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.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

To make macrows

Lent seems to be an especially good time for me to experiment with remaking the comfort foods I love in a way that fits with my dietary restrictions.

One of my biggest issues, since deciding to stick to the modern version of the medieval Lenten dietary style, is a life without cheese--hardly a simple thing here in Wisconsin. For the longest time, I tried everyone else's fake cheeze sauce & never once had anything that tasted remotely like cheese of any sort. So, of course, I went without cheesy things, since I can't do soy. A few days ago, I broke down and bought some vegan rice cheese, in the hope that it would please the palate, having already learned that vegetable burgers don't really taste like hamburgers, but they are a tasty experience on their own, and they fill that burger void in a reasonable way.

The vegan rice cheese? Mighty Frakin' Awful. Not even close to acceptable tasting. I tried feeding some to baby Ry today, and he spit it right out. When even the Ry Guy won't eat it, then you know it's appalling beyond all human ability to explain.

I knew period recipes for almond cheese existed, and I knew, the moment after I spit that rice cheeze abomination out of my mouth, I was going to have to try to make almond cheese. Unfortunately, most of the period receipts I've turned up are not lent
variations. I haven't looked at them all, but I am prepared to mess with stuff until I get what I want.

The above dish is a step on the way to that. It's a vegan version of the ever-popular Macrows/Makerouns. Whole wheat pasta is covered with a sauce that has the same sort of bite to it that sharp, hard cheeses (like romano, parmesan) have, with nary a dairy drop and is almost completely comprised of period ingredients. Alas, I did use nutritional yeast to help the sharp cheese flavor (I've yet to eat a nutritional yeast food product that has anything even close to a cheese flavor; this was the first time it ever delivered a remotely cheese-like flavor; usually it just produces a bland white-sauce flavor. I digress.), but other than that, it's all golden.

It's also far more nutritionally valuable than Kraft dinner, which is a bonus, *and* Miguel-san liked it. I was worried about that, because he does make a mean mac-n-cheese, real mac-n-cheese. MMMmm.

Recipe for you? I'm afraid not. I failed to write down quantities, and I rather suspect that I'm the only one here who is trying to live Lenten. I'll keep working on this medieval fake cheeze for modern dairy and soy free living thing, though, and if I get it consistently good, mostly period, and precisely quantified, I'll let you know. Right now, I'm just so happy that I have something that works, and that I got it by going back to period cookery, that I wanted to share.

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