Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Gen Con 2017 Schedule


Gen Con Indy 2017,  August 17 - 20

It's just a few weeks until Gen Con and I realized I hadn't posted about it yet. My two regular seminars are part of the Writer’s Symposium this year, which means they'll be in bigger rooms and close to the convention center. It looks like the tickets for them (both free!) are going fast

SEM17121102 – Author Education: Medieval Cooking and Fantasy Foods
Have you designed a richly detailed fantasy setting for your game or story, only to have a gaping hole show up the first time a character needs to eat? What do you serve at a hero's feast? What does it take to cook that? Medieval food historian Daniel Myers compares the reality of cooking in medieval Europe to what is typically presented in fantasy books, movies, and games. Topics include common myths, medieval kitchen technology, realistic feasts, and rampant fruititarianism. 08/17/2017 (Thursday), 8:00 PM, Westin : Capitol I   (94 tickets sold so far) 
SEM17121113 – Author Education: Believable Fictional Languages
Fictional worlds often include their own languages, but creating an entire language can be a daunting task. Learn tips for word generation, common pitfalls, and how to steal from the real world.  08/18/2017 (Friday), 8:00 PM, Westin : Capitol I  (62 tickets sold so far)

I'm also on one of the Symposium panels. I love doing these - the exchange of ideas and viewpoints always charges up my creativity.

SEM17121187 – Worldbuilding: The Impact of Cataclysms, Disasters, and the Apocalypse What happens to a world and its people when cataclysm strikes? Learn how to use disasters to make a more interesting new world. Featuring Lucy A. Snyder, Maxwell Alexander Drake, Daniel "Doc" Myers.  08/17/2017 (Thursday), 5:00 PM, Westin : Caucus   (sold out) 

This year's convention looks like it's going to be really, really big.  I expect it to be really fun as well!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

La Maison Rustique - The Potherbs - Cabbage (part 2)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


The Potherbs

(Chapter 11)

-=-=-

Cabbage (part 2)

All manner of cabbages can be planted in all seasons as long as it’s not too cold or too hot. When you plant them, cut them off of the root so it is not planted upside down, or put them back in the ground and pull them so the top doesn’t grow excessive.

Some water them with salt water to make them more tender, and others sow saltpeter over the surface of the earth or finely sifted ashes to fend off caterpillars and other vermin. Above all cabbage must not be planted near the vineyard, nor grape vines near the cabbage, for there is such great enmity between these plants that the two in the same soil, each taking some growth from the other, are not so fruitful. Whether it be true, if one mixes with in the pot used for  cabbage, the cabbage will not cook well afterwards, and it will corrupt its color In the same way, those who want to drink a great deal of wine without becoming drunk must beforehand eat raw cabbage, as is the custom of the Germans when they want to drink buckets full and be a part of those who drink best. Cabbage likewise should not be planted near oregano, rue, or sowbread [cyclamen], because when planted near these it does not profit at all and similarly transmits a part of its misfortune to its neighbor.

The careful gardener must never tolerate a rotten cabbage in his garden, nor water his herbs with water used to wash or boil cabbage, because both give a bad smell to other neighboring plants.

The good mistress will always have cabbages in her garden for the nourishment of her family, and which in time of necessity and disease she will use to help her people. For the first broth, chiefly of red cabbage with butter or oil and without salt, loosens the stomach, lessens the cough, and makes the voice better. If this broth is sprinkled with sugar it will be especially good for asthmatics and pulmonics, and even the juice of cabbage with sugar benefits these afflictions. Cabbage cooked with long pepper and eaten with its broth brings a lot of milk to nursing women. The juice or essence of good cabbage combats the poison from eating mushrooms. The mixture of cabbage cooked with almonds and mingled with clarified honey is singular for those who have shortness of breath to use in the form of a lozenge. In short, cabbage is useful to all things, such as which the Romans have done in the past, that after chasing the doctors out of Rome for a hundred and fifty years, they used no other medicine than cabbages for all diseases. Lye made with cabbage ashes is good for washing the head. The soaking of the breasts with a decoction of cabbage increases the milk of nursing women. Ashes of cabbage mixed with egg whites heals burns.

Also, a plaster made of cooked cabbage mixed with the lees of vinegar, two raw egg yolks, and a small amount of rose vinegar, all well beaten and incorporated together, is a sovereign remedy to instantly remove the pain of gout.

To thoroughly clean a pot that is all encrusted, such as one which is used for cooking flesh and boiling water, such as a cauldron, and iron pot, or tub and the like, which cannot always be sufficiently scoured, nothing is better than boiling cabbages.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

La Maison Rustique - The Potherbs - Cabbage (part 1)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


The Potherbs

(Chapter 11)

-=-=-

Cabbage (part 1)

We shall first speak of cabbages, which are more common and more abundant than all other kinds of potherbs. All types of cabbages love clean land, fat and well plowed, not clayish or sandy. Also, they grow easily in all kinds of air, chiefly tempered; Yet they grow largest, most spread out, and more guarantied of vermin in cold places such as Germany than in hot places. And for this they are content more with the hillsides than with the plains, and in earth full of sticks and branches. They are better, much more pleasant, and healthier for the stomach in autumn, spring, and during great frosts than in summer. They require frequent dunging especially with the manure of an ass which is the best of them all, and to be covered with good soil, without watering, although watering makes them beautiful and verdant, but not pleasant in eating or healthy for the stomach. When they have six leaves they must be transplanted in good weather, either in winter or summer. To speak of it in particular, the common cabbage that is called long or green, it must be sown in the middle of August or September for those who want to have the leaves in Lent and winter. They are planted in October and replanted in December to take the leaves in winter, and planted from seed in June and July to make them thicker. As to other seasons of the year, it can also be done but not so conveniently.

Take good care that your seed is not too old, for it would be mature at three years of age. As they say, sow that cabbage and it will bring radishes or turnips. It will last six years in kind if well kept.

The headed cabbage, called white or apple, are seeded in beds and are replanted from foot to foot, well covered under soft, well-worked soil when they begin to sprout. They like the cold and cannot live in hot air, and must be covered in straw to make them form heads and turn white. Wrinkled cabbage, curled, and Romaine, which are of a more tender and delicate nature, are sown in March and are planted in the course of the year. They often require watering.

When you see that the leaf of the cabbage is pale or yellowed, it is a sign that water is needed, and cut away the leaves that are yellow and pierced, rotten, or dry, for they would cause them to die.

If you want to have cabbages which are of good and pleasant taste, cut away the first leaves, for those that regrow will have a better taste and a flavor that is more pleasant that the first.

The red cabbages grow naturally from an abundance of manure, or because they have been watered with the lees of wine, or have been planted in a place where they are often warmed by the heat and ardor of the sun.

Never take the top of Romaine, wrinkly, or other cabbage for your use, but always take the leaves from the top down.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (twenty-ninth and thirtieth days)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[twenty-ninth and thirtieth days of the moon]

The twenty-ninth Herod caused the innocents to be killed. This day is unlucky and none should do anything. Dreams will be very certain. The sick will heal. The child born on this day will live and do business peacefully with men.

The thirtieth and last day is good for all things. The sick will be in great danger of death, but if they think well will recover. Dreams will become joyous in this week. The child born will be subtle and cunning.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth days)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth days of the moon]

The twenty-seventh it is good to thoroughly work on all things. The sick will be inconstant and dreams will be uncertain. The child born will be sweet and friendly.

The twenty-eighth all things will be good to do. The sick will be recovered from their illness. The child born will be lazy and negligent.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth days of the moon]

The twenty-fifth there was death in Egypt. The sick will be in danger of death on the sixth day after falling ill. The child born will be subject to much peril, danger, and adversity.

The twenty-sixth day Moses parted the sea. On the same day Saul and Jonathan died. This day is very dangerous and is not good for doing anything. Those who fall sick on this day will never recover. Dreams will be certain. The child born on this day will grow up to be happy, that is to say, neither poor nor rich.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (twenty-third and twenty-fourth days)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[twenty-third and twenty-fourth days of the moon]

The twenty-third day Benjamin was born. All that is done on this day will turn out glorious. Sickness will be long but not fatal. Dreams will be false. The child born on this day will be deceitful and ugly.


The twenty-fourth day Japheth was born. This day is indifferent, known to be neither good nor bad. Sickness this day will be long, but the patient will heal. Dreams will be of no effect. The child born on this day will be sweet and mild, and loving to make great cheer.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (twenty-first and twenty-second days)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[twenty-first and twenty-second days of the moon]

The twenty-first day King Saul was born. It is a good day to rejoice in beautiful and honest clothing, and to buy food. Crime committed will be discovered. The sick are in great danger of being taken by disease. Dreams are vain and useless, and the child born on this day will do great works.

The twenty-second day Job was born. It is not a good day to negotiate with, undertake business with, or bill anyone. The sick will be in danger of dying from the illness they catch on this day. Dreams will be true. The child born on this day will be good and honest.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (nineteenth and twentieth days)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[nineteenth and twentieth day of the moon]

The nineteenth the Pharaoh King was born. This day is dangerous and it will be well to avoid crowds and drunkards. By keeping peaceful without doing anything the sick will be healed. Dreams will come true. The child born on this day will be malicious and deceitful.


The twentieth day the profit Jonah was born. This day is good for doing all things. Any sickness will be long. Dreams will be true and clear. The child born on this day will be deceitful and malicious.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (seventeenth and eighteenth days)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[seventeenth and eighteenth day of the moon]

The seventeenth Sodom and Gomorrah perished. It is a bad day to start a task or make anything. Medicines will be of no benefit to the patient. Dreams will be true within three days.  The child born on this day will be happy in everything.

The eighteenth day Isaac was born. It is good to travel and conduct business. The sick will be in danger of death. Dreams will be certain. The child born on this day will do great works and acquire great property.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (fifteenth and sixteenth days)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[fifteenth and sixteenth day of the moon]

The fifteenth day will be indifferent, that is to say, it will be neither good nor bad.  The sick will not die of the illness that they have.  Dreams will be certain and happen within ten days. The child born will be under the influence of Venus.

On the sixteenth day Job was born, and for this reason it is good to buy and subdue horses, oxen, and other beasts. The sick will be in great danger of death if they don’t change the air in the house. Dreams will have their effect. The child born on this day will live long.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (thirteenth and fourteenth days)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[thirteenth and fourteenth of the moon]

On the thirteenth day all work begins badly. Whoever falls ill on this day will languish a long time. Dreams will happen within nine days. The child born on this day will have a long life.


On the fourteenth day God blessed Noah for his works. Those who are sick on this day will be well kept. Dreams will be confused. The child born on this day will be perfect in all things.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (eleventh and twelfth days)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[eleventh and twelfth days of the moon]

The eleventh, Samuel was born. It is a good day to change the house. The good and joyful dream will be true and will happen within a few days. The person who falls ill in bed will be there at length, but will recover; the child born on this day will be of good spirit, skillful at all trades, and of long life.



The twelfth day is very dangerous and so nothing should be done; for Canaan was born on that day. He who becomes sick will be in great danger of dying within twelve days. Dreams will be true according to their significance. The child born on this day will be superstitious.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (ninth and tenth days)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[ninth and tenth days of the moon]

On the ninth day Nebuchadnezzar was born. This day is indifferent, the night’s dream will be disordered, the person who falls ill, will not die within a week, but will languish, and the child born on this day will have a long life.



The tenth, Noah was born. All good things done this day will prosper, dreams will be of no effect. He who falls into tribulation or adversity should not fear, for it will not last; whoever  becomes sick will die within ten days, if he is not well rescued. The child born on this day will cross several countries and distant regions.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (seventh and eighth days)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[seventh and eighth days of the moon]

On the seventh day Cain killed Abel. On this day make a good mark, as long as the Moon is in a suitable sign, wherever an evildoer or thief runs away, and where theft is committed it will be discovered, the sick will quickly heal, the dreams certain and true, it is good to buy piglets, and make food for all beasts, the child born this day will have a long life.

On the eighth day Methuselah was born, it is good to travel, those who catch diseases will languish for a long time, the dreams are true, the child born on this day will be of good disposition.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (fifth and sixth days)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[fifth and sixth days of the moon]

On the fifth day Lamech was born; If on this day someone who having made an accidental offence is in flight, he loses his time of flight, for he will be suddenly punished alive or dead. Theft made this day will not be discovered, one who becomes sick will never recover: dreams that are made will be deferred, the child born this day will die very soon.

On the sixth day Ebron was born. On this day it is good to send children to schools, and to go hunting; Robbery committed this day will be quickly discovered; and the diseases that are caught will be quickly healed: dreams should not be revealed, the child born this day will have a long life.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (third and fourth days)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[third and fourth days of the moon]

On the third Cain was born. On this day no work should be undertaken, gardening or planting, except what one would like to lose: the one who falls ill will be grievously sick until near the end: but little by little by good regime will return healthy, The dreams from this day or night will be of no effect, and the child born will have a long life.

On the fourth day Abel was born; This day is good to begin a work, to build windmills, and to travel over water: a fugitive man, lost beast, or a wanderer will be well found: the person who falls ill in bed will recover with great difficulty. If a dream is good it be put into effect: if on the contrary it is bad, it will not happen. The child born on this day will be treacherous.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (first and second days)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[first and second days of the moon]

On the first day of the moon Adam was created, if to this day someone falls ill the disease will be long, however the patient will heal. The dreams which one will make at night will find themselves in joy; The child who is born this day will be long lived.

On the second day Eve was created, on this day make good journey both by sea and land, and the traveler will be happy in all the lodgings and hostels where they travel. This day is good for increasing lineage. Also it is good and happy on the same to make demands of Princes or other great lords, in like manner it will be good to build and fortify gardens, orchards, and parks, to plow the land and sow. A larceny made this day can not long be concealed but will be soon discovered. If one is sick at home, the illness will be quickly healed. If he dreams at night, he must not heed it, for his dream will be of no effect. The child not of this day grows to see.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (part 5)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[continuation of the introduction]

When there is a surplus, gather it for feeding the animals, the Moon being new will fertilize the land, and enrich it in the waxing, especially as the Moon gives no less strength to the manure for softening the earth, she makes the trees and seeds germinate, growing and multiplying each in their way, watering them close at the waning of the Moon.

And be not content to know the virtues of each quadrant of the Moon on animals, trees, herbs, plants, fruits, and other things contained in the world below: but be careful to observe the powers of each day of the moon, not just on the animals and plants: but also on the disposition and governance of man to make use of it in case of necessity in time and place, according to the constant and continued observation that our fathers have made of it, which is as follows.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (part 4)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[continuation of the introduction]

As to the fruits, pick the plums, pears and other fruits, and harvest the vines at the waning of the Moon, especially as it will cause the wines to be better, and well preserved, which would otherwise be in danger of turning and ceasing in the following month of March, in the house all that one wants to last, when the Moon is waning.  Sow the corn, wheat and other grains, weed, winnow, sieve, and press the grains, grind the corn to better keep the flour at the end and aging of the Moon. It is good and true that bread grows and profits more if the milling is done when the Moon waxes and is new. Harvest and mow the corn, when the Moon is waning, pluck the linen and the vegetables in the same time. It’s true that vegetables pulled up by the roots during the waxing of the Moon are easier for cooking.

As for the herbs, sow them when the Moon is new, and gather them when the moon grows in light, as being of much more virtue than when it is waning. At the same time, harvest the cucumbers, squash, melons, citrulls [Citrullus lanatus], pumpkins, and all the roots which grow heads, harvest garlic, radishes, turnips, leeks, lilies, grapes, saffron, and the like, except onions, which proceed all to the contrary: for they are better, larger, and more nourished in the waning than waxing or full Moon, while they are not so vigorous and fleshy, however if planted or transplanted at the waning, and on their end, the onions are much stronger, sharper, and biting than if it were in the waxing or full Moon.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (part 3)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[continuation of the introduction]

The falconer will rather choose the full Moon to go to the rookery than the absence, because the birds of prey are much lighter, sharper and ravishing about the full moon than at other times. The horse, and other animals suffer from diseases of the eyes more in the absence of the moon than in the crescent or full Moon. Set aside a supply of fat and marrow of sheep's bones, deer, ox, and others, if need be, in the full moon not in waning. Castrate boars, rams, young bulls, or kids and goats when the Moon wanes, cover the eggs of chickens, or other fowl at the new Moon, and especially on the first crescent.

As for the trees and other plants, the wise farmer will plant his fruit trees and others when the Moon is new, not after the time around the first crescent. At the same time cut and chop wood for heating; On the other hand, that which he will reserve for building when the moon wanes, being assured that all matter (whether for building houses, presses, bridges, and other things) having been cut in the waning moon, sustain a long duration marvelously well; Even more so if it is cut in the evening rather than the morning; Which can also be accommodated to free-stones and to rubble [for building walls], when they are pulled from their quarries.

Plant the vine at the crescent Moon, or in the first four or five days after it has passed; Trim thin vines and plants in fairly bad soil, also during the waxing of the Moon, and those which are lively in waning, seeing that they will produce more grapes, which if they were cut in the crescent, especially when the Moon, stopping to soften and fatten them, would only cause an abundance of branches and foliage, and cutting them when the Moon ages, the wood restrains itself and only makes it produce fruit in abundance. Purge, prune, and trim the roots of fruit trees at the waning of the Moon, as they will be more loaded with fruit, making the nurseries of the moon on earth.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun (part 2)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

[continuation of the introduction]

It is from this that we say the moon grows and decays, not that in truth it grows or decays (except when it suffers eclipse and defect) being always illuminated by the Sun, but grows or decays its clarity only, which it spreads and reverberates on earth. And this splendor as it grows or fades,  has more and less force to move the humors of natural things to execute their effects. For so much the more this light is increased, so its humor is bountiful, and is spread to the extremities, and on the contrary, so much the more it diminishes, the natural humor also withdraws and is limited to the smallest part. This is why the moon is called the nourishing mother, the queen and governess of all the waters that are in terrestrial bodies.

In order to speak first of all of the country beasts, the well-educated farmer will never kill at any time pigs, sheep, oxen, cows, and other beasts, flesh of which they can prove themselves for the food of his Family, during the waning of the Moon. For the flesh killed in the absence of the Moon diminishes from day to day, and requires a great deal of fire and time to cook it, but it is not possible to eat it. If it be considered for making sausage or similar meat it is reduced by a quarter when cooked.

Nor should account be taken of, nor buy horses, and others which were born during the waning and old age of the Moon, as they are more stupid and weak than the others, but do not grow up, and their flesh does not have of sufficient weight when killed. Never fish the ponds, ponds, ponds, and rivers, in the absence of the Moon, for the fish and other aquatic animals, chiefly those which are clothed and covered with shells and large scales, such as crayfish, crabs, oysters, mussels, and the like, are found very much lessened in their substance, and meager in old age and absence of the moon, on the contrary, fat, full, and full, when it is in strength and full light.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

La Maison Rustique - Knowledge of the Movements of the Moon and Sun

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).




That the Farmer should have 
the knowledge of the movements of the Moon and the Sun,
of their abilities and effects upon rustic things.

(Chapter 9)

-=-=-

Several years back I posted a series of translations from "La Maison Rustique" about "The works that the laborer should do for each month of the year." I recently was looking through the text again and came across a set of instructions on what a farmer should do for each day of the lunar cycle and thought folks might find it interesting, so I'll start posting them a bit at a time and see where it goes.

-=-=-

Introduction

Again, the consideration and observation of the movements, abilities and effects of the stars, and chiefly of the two great and admirable lights of the universe, called Illuminaries by God from the mouth of Moses. Known as the Sun and the Moon, they belong more to the excellent Astrologer than to the simple laborer.

However, as most of the rustic materials, animals, plants, trees and grasses take their generation, nourishment, advancement and complete perfection by the vital inspiration, action, radiation, and marvelous movement of these two organs and principal instruments of the whole world, it is well expedient that the farmer and governor of the country house should have the knowledge acquired by long experience of the virtues and abilities of them over rustic things in order to treat them, and to work and guide according to the movement of these two great governors.

Thus, to speak in the first place of the moon, which is to be the closest to us of all the planets and celestial bodies, having also its effects on us with regard to the body, and on all earthly things, it is quite certain that in less than a month it makes the whole route and road which the Sun makes all along the year, and that it has no light of it's own, but retains it and receives everything from the sun, giving the repulsions and reflections to the earth with more vehemence, thus as it feels itself far from the Sun, and to the contrary, the more it approaches the conjunction with it, so much less does it lend its clarity and to the earth.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

All Manner of Powders

Last Tuesday I posted a link on Facebook to Yonnie Travis' interpretation of Eyron en Poche (poached eggs in a sweet sauce), and one of the commenters asked about "Blawnche pouder" (i.e. "white powder"). Here's the original source of the recipe in question for context (emphasis added):

Cj - Eyron en poche. Take Eyroun, breke hem, an sethe hem in hot Water; than take hem Vppe as hole as thou may; than take flowre, an melle with Mylke, and caste ther-to Sugre or Hony, and a lytel pouder Gyngere, an boyle alle y-fere, and coloure with Safroun; an ley thin Eyroun in dysshys, and caste the Sewe a-boue, and caste on pouder y-now. Blawnche pouder ys best.  [Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (England, 1430)]

 So just what the heck is this stuff supposed to be? Sugar? Flour? Cocaine?

Medieval Italian cocaine dealer ... ok, it's really a sugar merchant.Theatrum sanitatis, codice 4182 della R. Biblioteca Casanatense. Rome

In the glossary of Curye on Inglysch, Hieatt and Butler offer the following:

Blawnce Pouder - ginger ground with sugar; see also powdour douce

That seems a bit odd considering the recipe above already listed sugar and ginger separately before calling for blawnche pouder. I suspect their conclusion was based on recipes like the following (again, emphasis added):

.Cxxx. Peerus in confyt. Take perus & pare hem clene. take gode rede wyne & mulberyes. other saundres & seeth the peres ther inne. & whan they buth y sode take hem up. make a syryp of wyne creke other vernage with blaunche poudour. other whyte sugur & poudour of ginger. & do the peres ther inne. seeth hit a litul and messe hit forth.  [Fourme of Curye / Rylands MS 7 (England, 1390)]

In modern English that phrase would be "with white powder, or white sugar and powdered ginger". While the "or" there certainly could mean "or in other words", but it could also mean "or if you don't have any".  That's really not as helpful as I'd like it to be.

The problem with that definition is compounded by recipes like ...

Warduns in syruppe. Take wardens (pears), and pare hom clene, and scthe hom in red wyn with mulberryes, or saunders, tyl thai byn tendur, and then take hom up, and cut hom, and do hom in a pot; and do therto wyn crete, or vernage ||, or other gode swete -wyne, and blaunch pouder, and sugur, and pouder of gynger, and let hom boyle awhile, and then serve hit forth.  [Ancient Cookery / Arundel 334](England, 1425)]

While this recipe is related to the one for "Peerus in confyt" from Fourme of Curye, it seems to be calling for sugar and ginger in addition to the blaunch pouder.

Then I found this recipe:
l - A potage on fysshday. Take an Make a styf Poshote of Milke an Ale; than take and draw the croddys thorw a straynoure wyth whyte Swete Wyne, or ellys Rochelle Wyne, and make it sum-what rennyng an sum-what stondyng, and put Sugre a gode quantyte ther-to, or hony, but nowt to moche; than hete it a lytil, and serue it forth al a-brode in the dysshys; an straw on Canel, and Gyngere, and ȝif thou haue Blank powder, straw on and kepe it as whyte as yt may be, and than serue forth.  [Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (England, 1430)]

... so it's already calling for sugar and ginger, and goes on to say "if you have blanche pouder". That kind of does it in for blawnche pouder being a mix of sugar and ginger. They already know you have both of those, so they wouldn't ask if you had them mixed, right?

At times like this I look and see what the French are up to (the words "blawnche pouder" are, after all, originally French, so why not?  In the glossary of his translation of The Viandier of Taillevent, Terence Scully cites the following entry from Cotgrave's 1611 French-English dictionary (silly, I should have thought to look there first):
Pouldre blanche - A powder compounded of Ginger, Cinnamon, and Nutmegs; much in use among Cookes.

Of course Cotgrave's was written over 150 years after the recipe from TFCCB that started this mess (the one way at the top of the page), so it's possible that the meaning had changed significantly by then ... or was just plain wrong.  It's also worth noting that Nutmeg doesn't really show up much in English cookbooks before the 1600s.

On a side note, Cotgrave's has a recipe for Powder Douce that doesn't quite mesh with the source recipes we have from the fifteenth century.
Pouldre de duc - A powder made of Sugar and Cinnamon, & having (sometimes) other Aromaticall simples added unto them.

So let's get back to what we know (or at least what we're pretty sure of).  Blawnche pouder is probably a mixture of sugar and other spices, possibly including ginger.

Also ... nope, that's pretty much it.

We can guess that the mix is light-colored. After all, the English translation of "blawnche pouder" is "white powder", so it wouldn't make much sense for the stuff to be dark brown or red. Of course annual "white sales" in the US include merchandise in all sorts of colors now (but originally included only white bed linens).

This is one of those situations where I will freely admit I just don't know for sure.  Until someone locates an actual recipe for blawnche pouder, I think I'll go with the sugar & ginger mix. Since it's often sprinkled on top of an otherwise finished dish, perhaps use powdered sugar? That would fit the description and keep it distinct from powder douce.