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Showing posts from November, 2016

Mutton Wine

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While reading Science and Civilisation about mead, I found this passage talking about the medicated wines in The Wine Canon of North Hill (北山酒經):
Two wines with animal components are included, the venerable tiger-bone wine and the estimable mutton wine.  The tiger-bone is still going strong, but the lamb appears to have lost its appeal. (page 237) For a brief moment I felt safe in knowing that I didn't have a copy of the source text.  These were simpler times, full of innocence and happiness.  Then I though, "well, I should really make sure it hasn't been digitized yet" and lo and behold, ctext.org has it.  Ugh.  It's in the third chapter ("下")

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〔白羊酒〕 White Mutton Wine 45

臘月取絕嫩羯羊肉三十斤, In the twelfth month take thirty jin of the meat of a particularly tender wether. 肉三十廳內要肥膘十斤, Within the thirty [jin?] should be ten jin of fat. 連骨使水六斗已來, Add six dou of water to the bones, 入鍋煮肉,令極軟。

Chinese Mead?

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Carolingia, the Boston-area SCA group is planning an event in March called the Laurels Prize Tourney, where laurels (people who are Officially Very Good At Arts and Sciences) put out challenges and people try to meet them.

One of the challenges calls for well-researched mead, and I wondered if I could find any Chinese mead recipes.  I know that grain wines were far and away the dominant thing, but there's got to be something out there, right?

Well, I read through 46 pages of search results for every mention of "honey" after the Han dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE) in the big online repository of Chinese texts and came up with nothing.  Rats.  I did learn that they preserved plums in honey, which is kind of cool I guess.

ctext.org doesn't have everything though.  And while I was taking a break around page 20, I decided to see what Google could turn up.

English wikipedia mentions this paper about a 1000-2000 BCE find supporting a mixed honey, rice and grape fermentation, but …

I Found a Better Name

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I took a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in late September because I thought there was an exhibit on Chinese laquer ware that was going to close soon.

I had the year wrong, it's opening and closing in 2017.  Whoops.

Instead, I took a stroll through the Chinese collection, on the lookout for drinking cups I could replicate, and took a ton of photos for my friends with research interests.  There was a lot of debate about what exactly this woman

is holding happening in the SCA China facebook group, and I happened to be walking past the statue at the time so I took some video and helped answer the question.

I also took a look at the scrolls section since I have friends who do beautiful calligraphy and are always looking for ideas.

I came across this beautiful scroll:


Which is titled, politely, "Drinking and composing poetry."  Except it isn't.  Here's the title colophon

Read right-to-left, these are foot-high characters that read

LITERATURE.  DRINKING.

I don…

Where We Stand, Where We Go From here

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Pennsic was a whirlwind of activity, and despite me promising to update this blog "real soon I promise" life got in the way.

I think this is a good time to take inventory of what I've figured out over the past year or so.  There are a lot of unanswered questions, but I've made a ton of progress nailing down this process.
Yeast Cakes I've got a recipe for "exceptional" yeast cakes that worked once, last year.
I tried to make it a month ago and it rotted 😑
But hey, it worked once.
I also learned that the warning about "don't store this in a sealed container or it'll turn black and get gross" wasn't kidding, since my cakes did just that.  Mr. Jia wasn't joking, apparently.
The recipe as I handed it out at Pennsic is posted at the bottom. Brewing I made one rice wine for Pennsic that was delightful.  Sweet, dark, saucy, it was great.  I didn't get to panel it, sadly.  I made one short-wine a while ago that also worked well.  S…