The Cook-A-Long is a virtual kitchen for Medieval and Renaissance Cooking enthusiasts in the SCA. Each month a period recipe will be posted in the original language (when available) and a translation. All cooks are encouraged to try their hand at redacting and preparing the monthly dish and post his/ her results to the blog. If you are interested in becoming a participant in this cook a long, or would like to submit a dish for the month please send an e-mail to valkyr8 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

On Gourds

Market Woman with Vegetable Stall
Oil on wood, 11 x 110 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Gourd. Courge - Gourd is the name given to many species of the Cucurbitaceae family. Cucurbitaceae pepo include the summer and autumn pumpkins (yellow gourds), the vegetable marrows, and various summer squashes. Cucurbitaceae maxima include the North American winter squashes. Cucurbitaceae moschata include the Canada or cushaw, Quaker or Japanese squashes (or pumpkin). Gourds are one of the oldest vegetables known to man although it is doubtful if any of the many kinds which grow today could be identified with any of the original species. The word gourd is reserved in North America for the decorative inedible variety. Winter and summer squash as well as pumpkin are grown on a very large scale. Winter squash can often be used in place of pumpkin.

Taken from: Larousse Gastronomique, The Encyclopedia of Food, Wine and Cookery, by Prosper Montagne'. Crown Publishers, Inc. New York, 1961. B000B9EJCK

Pretty much any squash that I will have available to me will be a hybrid or an American heirloom variety. For the November recipe I've decided to use one of the varieties of winter squash available from the local growers at the Farmer's Market and see how the recipe turns out.



ecb said...

Bizarre. I was up last night looking for pictures of recognizable squash-type veggies and researching the possibility of getting edible gourds at the same time you were, apparently. I love looking at those late 16th c. market scenes and recognizing artichokes and califlour and so forth, but the things that look like "gourds" could be squash or melon. Some of the pix had the fruit cut open, and they tend to look more like musk melon rather than squash, but that may simply be because the hybridization we deal with has changed the interior look of squash.

I think it'll be a little easier on me, since squash was known to the English during the 16th c to feel comfy redacting this with American hybrid varieties. You're before NWF, so it might be a little harder on your conscience. ;-)

Liz said...

Great minds, you know!

Yeah I think there are some melons in this particular painting, but there are some gourds as well, some zuccini looking things and squash from what I can tell.

Personally I'm resigned to make due with what I can get, but I wanted people to have the info so they could make their own decisions.