The Spice of Life

Let us get one thing straight shall we? Henry I did not die of a "surfeit" of lampreys. Neither are they a kind of fish. King Henry's symptoms were described by a contemporary writer as "convulsions" and a "high fever" - typical symptoms of food poisoning. (Lampreys are highly tolerant of polluted water). Henry was advised by his doctor not to eat them, for the sake of his health. One day he just had to have lampreys (as you do) and that was that. Here is a Medieval Recipe that probably did for him - Lampreys in Blood Sauce (courtesy of )
Take a quyk lamprey, And lete him blode at the nauell, And lete him blode in an earthen potte; And scalde him with hey, and wassh him clene, and put him [on a spitte;] and sette the vessell with the blode vnder the lamprey while he rosteth, And kepe the licoure that droppeth oute of him; And then take oynons, and myce hem small, And put hem yn a vessell with wyne or water, And let hem parboyle right well; And then take awey the water, and put hem in a faire vessell; And then take pouder of Canell and wyne, And drawe hem thorgh a streynour, and cast [hit to] the oynons, and set ouer the fire, and lete hem boyle; And cast a litull vinegre and parcely there-to, and a litul peper; And then take the blode and the dropping of the lamprey, and cast thereto [& lete buille to-gedrys till it be a litell thykke, & cast thereto] pouder ginger, vynegre, salt, and a litull saffron; And whan the lamprey is rosted ynowe, ley him in a faire chargeour, And caste all the sauce apon him, And so serue him forth.

And so it is unlikely that you will die from a surfeit of Christmas Turkey, provided you have not eaten the red, frozen bits.

The Venerable Bede, spent his life as a monk in Jarrow and died in 735 AD. We know this latter fact because he is the one who invented the "AD" bit, thus timing our years from the approximate date of the birth of Jesus. He understood that the Earth was not flat and that the Moon affected the tides. He had few worldly treasures but on his death bequeathed his precious stash of peppercorns.

The most expensive spices in the world are Saffron, Vanilla and Cardomom.

Before real men were allowed to be discovered wearing cosmetic fragrances, lest they be accused of being a pansy, Old Spice was considered acceptable and possibly desirable. The original recipe for Old Spice contained orange, lemon, spices, clary sage, aldehydes, cinnamon, carnation, geranium, jasmine, heliotrope, pimento berry, vanilla, musk, cedar wood, frankincense, benzoin, tonka bean, ambergris. It was formulated in 1937 and dads used to smell of it. It's a classic, but not one you probably got in your Christmas Stocking.

Mel C was always, and still is my favourite Spice Girl.


Don said...

Sporty was always my favourite Spice until I saw ginger spice on that boat doing her solo single. Tan on a a ginger. Impossible in reality I suppose but looked nice with the bikini.
Denim for men got me a few rides in the 80's.

Brian said...

The Venerable Bede merely popularised AD: it was Dionysius Exiguus who invented it.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Brian, I stand corrected.

Brian said...

Weasel, it's Christmas: have a sit down and finish the bottle/cake/choccies. :-) btw, did you try the Caribbean Christmas trifle? I'll be posting my super-tender beef silverside recipe soon. It was smahing on Christmas Day.