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Author Topic: Vessel shapes as an aid in understandig food production and consumption  (Read 19399 times)
pots and pans
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Retired Museum Curator

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« on: April 22, 2011, 08:54:19 PM »

Hello. I am an archaeologist specialized in Andalousi archaeology. After many years of studying ceramic and bronze vessels and their typology I would suggest a topic: the relationship between pots and pans' shapes in relation to the preservation and elaboration of food-stuff. Allow me to be more specific wih some samples.
From the observation of pottery shapes, quite a few of which can be fairly well dated even to the 8th nd 9th Cents. a.D. some suggestions can be made:
a) Some pots seem to be designed to boil beans + meat stuff with bones
b) Some pots are designed to boil chickpeas, with a specific type of lid which filters warm water into the pot to avoid water cooling, stopping boiling and avoiding the peas to go hard, rendering them inedible.
The specific lid type seems to have its origin in Iran and/or Syria.
c) Certain small pots seem to be asscoiated with soldiers, ranging from the 8th-9th Cent a.D. all the way to late 12th, early 13th, as far as we know. They suggest a specific type of diet, which can be done while in campaign ¿a type of porridge, with meat bits to increase protein amount? ¿a type of "pisto" (mashed broiled vegetables, still typical in the countryside, involving red pepper, green paper and zuchinni, seasoned woth salt and cumming. Present day recipes include tomato, an obvious later addition).
d) Feeders 1) for children and 2) for ill persons, which suggests, in the latter case, a vegetable diet, applied to persons who are in no condition to bite their food, probably due to the loss of teeth. This suggests a vitamin C shortage in diet, excess of grit sand in flour and bread as a consequence of sandstone mills.
e) Special vessels with holes in the bottom for making cheese.
f) Baking trays
g) vessels adequate for goat milking, with a large upper openning and a large, wide spout.
h) non-permeable (not necessarily glazed) vessels adequate for the preservation of food, be they in water (boiled), in olive oil (meat), or pickled.
i) Other vessels are apt for solidifying sugarcane syrup and converting it into "panelas" or sugar blocks (these always seem to be glazed).Inveresely we know, through contemporary literature, that in the 16th Cent. it was fashionable in Rome to go to the brothels with Spanish prostitutes to eat couscous. The one were "la lozana andaluza" worked was reputed to have the best one in the city. This impies a great deal of cultural transference.
I will be most gratefull for help in this topic with data such as species introduction dates (if feasable), cultvation areas, preservation methods (if known), &c
Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2011, 08:12:10 PM by pots and pans » Logged

Juan Zozaya
13270 Almagro Spain
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