t have a microwave oven in the Middle Ages, did they?

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