Friday, October 24, 2008

The Spice of Life

Columbus headed West in search of spices, so cooking and exploration seem to be well paired. Like the Etna Rosso and pesce crudo we had at Dopo yesterday.

A tidbit from my new cookbook. In 1584 Captain Arthur Barlow enjoyed tea with Native Americans on Roanoke Island. He said, "their drinke is commonly water...but it is sodden with Ginger in it, and blacke Sinamon, and sometimes Sassaphras, and divers other wholesome, and medicinable hearbes and trees."

It goes on to list several tea ingredients in common use: mints, pine, spruce, hemlock and juniper needles, the leaves of wild berries.

We've got some ailing raspberry stalks, so we used a few leaves, and thyme and mint and the neighbor's rosemary. Clementine sweetened hers anachronistically with that sweet stuff made by the stinging fly.

Wheresoe'er they move, before them
Swarms the stinging fly, the Ahmo,
Swarms the bee, the honey-maker;
Wheresoe'r they tread, beneath them
Springs a flower unknown among us,
Springs the White-man's Foot in blossom.

Speaking of honey, Mike's renting an extractor today. Saturday we'll be extracting honey from our frames. Sunday we plan to go to Santa Cruz to see the replica of Columbus's Nina.

And speaking of recreations and Roanoke Island, a couple years ago we met with friends once/week for 6 weeks to reenact the colonization of Roanoke Island. We captured turtles, ate inedible things and temporarily blinded ourselves with foul water on the journey. We tried to make something edible out of unfamiliar ingredients, gave birth to Virginia Dare, and then, on the last day, we vanished mysteriously.

After that we put on hold our plan to reenact Scott's Journey to the South Pole.

We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity but I do not think I can write more.

1 comment:

stefaneener said...

I can't wait to hear about your extracting adventures! What fun and I'm so glad you're still with us.