Every so often there’s a “news” clip about how some stranger is suing a Pop Star for stealing their song. The argument is that Person A is the only person to have arranged notes or lyrics in a certain pattern, and Person B has wrongfully stolen said song and illegally profited from the same. Person A is always serious in his/her claim, and honestly can’t believe that Person B could have prepared the piece. Often the courts dismiss the claims, noting that on a planet that houses some 7 billion people, it is statistically possible for at least two people to have the same idea.
Well, as Steve Martin says in The Jerk, “I never thought it would happen to me.”
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post, Going Medieval, where I talked about making “powder douce,” a blend of medieval spices for meats and poultry. I gave my take on the recipe and listed the items that I used to create this blend. Several days later, however, I ended up searching one of my bookshelves and found Odile Redon’s The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998. (ISBN: 9780226706849). This is a book I picked up when it was first published, but aside from the casual glance, I’ve not read it.
I’d gotten it into my head that I wanted to make an authentic medieval bread. That’s when I remembered Redon’s book (hence the search). In thumbing through the book, I came across a recipe for powder douce, and it’s very similar to mine. There are two key differences: Redon has more specific measurements for all of the ingredients (mine are mainly ‘to taste,’ and there’s an additional ingredient – saffron.
My concoction was created by reading several different texts, and honestly, what I posted is a general interpretation of what powder douce contained. Redon’s addition of saffron sounds good, but as someone who’s never used it in his cooking, I would have never thought to include it.
So, there you have it. I know that Redon’s recipe didn’t influence mine (I didn’t even know about it), but I’m tossing this out there so that no one says, “Hey, wait a minute . . .”
I should add that now having read it, I think that Redon’s book is excellent.