Dec 31 2012

Welcome to the Medieval Vegetarian

NOTE: This post is wildly out-of-date now. I am retiring it shortly and will replace it with a new welcome page.

So, I am what you might call a picky eater. This is borne out of lifelong allergies coupled with good old-fashioned food fear. However, I actually enjoy food – a lot. This limited variety diet mixed with a sedentary lifestyle (my day job involves the legal field and I am an avid gamer) has made me look like most Americans. Furthermore, many members of my mother’s side of the family (including her father) have had diabetes.

I first started to consider how to reduce the sugar from my diet. It is not an easy task on multiple levels. Firstly, we live in a pre-processed society and have an on-the-go mentality. I know better than most – the rumors you hear about the long hours of the legal profession are very true – the temptation for an easy meal, frequently prepared by someone else. Secondly, the American palate is strongly centered around our favorite white granules: sugar and salt – and lots of it.

When I started to consider this, I realized I needed to examine healthy eating that did not rely much on either. I also did not want to end up eating truly “foreign” foods all the time – I wanted things that are generally familiar to my palate, otherwise the chances of success would be very, very low.

My undergraduate degree is in religious studies and modern languages. The head of my religion program was considered an expert in the intersection of food and religion in early modern Italy, so I had constant exposure to “old” food recipes. My senior thesis was on Ste Geneviève  (also called “Genovefa”), the patron saint of Paris and 5th century vegetarian. While my thesis focused on feminine iconography in early medieval Gaul, knowledge of her diet was already embedded in my mind as part of my research. I began to research, and I liked what I found.

Right now, my plan is to integrate medieval meals into my dinnertime plan. I’ll also be switching to mediterranean foods for lunch but keeping my usual bagel with cream cheese for breakfast (for now). I am also organizing a local mealshare with a handful of friends, so others will be trying my food and hopefully providing feedback.

While there are many, many foods I know I do not like, I am not taking anything off the board for this. Part of the adventure is trying new things and hopefully finding old ways to prepare dishes that agree with me.

I hope to use this blog to document recipes and how they end up going for me when I try to prepare them, as well as how they taste, any variations I made, and so on. Some recipes I may not be able to share precisely due to copyright – but I hope to reference medieval source materials whenever possible and translate them directly myself so as to remove any intellectual property concerns.

Next up: On the Medieval Diet.

2 comments on “Welcome to the Medieval Vegetarian

  1. Yay! I’m super excited about your recipes. We are trying to work toward a more vegetarian diet, and I HATE HATE HATE tofu and other processed meat substitutions. Finding a way to center meals around whole foods is my goal, but I’m kind of unanchored so far. Adding this to my reading list 🙂

    • Thanks, Rachel! 😀 I am really not a fan of meat substitutes or tofu, either, so I’m glad someone else will get some use out of it, too. ♥

      genovefa on said:

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