Francis C. writes: Please do post something about food myths – the one regarding medieval people heavily spicing their food to hide the fact that it was rotten is still around!
My pleasure, Francis. But never mind my words–here is Bill Bryson, trying to debunk this myth in his newly published book, At Home: “The only people who could afford most spices were the ones least likely to have bad meat, and anyway spices were too valuable to be used as a mask. . . people used them carefully and sparingly, and not as a sort of flavorsome cover-up.”
Because they came from so far away–the aptly named Spice Islands, aka the East Indies–spices were very expensive and, for many centuries, only for the richest Westerners. Not the sort of people who ate rotten meat.