Poetry as Inspiration for a Picnic

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From Erotic Cuisine: A natural history of aphrodisiac cookery by Ravicz I found this delightful, a 14th Century passage (pg 67):
Under the green leaves, on the soft turf beside a chattering brook with a clear spring near at hand, I found a rustic hut set up. Gontier and Dame Helen were dining there, on fresh cheese, milk, butter, cheesecake, cream, curds, apples, nuts, plums, pears; they had garlic and onions and crushed shallots, on crusty black bread with a coarse salt to give them a thirst. They drank from a jug and birds made music to cheer the hearts of both lover and lass, who next exchanged loving kisses on mouth and nose, the smooth face and the bearded. (referenced as Marie Collins & Virginia Davis, pg 81 and attributed to Book of Hours (Summer) by Philippe de Vitry.)

The menu is:

  1. fresh cheese
  2. milk
  3. butter
  4. cheesecake
  5. cream
  6. curds
  7. apples
  8. nuts
  9. plums
  10. pears
  11. salad of garlic, onions, shallots & salt
  12. crusty black bread
  13. salt
  14. Wine, and
  15. kisses

Its sort of a lop-sided menu. Its from a book of hours, mostly the passage is to illustrate ‘Summer’ and not really a menu. I did make the menu many years ago as a picnic for around 10 people and it was fun.

Allium Family Salad
* 4 cloves of garlic, peeled, minced
* 1 large onion, peeled, chopped small
* 2 shallots, peeled, chopped small
* 1 tsp salt
* Crusty black bread
* Wine

  1. Mix garlic, onion, shallots and salt together.
  2. Serve by the spoonful on black bread, with wine.

Not kidding about the wine. The dish is very thirsty making.

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