If you are ever having a bad day, think about Louis the Child. Six years old, and expected to fight off the fury of the Hungarians. It won't make you feel better, but I have just purchased a car that runs on misery. So that's money in the bank for me.
This one took a lot of work, but I think it was worth it. We hit on a new and long overdue topic: women, how they are portrayed in history, and whether one of them gave birth to a pope. Well, I mean, all popes were birthed by someone, probably even a woman. But one specific woman. Gah. Yes, I know only one woman can be responsible for any given birth at a time. she can have two kids, but one kid can't emerge from two different- you know what, I don't know if I even want to put out the episode now. Maybe I'll just sit here and eat olives and pet my cat. But then maybe we are already out of olives. Touche, annoying know it all voice in my head, touche.
Edit: Astute listener Arvin caught a rather serious mistake on my part. Please check out the comments below.
No biggie, I said. I'll finish editing on vacation I said. then I forgot the mic. Sorry about the audio quality.
In today's episode, we look at the life and times of Berengar of Friuli, and answer that age old question: was he the schlemiel, or the schlimazel?
Today we enjoy a script Andrew wrote for me. I may have made some edits. We may have done all the editing and recording in one night, durring the few hours after the baby went to sleep, before my wife started to get mad at me for ignoring her. Be that as it may, today Andrew is bringing the smackdown on the Phantom Time Hypothesis; many semicolons are praised.
Today we have a very short episode where we reflect on ghe Guideschi. Who they were, what they did, and what happened to them. Some might suggest that I coukd have done this entire subject in one such episode, rather than having an entire miniseries. Such individuals have no sense of fun.
This month's episode sees the final stand off between the Guideschi and...well...everyone! As I promise in the episode, feel free to download the PDF below to enjoy a rousing game of dead king bingo, courtesy of the bingo card generator at http://osric.com/
Friends! Patrons! Podcasters! Lend me your ears, for a very special anniversary episode of Wittenberg to Westphalia. The Episode materials are below, but a few links first. This has been a busy time over here at W2W studios. I have been participating in a bunch of extracurricular activities, and you will probably want to check them all out.
First, a survey. It would really help me out if you all filled this out. It is short, and hopefully fun, but It will help with some ideas I have had: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QZFHSHB
Next up, I have participated in two crossover shows on the Agora Podcast Network Feed. This feed is dedicated to shows that involve multiple members of the community, and it is a lot of fun. This month being October, the feed has been used for spoooooky stories, originating from the home regions of the Agora Network podcasters. Being geniuses, the powers that be at Agora Podcast Network World Headquarters have dubbed this series "Agoraphobia."
Heh. Agoraphobia. That cracks me up every time.
I provided a segment discussing the terrifying history of the apple tree that ate Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island. It is located in the fourth installment of Agoraphobia. If you are into spooky stuff, check out Agoraphobia. If you are not into spooky things, at least check out my installment!
In addition to Agoraphobia, the Agora Podcast Network Feed hosts The Exchange, a show generally hosted by friend of the show Thomas Daly. This interview show highlights the podcaster of the month at Agora, and this month it is me! Very exciting. Tom and I had a great chat. I think you will all enjoy it.
you can check out both Agoraphobia and The Exchange at the Agora Podcast Network's feed, located here.
OK, now to the meat of this post. So to speak. Today's episode was inspired by a request from Knight of the Realm David Von Weasleballs, who asked for information about medieval food along with a recipe. The following recipe is by me, but reflects what I have learned about medieval cookery for the peasantry. As is discussed in the episode, most people only had pots, were desperately poor, and had no time for fancy cookin. So many relied upon a sort of amorphous porridge based on a stock, cracked grains, and whatever else they had to hand. This was simmered all day and was eaten over thick sliced of dense, multi-grain bread called trenchers.
Lest this sound horrible, my experience is that any dish is what you make of it, and variations of this kind of porridge were enjoyed by all classes. Indeed, porridge in various forms is a key staple in most peasant diets anywhere agriculture is a main source of calories. I have been experimenting over the last few months with home-brewed Congee, a rice porridge from southeast asia, which is what I used as the basis of this recipe, but I consulted authentic surviving medieval cookbooks to ensure that the congee was not too far off from the genuine article. By the way, huge shout out to listener Leslie who helped me track down sources for these cookbooks. I consulted a bunch of sources but I think for the purposes of this blog post this link will be the most pertinent. Keep in mind that there were many regional variations on medieval cuisine. I focused on French cuisine, but at the level of porridge the only real difference is the types of ingredients locally available.
On to the recipe itself. Given what I discuss in the episode regarding the Colombian exchange and industrial farming, it can be difficult to get a really authentic medieval food experience. One thing I forgot to mention is that carrots as we know them were not bred until the early modern period. So use parsnips if you can get them, but look. the idea here is to get a flavor, and idea of what food was sort of like. Not necessarily to kill ourselves making everything spot on. In that spirit I am recommending the use of a pressure cooker to cut the cooking time from roughly all damn day to between an hour and a half hour. Obviously they did not have pressure cookers in the middle ages. If you want a more authentic experience use a slow cooker, or put a dutch oven over a low fire in your back yard and have your children watch it while you do backbreaking labor. If they burn it they don't get any.
To complete this train of thought, the ingredients listen are more like guidelines. you can use anything you have lying around to flavor this. If you make your own stock, try using as little salt as possible, since it was pretty expensive back in the day. The things that are kind of important are the proportions of grain and split peas to liquid. The peas and the grains are going to explode and thicken the broth here, which you want, but if it is overly thick it will burn. I say this from personal experience. It is better to over thin this at least until you open the pressure cooker. Ok here is the recipe:
⅓ cup of any three of the following (you can get all of these online or at a hippie grocery store, but even your most milquetoast megamart should have three. Be sure to check the foreign food aisle. For some reason barley is often put with the dry beans in the Goya section.):
Steel Cut Oats or Whole Oats
7 cups of stock, ideally chicken stock and ideally home made but I am not judging. I do this with store bought all the time.
¼ cup split peas
1 cup shredded cabbage (optional, see note)
1 Carrot roughly chopped into bite sized pieces, or parsnips if you can get them.
The meat from half a chicken, picked and shredded
1 Turnip, cleaned and chopped
1 Onion, diced, or a leek, in thin rings.
4 cloves of garlic, just kind of smashed up a bit
1 bunch of sage
6 bay leaves
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch wood sorrell, aka the clover with the yellow flowers. If you can’t get sorrell, a splash of lemon juice.
½ cup of non waxed cheese rind, or else some kind of hard cheese.
1 6 quart pressure cooker
1 Tb + 1 pat butter
Salt to taste
Gather all the herbs and tie into a bundle, or place in cheese cloth. Set aside.
Place any of the grains you have chosen to use which are whole into a food processor. So, you probably don’t need to add the oats, but most of the others probably come whole. You need to crack them to speed the cooking, but you don’t want powder. Pulse the whole grains a few times, just so most of the grains are visibly cracked.
Melt the 1 TB butter over medium heat in the pressure cooker pot and let it foam out. Add in the onions and saute for five minutes. Add the carrots or parsnips, turnips, and garlic. Saute with the onion for another five minutes. Make sure you have your stock and herbs on hand. Turn up the heat to high. Add the grains. Stir around for a minute or two until you smell a nutty smell. Stirr for an additional minute. You don’t want them to burn, just get some extra flavor. Add the herb bundle and the stock. Stir to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot. Consult your manual, and make sure that you have not overfilled the pot.
Cover and set the pressure to its higher setting. Once the pressure cooker comes to full steam, turn down to low (to maintain pressure but not boil everything off) and allow to cook for 20 minutes. After the time has elapsed, turn off the heat and allow to cool gradually. Do the steam dump if you are in a hurry but the longer process makes for a better final product I think.
When the pressure has released, open the pressure cooker, and put the heat back on low.
Cabbage: Many people like cabbage stewed. This is traditional. if you want to do it like that toss in the cabbage with the veggies before using the pressure cooker. Many others hate cabbage. If you hate cabbage, just leave it out, though it was a very common survival food. I like cabbage in the manner described hereafter:
In a small pan melt and foam the pat of butter. Add the cabbage and quickly saute over a high heat until you see flecks of brown. Add into the stew along with the chicken. Warm through and Adjust seasoning. Serve. If you want to be super authentic, get one of those hippietastic multi-grain breads and put a slice on the bottom of a bowl.
Hopefully you all enjoyed that! Finally, here is the episode:
In today's episode Guy looks to have it all. Power, popularity, and family. But, as things do, the new Guideschi Kingdom is about to unravel.
In this week's episode I struggle to see how much French history I can cram into twenty minutes. The answer is about a hundred years as it happens. Rejected ideas for today's episode included naming all the French kings with only one breath, and doing the episode while suspended over a tank full of rabid David Irving fans while local teens threw tennis balls at a target.
In all seriousness, this episode deals with a very dark time in French history, and I can think of only two that even approach it for their lack of luminousness. On the other hand, the darkness set in motion events that would see France move from the lost cause of the Frankish Empire, to becoming one of the leading states in Europe, centuries later.
Special thanks this week to Ryan Stitt of the History of Ancient Greece Podcast for doing the intro quote. Check out his work, it is awesome.
Greetings. Today our story reached its high point as Guy III of Spoleto goes on a road trip with his cuz Bishop Gelio and starts crowning himself king of various things. It may seem crazy, but I think you're just jelly, yo.
Exciting news! Matthew Caws from Nada Surf just got married! Holy crap! Congrats to Both of them!
Also my sister's birthday is today! This is my sister:
We are a very intense family. Enjoy the episode.
Urban Planner by day. History Podcaster by night.