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Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Tsuru no shiru 鶴の汁 (Crane Broth)

The samurai considered Crane soup a prized dish and a luxury. By the sixteenth century, it was a necessary served at formal warrior banquets. The recipe for the dish that was served in Iemetsu’s banquet closely resembles a recipe published in the Guide to Meals for the Tea Ceremony (Cha no yu kondate shinan, 1676), written by Endō Genkan (n.d.). Commoners were prohibited from eating crane and other fowl at banquets, it was a dish reserved for the elite.


The dish that was served at Crown Tournament is my interpretation from the Ryōri Monogatari. according to Endō Genkan, Crane soup could be prepared with crane that was fresh or crane that had been preserved in salt.  The most important aspect of the preparation was to ensure that each bowl of soup contained one or two pieces of the leg meat of the crane.

Tsuru no shiru 鶴の汁 (Crane Broth)

Add the bones [of the crane] to broth and decoct. Prepare with sashi-miso. The seasoning of the sashi are important. For tsuma, something seasonal is…

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Namazu kabayaki ナマズの蒲焼 (Catfish Kabayaki), Gohan ご飯 (Rice), Gari ガリ (Pickled Ginger)

Yakimono no Bu (焼物之部) is a style of cooking which refers to food that has been cooked via the direct application of heat like grilling, broiling or pan frying. rather than the indirect application of heat that was termed "Iru" and referred to dry roasting in a pan or pot with oil. In Japanese "Yaki" refers to grilled or fired, while "Yakimono" means "a fired thing. During the Muromachi period of the fourteenth century, a typical hon-zen ryori-style meal was served on the principle of "one soup, three sides", also known as ichi ju san sai (一汁三菜) .  For more information on this style of cooking, please read my earlier post Crown Tourney 10/19/2019 - Honzen Ryori Style.

The meal would come with the staples of rice, soup and pickles in addition to the three okazu, or side) dishes which consisted of a namasu (vinegared vegetables), yakimono (a grilled dish) and nimono (a simmered dish) on the first tray. For Namasu, I used Mikawa ae (みかわあへ) an…

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Mikawa ae みかわあへ (salt and miso cured cucumbers) & Kohaku-namasu 紅白なます (Daikon and carrot Salad)

This beautifully simplistic dish of cucumbers that have been pickled in miso paste was one of the star dishes of the banquet. It was elegant to look at and a wonderful accompaniment to the other dishes that were served in the first course. It is believed that Miso originated in Japan during the Yayoi period (300 BCE to 300 CE). Miso is mentioned in the "Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku" ("The True History of the Three Reigns of Japan") that was compiled and completed in the year 901. In fact, Miso was once used to pay high level bureaucrats; it was a luxury item that most people could not afford to purchase.

Mikawa ae (みかわあへ)

Chop up cucumber with its skin. Sprinkle in some salt, rub it in, and quickly rinse and wring it out. Put in hanagatsuo (dried bonito shavings). Dress with poppy miso thinned with irizake and vinegar. If it is tough, the skin can be left out.

Cucumber Pickles with Miso and Sesame

1 3/4 pounds Japanese cucumbers (7 or 8 small). Note: English cucumbers we…

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Fukujinzuke (red pickles for curry) 福神漬け

Japanese cuisine is composed of rice (or another starch), soup and at least two side dishes.  Rice, which is a staple commodity, is the central component.  The accompanying dishes are called Okazu, and are designed to supplement the rice. The main okazu is almost always protein based--grilled fish, meat, or eggs. The secondary okazu can be either a vegetable dish or another protein dish. Additionally, there are accompaniments called "hashi yasume".  A special kind of okazu that contrasts flavor, temperature and texture of the main dish and most often includes small salads or pickles.
Pickles are a very important part of Japanese cuisine.  Just as rice is considered a "core" part of a meal, so too are pickles.  They are used as palate cleansers, condiments, garnishes or relishes. They emerged as a way of preserving food before refrigeration. The methods of pickling range from simply salt and vinegar, to fermentation and culturing molds. 
The simplest pickling proce…

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Vegetarian Gyoza 餃子 & Sarada yō kyabetsu (Japanese Slaw) 福神漬

I have a confession to make--Japanese dumplings are not period.  While it is true that Japan and China had many years of conflict and that Jiaozi (the Chinese dumplings) were a commonly eaten food for almost two thousand years in China, it wasn't until Japan invaded China in 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War that Japanese soldiers were exposed to Chinese Jiaozi,  the parent of Japanese Gyoza and took them home to their families.  
I could not in good conscience allow people to sit at an empty table.  So, I used cook's prerogative to put a small bite of an acidic food (Sarada yō kyabetsu "Japanese Slaw" 福神漬) with a small bite of something savory and spicy to increase the appetite. Additionally, keeping with the theme of symbolism in the feast, the dumpling represents wealth, happiness and celebration. Both the cabbage and mushrooms used in the filling are equally symbolic: cabbage to bring luck and wealth for the next hundred years and mushrooms to bring good …

Crown Tourney 10/19/2019 - Symbolism in the Feast - Turtle

Urashima Taro and the Turtles.

Turtle (kame): In Japan, the turtle is the symbol of wisdom, luck, protection and longevity. It is believed that the turtle will bring 10,000 years of happiness.


Urashima Taro

Long, long ago, in a small village near the sea in the south of Japan, lived a young fisher named Urashima Taro. Although he was a fine fisherman, he was most known for his kind heart. One day, as he returned home from his work, he noticed a group of boistrous children. As he drew near, he saw that they were tormenting a small turtle. Urashima Taro’s heart went out to the turtle.

“Children, that is such a fine turtle. Why not help it back into the sea?”

The children only laughed and continued to poke at the poor turtle.

“If you will give me the turtle, I will give you the money from my catch today,” said Urashima Taro.

The children looked at the large catch of fish and decided to sell the turtle.

The kindhearted fisher spoke softly to the turtle. “You, my friend, will live a long a…

Crown Tourney 10/19/2019 - Honzen Ryori Style

Through my research I discovered that there are three different styles of traditional Japanese cooking; Yusoku Ryori (court cuisine), honzen ryori (dishes for feudal lords) and kaseiki ryori (formal dinners).  The style that was chosen for this banquet was Honzen Ryori, whose roots are in the gishiki ryori (ceremonial cooking) exclusive to nobility in the Heian period (794-1185) (Kodansha).

The basic menu is one soup and three sides (considered minimum fare), which is referred to as ichijū-sansai (一汁三菜) . The number of soups and side dishes could vary from two to three soups, with three, five, seven or eleven accompanying side dishes.  Rice which is a basic staple food and pickles are not counted as side dishes. Although, the menu for Crown Tourney feast contained a staggering number of dishes (33 over three courses and a sweets tray), the soups, rice and pickles should not be considered in the final count of dishes that were served per course. In the first course, there were seven d…

Crown Tourney 10/19/2019 - Research Sources & Inspiration

Learning a new culture requires a ton of reading and research in order to try to "get it right".  Following is a list of some of the resources that I used to research and put together the banquet and a brief essay on the inspiration for the meal that will be served and some take-aways from the copious amount of research that went into the creation of this meal.

Research Sources
Food and Fantasy in Early Modern Japan By Eric Rath

The Tastiest Dish in Edo: Print, Performance and Culinary Entertainment in Early-Modern Japan By Eric Rath

Japanese Foodways Past and Present Edited by Eric Rath and Stephanie Asmann

Early Modern Japan- Banquets Against Boredom: Towards Understanding (Samurai) Cuisine in Early Modern Japan by Eric Rath

A Peek at the Meals of the People of the Edo; Tracing the Diet of Edo--the Establishment of Japan's Culinary Culture Part One by Nobuo Harada

Ryōri Monogatari - A partial translation of one of Japan's earliest cookbooks. Joshua L. Badgley

Inspiration 

Crown Tourney 10/19/2019 - Symbolism in the Feast - The Power of Five

Note: Four is an unlucky number-   it is generally avoided because the word for four is shi (四/し)  closely resembles the word for death shi (死/し)--avoid serving in groups of 4-only serve 1, 2, 3.

Note: Fourth Course* (sweets) will be referred to as what it is "Anmitsu" --traditionally sweets are not served as a separate course but eaten with tea or served as part of the meal.

The Power of Five
- The number five is considered important in Japanese culture, and this extends to its food traditions as well. They form the basis of concepts that have been in place for centuries.

Five Colors - The prevalence of the five colors – white, black, red, green and yellow – has been a tradition since Buddhism arrived from China in the 6th century.

White 白 shiro - includes rice, tofu and soy milk, mild-flavored, delicate white-fleshed fish (shiromi-zakana) and “white meat” pork. White is the traditional color of mourning. It also represents purity and truth.

Black 黒 kuro - includes very da…

Crown Tourney 10/19/2019 Feast Symbolism - Marimo Balls

Marimo balls will be part of the table decorations at feast.  With Luck, the tables will have a zen garden, with a light feature containing a netted candle holder that will resemble a Japanese float, a flameless candle, and as a water feature, a small aquarium containing marimo balls. 

Marimo Balls - Marimo balls symbolize love, luck and prosperity. The story begins as a tale of star-crossed lovers, Senato, the daughter of the Ainu Tribal Chief and her lover Manibe, a commoner.


Senato, daughter of the chieftain of the Ainu tribe, had long wavy black hair down to her shoulders and was tall and strong. She was the jewel of the Ainu tribe. Beautiful as she was she wouldn't have her days sitting around so she went out foraging with the tribal women. She went to fish for salmon one day with a small group of women, when out of nowhere a herd of galloping deer crash into the waters scaring away all the fish and splashing the women.

The deer were frightened at the sight of the ladies a…

Battle of Five Armies Feast 9/12/2015

Blast from the Past--after the event was held I attempted to get all of the recipes compiled, but was unsuccessful.


Sep 11, 2015 at 6 PM – Sep 13, 2015 at 12 PM
Indian Hills 4-H Camp


Come join the Barony of Flaming Gryphon as the forces of the Baronies of Flaming Gryphon, Middle Marches, Brendoken, and Red Spears battle to protect their lands from the forces of Duke Edmund of Lozengia. The Duke claims to possess a document granting him sovereignty over lands currently held in fief from the Crown by the Barons. This disagreement over points of law will be settled, and bragging rights awarded, during this very special Battle of Five Armies at Harvest Days. All comers can enjoy heavy and rapier combat, archery competitions, a populace choice A&S competition, classes, youth activities, and a feast cooked outdoors. And, yes, the Tavern Brawl is on!


First - Lozengia -On the table: Bread, cheese, butter.

Hors d'oeuvres: Tarts of Coneys in Sauce, Loseyns (Cheese Lasagna), fresh cherries a…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Cxlj. Noteye - Nutty (Incomplete)

When I first came across the instructions for creating Noteye, in Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 Thomas Austin  I was intrigued.  The instructions call for using hazel leaves, most likely the eaves of the European Hazel or Filbert (Corylus avellana) in addition to nuts (notys) that have been fried in grease.  From previous research  Cxlij. Vyande Ryalle. - A Royal Dish (incomplete recipe), I had learned that hazel leaves are considered a forage food.  It appears that you are using them to not only color the dish, but also to impart a specific flavor. I do not have access to the leaves, so unfortunately am unable to adequately recreate the recipe 😞. My first thoughts on interpretation are below. I do hope that someone who does have access does try it and remarks upon it.

.Cxlj. Noteye.—Take a gret porcyoun of Haselle leuys, & grynd in a morter a…

Feast Proposals

What have I been up to lately? I know the blog gets "quiet" so I thought I would share some of the newer things I have been learning.  I have put together three proposals because menu planning is something I do for fun.  The site has a few challenges, the first of which is very primitive (which is polite for non-existent) kitchen facilities.

Challenge 1: Put together a meal that can be served cool, room temperature or warm at best-no hot food.

Challenge 2: Clean up after the fact is going to be a challenge --wherever possible use disposable dishwear.

Challenge 3: Distance to site -- the facilities are about an hour away and I have a smallish car which will make transporting food to site interesting without multiple trips.

Challenge 3 was the easiest to resolve..I'm borrowing a truck..look out world. For food transport I am getting multiple coolers.  Ta-Dah.

So the menu.  Italian & Roman menus lend themselves best to this kind of cooking. Italian cooking specifies foo…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .lxxxxiiij. Tenche in bruette & lxxxxv. Tenche in cyueye - Tench in Civey

After some debate, I placed both interpretations from Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 Thomas Austin for tench in sauce or broth on the same blog post.  My reasoning for this is that there is more similarities than differences between the two.  The Tenche in Cyueye includes onions which the Tenche in Bruette does not.

The Glossary of Medieval & Renaissance Culinary Terms defines cyueye in the following way:

cive, civey(e), ciuey, cyuey, ceue, cyueye = Ragout or stew (possibly derived from a word meaning 'onion' (Plouvier). (Viandier)  - Among other modern usages, this is probably a derivative of civey, which was at one time named for, and characterized by, the possibility of thickening a sauce with finely chopped onion, cooked till very soft. Some medieval recipes for civeys (for example, hare in civey) also call for blood as an additional…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - lxxxxvj. Tench in Sawce - Tenche in Sauce

The Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 Thomas Austin gives instructions for three dishes made with Tench.  Two of them, lxxxxiiij. Tenche in bruette - Tench in Broth  and lxxxxv. Tenche in cyueye - Tench in Civey  closely resemble each other.  This dish differs not only in the manner in which the fish is cooked but also in how it is served.  Unlike the other two dishes, where the fish is boiled, then roasted, this dish simply calls for boiling the fish.  This dish also advises us to " serue it forth þanne alle colde"--this is the first set of instructions in the Harleian MS 279 that actually advises to  serve the dish cold! So naturally, I had to try it.

Tench, also known as Doctor Fish, is not generally eaten anymore. It is freshwater fish that thrives in slow moving fresh and brackish waters. It is native to  Eurasia and Western Europe.  Sa…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Cxlvj - Ry3th so Caboges.- The Right Way to Cook Cabbages

This set of instructions is located after Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cxlv. Blaunche Perreye. - White Pea Soup in Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 Thomas Austin.  The instructions are a bit vague, but seem to indicate that you can use the method found in the previous recipe to also cook cabbage.  There also appears to be a second set of instructions that indicate, you can cook your cabbage simply in boiling water and then salt it as you would the blaunche perreye prior to serving.  Prepared either way, this would be a dish that would be appropriate to serve for lent.

.Cxlvj. Ryȝth so Caboges*.[ i.e. Cabbages in just the same way. ] Ben seruyd, saue men sayn it is gode Also to ley hem in a bagge ouernyȝth in rennyng streme of watere, & a-morwe sette vppe watere, & when þe water is skaldyng hot, þrow hem þer on, & hoole hem in þere wyse be…