Winter Fare (Head on a Pike?)

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Winter Fare (Head on a Pike?)

Postby Bill Spohn » Sat Dec 23, 2006 5:16 pm

Good weather for stews and such hearty dishes - I'll be doing one based on beef, with cumin, pearl onions, cinnamon and cloves this weekend.

But what this recipe reminded me of was another use for cumin. In the good old days when displeasure for political opposition didn't stop at snubbing them at the club, taking the losing side of an argument used to end up with your head on a pike as an example for others.

A recent mention of this on a documentary included the tidbit that they would parboil the heads with cumin so that the birds wouldn't pick them clean (bare skulls presumably having less preventative effect on still-living potential miscreants).

Anyone know more about this recipe for tête de traître? Were there other ingredients? How would they have known that cumin put birds off their feed - was cumin a readily available in England?

One has a macabre vision of Michael Palin showing up at the dispensary "I'll have a pound of cumin and pike, please....our three weapons are......."

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Re: Winter Fare (Head on a Pike?)

Postby Paul Winalski » Sun Dec 24, 2006 12:45 am

Bill Spohn wrote:A recent mention of this on a documentary included the tidbit that they would parboil the heads with cumin so that the birds wouldn't pick them clean (bare skulls presumably having less preventative effect on still-living potential miscreants).


Geez, I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition!

Presumably one receives the cumin treatment if one fails to curry favor in court, and gets one's head clove away by a big axe.

-Paul W.
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Re: Winter Fare (Head on a Pike?)

Postby Doug Surplus » Sun Dec 24, 2006 1:16 am

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Doug

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