Wednesday, October 5, 2011

more on the Clove... not a flower...

I don't know, or just simply can not remember, who wrote it, but the argument, it seems, was taken directly out of "The chronology of words and phrases, a thousand years in the history of English" by Linda and Roger Flavell, 1999.

The near direct quote seems to have come from here
"This form was taken into Middle English in the early thirteenth century as clowe of gilofre or clowe -gilofre but was inevitably soon shortened to clowe or cloue. Thus the name of the spice has its origins in Latin clavus, 'nail', from which the French word clou is derived. Meanwhile the discarded gilofre was applied to the clove- scented pink and, influenced by flower, evolved as gillyflower."

The only troubling part to this was that it never states when it actually evolved into "gillyflour" or the late 15th century poem from: MS R.3.19., "O gelofre gentyll, O floure most delycious, O redolent roose with your swete savour, O my fayre lylly in vertew most precious, O comly vyolet of good savour"
Whomever wrote it, certainly had no problem using the word "gelofre" to refer to the gillyflower.

While, I think we have to accept the likelihood of it being just a clove, sometimes we have to keep our minds open to other possibilities... I have certainly opened mine up to it being just a clove (I can not claim to know everything, that's for sure).


.Clxlij. For to make mawmany.
Take the chese & of fleysch of capouns or of hennes and hak smale and grynde hem smale in a morter. take mylke of almaundes with the broth of freysch fleysche, (or?) beef & put the fleysche in the mylke or in the broth. set hem to the fyre and lye hem with flour of rys or gastboun of amydoun as chargeaunt as the blank desyre and with yolkes of ayroun and safroun for to make hit yelow & whan hit ys dressyt in dysches with blank desyre:  styke a bove clowes de gylofre. and straw poudour of galyngale above & serve forth.

Think minced meat cooked in almond milk, thickened with rice flour and coloured with egg yolk and saffron and served in dishes studded with "Clowes de gylofre"  and strewn with powdered galangal.

While the other two dishes in the same cook book that mention "poudour gylofrer" or "clowes gylofre" may very well just be cloves as it makes so much sense in their context, I do wonder about this one. They would make it interesting to look at, but would not impart much flavour for the amount being used unless they were to be eaten whole... a possibility but would be a somewhat mouth numbing experience, unless one did not wish to taste the dish. Another possibility would be that they are distinctly decoration and were to be thrown out? As flowers, however, they would not be costly yet they would be beautiful and also add decoration as well as scent to the dish and could either be eaten (partially) or discarded without much cost.

I think it's a hard call...

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