Medieval Coleslaw

Yummy, but given the source, this one may be more peri-oid than period.

Recipe from Handout

1 bag shredded cabbage or 3/4 head of cabbage

3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup wine vinegar
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 1/2 teaspoons caraway seed
1/4 teaspoon crushed coriander
3 sliced green onions
1 teaspoon sugar

In a small bowl, mix together dressing ingredients. In a largish tupperware, dump in shredded cabbage & green onions and and pour the sauce over. Put the lid on and shake well until all the cabbage is well coated.

Source for Recipe Presented

How to Cook Forsoothly. Mistress Katrine de Baillie du Chat, O.L.; 1979. Raymond's Quiet Press (I don't think it is available any longer. Note that this is a source for peri-oid recipes.)

Notes and additional versions

At best, this recipe is plausibly periodish. As far as I can tell, "coleslaw" itself started as koolsla, meaning cabbage salad, a dutch recipe preserved in print in the 18th century in America. The vinaigrette is reminiscent of cormarye, and the ingredients of the above recipe, with the exception of worcestershire sauce were all well known in period. The worcestershire sauce is probably intended to replace garum/liquamen, a condiment used in Roman cooking both Ancient (Apicius), and Renaissance (Platina). (Many people today think oriental fish sauces like Nuoc mam should be used to substitute for this condiment.) The cookbook this recipe came from is an SCA cookbook, but the state of research in SCA cookery has advanced quite a bit since 1979.

An excellent thread in the Florilegium contains a number of redactions for pickled foods, including multiple versions of compost, pickled lemons, pickled mushrooms and more. In that thread, Anne-Marie Rousseau notes "the late sources (Dibgy, May, etc) pickle anything that doesnt move (and likely a few things that do). We have recipes for pickled mushrooms and capers and cukes (Apicius even does cukes in vinegar, several different ways). The other stuff is a peri-oide way to get color and crunch and flavor to the buffet table."

Vinaigrette recipes:
Lactucis conditis from De honesta voluptate by Platina (Italy 1475)
They say the divine Augustus was preserved in his time of ill health by the use of lettuce, and no wonder, because it aids digestion and generates better blood than other vegetables. It is eaten cooked or raw. You season raw lettuce this way if it does not need washing, for that is more healthful than what has been washed in water; put in a dish, sprinkle with ground salt, pour in a little oil and more vinegar and eat once. Some add a little mint and parsley to it for seasoning so that it does not seem entirely bland and the excessive chill of the lettuce does not harm the stomach. (Milham, 213)

Sallat of Hearbes from Thomas Dawson, The Good Huswifes Jewell
To Make a Sallat of All Kinds of Hearbes. Take your hearbes and picke them very fine into faire water and pick your flowers by themselves amd washe them all cleane and swing them in a strainer and when you put them in a dish, mingle them with cowcumbers or lemons, payred and sliced, and scrape sugar, and put in vinegar and oyle, and throw the flowers on the toppe of the sallat, and of every parte of the aforesaide things and garnish the dish about with the foresaide things and harde eggs boyled and laide about the dish and upon the sallat.

Mixed Pickles:
Compost from Curye on Inglish
Take rote of persel, of pasternak, of rafens, scape hem and waische hem clene. Take rapes & caboches, ypared and icorue. Take an erthen panne with clene water & set it on the fire; cast alle thise therinne. Whan they buth boiled cast therto peeres, & parboile hem wel. Take alle thise thynges vp & lat it kele on a faire cloth. Do therto salt; whan it is colde, do hit in a vessel; take vyneger & powdour & safroun & do therto, & lat alle thise thynges lye therin al nyyt, other al day. Take wyne greke & hony, clarified togider; take lumbarde mustard & raisons coraunce, al hoole, & grynde powdour of canel, powdour douce & aneys hole, & fenell seed. Take alle thise thynges & cast togyder in a pot of erthe, & take therof whan thou wilt & serue forth.

Marco Bernini writes, in a message archived in Stefan's Florilegium, "I do not agree that Nuoc mam and garum are the same thing at all. ... It is my opinion that garum is the ancestor of the salted anchovy whether whole, filleted, pureed or in herbs; at some point production changed to a less liquefied product, possibly due to reduced production period, faster transport or maybe just a change in tastes." He gives a recipe:
Here is a quickish clean garum of my own:
6 tubes of anchovy paste, (or 12 small tins of anchovy fillets drained and liquidized)
1 teaspoon of each of several aromatic herbs but fresh if possible: dill, coriander, fennel, celery seed, mint, oregano and rosemary
1 clove of Garlic (crush it with the side of a knife)
Good olive oil
Wine vinegar
Finely chop the herbs and place in a bowl. Add the anchovy paste, add the crushed garlic clove, ground black pepper (the quantity will dictate the hotness of the garum) a little vinegar and the olive oil, mix well (in a blender if necessary)
The resulting sauce should pour easily, if not add more oil or white wine if you like. Store in the fridge for a day before use and always shake well before adding to recipes. Use sparingly as it is salty and often replaces salt in recipes. Makes an excellent dressing for lettuce and rocket salads, the traditional Roman hors d'oeuvre and is used in Rome today to dress puntarelle, a salad leaf from the dandelion family that has been eaten in and around Rome for more than 2,000 years.
The Florilegium thread as a whole is worth reading. Adamantius offers at one point, "Maybe if one were to blenderize a can of anchovies in oil in nam pla or another non-vinegar-based fish sauce, then let the solids settle out, that'd be a closer approximation."
At any rate, worcestershire sauce is not a substitution that people are suggesting these days for garum/liquamen. Worcestershire sauce is a 19th century product.

Cabbage History and Mythology
Horticultural history of cabbage
Athenian Cabbage


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Updated September 9, 2002

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