A TASTE OF HISTORY
Dilara Develi has reached the tastes of history!

When we look at a historical painting, we may notice the elaborate dishes on the feast table, carefully positioned fruits or perhaps the oddly misshapen cat. We might even wonder the taste of it. How to prepare that food, however, is probably the least of our concerns. The food on that painting, on that feast table seems inorganic, like an object that is not meant to be eaten. We never even think that the dish is prepared by real people with real ingredients and real effort. 

The reason behind this is that we associate food with liveliness. It is created, consumed, and if not consumed, decays. The stillness of a painting coincides with the organic nature of matter. The reality, however, is that even the time capsule of the painting preserves the integrity of the dish, real-life counterpart of the food is eaten, probably during the making of the painting. 

Experiencing history is not only knowing, studying, or watching about it. To really have taste of history (pun-intended), preparing a dish out of a painting is a magical way to do it. Today, this is what we set out to do. And today’s dish is “Everlasting Syllabub”, the fluffiest dish in history! 

 

But first we should have a look at the history of this historic dish. As a drink, syllabub first became popular at 16thCentury. The drink was not yet ‘everlasting’ in terms of the frothy cream and it was simply known as syllabub. 

Although the recipes for this fluffy dessert has infinite number of variants, the main ingredients are as simple as vine, lemon, and cream. The cream would be curdled as it was froth and then when poured into a glass, the vine would separate and go to the bottom. Then the frothy cream with sprinkled lemon zest would be on top, so it looked a little bit like beer.  And when you sipped it, you got some of both. 

With that being said, making of the frothy cream is an interesting topic mention. One of the most iconic and legendary technique was “under the cow”. This technique required a dairy maid to milk the cow directly to a bowl of sugar, white wine, brandy, and cider, to cerate the desired whipped cream top. Then she was to let it sit for a few hours in a cool place.  It sounds simple, rustic, and even pretty tasty. However, this recipe was more fantasy than reality and incredibly impractical.  Despite being unsanitary, it doesn’t seem to work and splits the milk in a most unappetizing way.

Fortunately, when we come to the 18th Century, the fate of syllabub took a promising turn. The drink became a dessert and the final product was less alcoholic and sweeter. The cream on top was more stable with the help of sugar, hence the name “everlasting syllabub.” 

The recipe we are using today, and the whole article to be honest, is inspired from Max Miller’s Youtube channel, “Tasting History with Max Miller”. He uses a recipe from Hannah Glasse’s cookbook, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, written in 1747.  Her recipe says;