My So-Called Pilgrim Life

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A chronicle of daily life in the 1627 English village at Plimoth Plantation from both a modern and historical perspective.

Snippets of sippets

December 19th, 2009 by admin


Or another way to say Toast
Not just any toast, toast with a tasty topping. In the program it was titled Snippets of Spinach, snippets being a misreading of sippets, which I’m sure you all remember is a small sop. And a sop? A slice of bread that is sometimes toasted or sometimes fried that goes first in the dish to sop up the sauce or the broth. Sometimes the sop gets its own topping and served to fill in the edges of a meal. Am I the only on who hears bread with tasty topping and thinks bruschetta? This 17th century recipe is as easy as toast!

To make a fried toste of Spinage.
Take Spinnage and seeth it in water and salt, and when it is tender, wring out the water between two Trenchers, then chop it small and set it on a Chafing-dish of coles, and put thereto butter, small Raisons, Sinamon, Ginger, and Sugar, and a little of the iuyce of an Orenge and the two yolkes of rawe Eggs, and let it boil till it be somewhat thicke, then toste your toste, soake them in a little Butter, and Suger, and spread thinne your spinnage upon them, and set them in a dish before the fire alitle while, & so serve them with a little suger upon them.
- Dawson, Thomas.

Cook the spinach and wring out the water – put it in a clean towel and wring the ends over a sink. Chop the spinach, put in a saucepan with some butter, a few raisins or currents, some cinnamon, ginger and sugar. Squeeze in some lemon juice (or use about a tablespoon of orange juice and skip the sugar. They were using Seville oranges in the 17th century, so lemon juice is a better choice then sweet or navel orange juice in this case). The 2 egg yolks are to thicken the sauce. There are variations of this recipe that use 2 or 3 cooked egg yolks as well. Cook it till it thickens up somewhat. In the mean time, toast your bread – a thinly sliced baguette make a great base. You want something that isn’t going to dissolve instantly. Butter the spread, spread on some of the spinach and give it a minute or two to to meld. If you do this part ahead of time, you can run them under the broiler for just a minute to reheat them befoer serving. Now for sugar on top….A 17th century housewife would be scraping her sugar from a sugarloaf, which gives you very fine sugar, a very little at a time. So a pinch of superfine sugar is all you need here, and if you are using orange juice, it’s probably sweet enough or a very small pinch of granulated sugar, just enough to bring out the contrast between the sour of the lemon/orange juice and the flavor of the spinach (which I keep spelling ‘spinnage’, thank you very much Mr Dawson) and of course the bread.

There are some wonderful images of the Embroidered Jacket on the Embroiderers blog, and I’m going to try this whole link thing again.

Colonial Foodways Culinarian

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3 Responses to “Snippets of sippets”

  1. John Montague says:

    I just don’t know if I can wrap my mind around spinach and toast/sugar/cinnamon, etc. Maybe if I didn’t know what made up the ingredients, it would sound tastier. Is it really worth trying?

  2. Stacy says:

    I found it weird as well at first to put sugar in “savory” dishes when I started pilgrim cooking. But from my experience I find that it is a great contrast. It’s not like there is an over abundance of sweetness, but it’s like putting a little salt in a sweet dessert, you need the contrast to get more of the sweetness. The small amount of sugar just adds a (how do I say this without being corny) whole nother dimension of flavor I guess. I think the wonderful thing about these recipes is you can add as little or much of something as you like. Cinnamon and nutmeg I find are wonderful in savory as well as sweet dishes (Actually I find that I put nutmeg in about everything now. Adds a little something.) But I’m personally not that big a fan of ginger so I don’t add that much.
    I want to see what KW says but that’s my two cents on the subject. And this does seem like a boiled sallet recipe put on sops.

  3. KMWall says:

    Definately worth trying. Stacy’s right – don’t go overboard with the sugar or the spices. It should enrich the experince, not overwhelm it. Since we come from a culture of excess – I’m thinking yams with marshmallows on how many Thanksgiving tables and glazed carrots staring out at me from the frozen food section, to name 2 – restraint seems like a halfway measure. Really, a pinch will do just fine.
    I’m thinking that the sippets and sop recipes are very closly realted to salads of the 17th century in that they’re all closely related to sauces and a remain still close to the root of all those words – salt. All of these dishes were more of an enhancement, a seasoning of the main dish.
    And speaking of seasonings, Seasonings Greeting to all of you!

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