woensdag 24 februari 2016

Bread of Dreams - Digest: '4. 'They Set Out into the World of the Vagabond''

"When the crises of existence became more acute, during the tense moments of food shortage [...], the threat of hunger's Grim Reaper, the divine punishment of which ranting preachers warned, lacerated the most deprived, the least protected and least secure, making their terrified faces turn pale. The 'famine of living' - as it was described at the time - upset the price curve, forcing the price of foodstuffs to a level inaccessible to urban artisans and labourers, while the withered countryside saw its cultivators (generally too numerous in relation to the low yield of the land) fleeing towards the heaven of the cities in order to beg - new mendicants - for bread from public charity." [...]
It is not really surprising then that the 'question of language', [...] should perform a mystifying role in this great national deceit, re-invented periodically in order to alienate [...] together with the language of the poor [...], the reality of a world which found difficulty in facing its harsh existence, what with 'storms' in the food supply, hygienic marasmus, servile conditions and precarious trades verging on beggary (costermongers, spinners, spirit-vendors, street-talkers, porters, latrine-emptiers,
tricksters ..., always on the point of sliding into the social temptation of vagrancy or beggary, when work - often unrewarding, always hard - did not guarantee even the necessary minimum, or when
hit by unemployment and the cost of living. [...]
(Camporesi 1996, '4 'They Set Out into the World of the Vagabond'', pp. 56-57)

"In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the rogue was experiencing his golden age, with his repertory of 'miserable frauds', his loitering and the 'fiction of broken limbs'. It was said in Bologna around the middle of the sixteenth century that 'the better one knows how to deceive, thebetter one succeeds.' In Genoa, begging, minor crime and roguery constituted a negative social model that worried the civil powers: the garzonastri ('young toughs') joined in with 'some of the vilest criminals, who - not having any trade and being sent on the hunt, it could be said, by fathers who cannot feed them, from around the age of ten to twentytwo, wandering through the streets of the city day and night - support themselves with thefts and vile deeds'. Rogues, on the other hand, represented
'a certain type of scrounger who, as enemies of work and resolved to live at the expense of others, go about asking for alms under various forms and pretences'. The business of living the life of a swindler was day by day becoming an ever more subtle 'art': beggar-philosophers and wandering sages discoursed on their privileged condition and perceptive, disenchanted experts speculated on the penetration of fraud to all levels [...], recognizing the primacy of the 'industry' of deception and theorizing on the universality of the 'imposture', its cosmic expanse, its infinite beauty and ubiquitous metamorphoses. Its indispensable pre-eminence in the formation of man and its unrivalled role in the techniques of expanding the intelligence were vigorously supported.

'And thanks to this variation the world becomes beautiful, the brain of one person is made more acute in the search for new ways of defrauding, and that of another becomes sharper in order to guard himself against it. And in effect, all the world is imposture; and it begins with the men of religion, and continues with the lawyers, the doctors, the astrologists, the worldly princes, those who participate at any time in all arts and trades; and day by day everything gets sharper and more refined. '

Giacomo Franco, Charlatans in St Marks square in Venice, 1610, engraving [Getty Images]
"The public square 'is none other than the Theatre of worldly events', a much vaster stage than the ambiguous space which constituted the inn (the shrine of meetings, pranks and deceptions). But even certain hospitals, at night, were transformed into gambling dens and card rooms by unreliable types, as can be observed in a few pages of the 'Speculum cerretanorum' [Teseo Pini], where a group of vagrants - wandering pedlars of sacred images - are caught playing dice on the reverse side of a panel depicting the Virgin Mary; or in the 'Serenata di Gian Pitocco' by Giulio Cesare Croce, in which the hospital becomes a safe refuge for wandering lovers.
The furtive shadows of dubious faces moved about on the stages of itinerant actors, sign of the  uncontrollable osmosis between fiction and its representation."
(Camporesi 1996, '4 'They Set Out into the World of the Vagabond'', pp. 58-59)


Hawthorn / Meidoorn (Crataegus Monogyna)

Hawthorn / Meidoorn (Crataegus Monogyna): fruit



















[Hawthorn / Meidoorn (Crataegus Monogyna): "The fruit of hawthorn, called haws, are edible raw but are commonly made into jellies, jams, and syrups, used to make wine, or to add flavour to brandy. A haw is small and oblong, similar in size and shape to a small olive or grape, and red when ripe. Petals are also edible, as are the leaves, which if picked in spring when still young are tender enough to be used in salads."
(Wikipedia, dd. 23/02/2016)]




European Hornbeam / Haagbeuk (Carpinus Betulus): fruit
European Hornbeam / Haagbeuk (Carpinus Betulus)




















[European Hornbeam / Haagbeuk (Carpinus Betulus): "An important constituent of hornbeam is tannin, which gives it effective antibiotic, astringent, and healing properties. [...] Hornbeam is well known for its ability to relieve mental fatigue and physical tiredness. Its medicinal properties help in boosting energy levels and increase vitality. Hornbeam flower essence is commonly used for treating problems like stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other related disorders. Hornbeam also helps in keeping the mind active so that one can perform routine tasks without getting tired easily." 
(Home Remedies for you, dd. 23/02/2016)  (Wikipedia, dd. 23/02/2016)]


"When bread became scarce or absent in the great houses, if not in the courts themselves, it was easily remedied by accompanying meat with more meat, but when severer than usual hunger entered into peasant houses, they attempted to survive by resorting to surrogates for flour and by devoting themselves to the tiresome search for the herbs and roots necessary for survival. As Tomasino de' Bianchi, a chronicler of Modena in the second half of the fifteenth century, writes: 'they take hawthorn fruit, then chaga [the fruit of the hornbeam (...)]; they dry and grind them and they take three parts of this flour and one of wheat flour and they make bread ... many children are sent to the woods to look for this fruit.'"



Patience Dock / Spinaziezuring (Rumex patientia)
Patience Dock / Spinaziezuring (Rumex patientia)




















[Patience Dock / Spinaziezuring (Rumex patientia): "These plants are edible. The leaves of most species contain oxalic acid and tannin, and many have astringent and slightly purgative qualities. Some species with particularly high levels of oxalic acid are called sorrels, and some of these are grown as leaf vegetables or garden herbs for their acidic taste." 
(Wikipedia, dd. 23/02/2016) 
"De jonge bladeren worden als bladgroente gegeten in Oost-Europa met name in Bulgarije, Macedonië en Servië. In Roemenië wordt het ook gebruikt in soepen." 
(Wikipedia, dd. 23/02/2016)]



Persicaria / Adderwortel (Persicaria Bistorta)
Persicaria / Adderwortel (Persicaria Bistorta)




















[Persicaria / Adderwortel (Persicaria Bistorta): "Reeds in de 15e eeuw werd de plant gebruikt in de geneeskunde. Het kruid was al eerder beschreven maar dan onder andere namen. De plant werd gebruikt tegen scheurbuik en als wondkruid of bloedstelpend middel. Door de vorm van de wortel kon het volgens de signatuurleer toegepast worden bij slangenbeten en ander gif. Een oude naam voor het kruid was dan ook Serpentaria. Het is nog steeds één van de beste samentrekkende kruiden. In het verleden werd de plant veel als groente gegeten, met name de spruiten en het jonge blad. Ze werd ook gebruikt bij het leerlooien." 
(Wikipedia, dd. 23/02/2016)]



Field Thistle / Akkerdistel (Cirsium Arvense)
taproot thistle

[Field Thistle (alternative name 'lettuce from hell thistle') / Akkerdistel (Cirsium Arvense): "Like other Cirsium species, the roots are edible, though rarely used, not least because of their propensity to induce flatulence in some people. The taproot is considered the most nutritious. The leaves are also edible, though the spines make their preparation for food too tedious to be worthwhile. The stalks, however, are also edible and more easily de-spined." 
(Wikipedia, dd. 23/02/2016)]



Rapeseed / Koolzaad (Brassica napus)






Rapeseed leaves



[Rapeseed / Koolzaad (Brassica napus): "Historically, rapeseed was mainly produced as a source of lubricant for machinery due to its high levels of glucosinolate, a bittering agent which made the oil unpalatable, and erucic acid, a toxic substance associated with cardiac lesions. However, in 1973, Canadian agricultural scientists bred strains of rapeseed sufficiently low in these substances to make the crop palatable and safe for both human and livestock consumption." (Wikipedia, dd. 23/02/2016)]

"On a day in 1484 this same chronicler noted that a group of thirty women and children had entered one of his fields, 'gathering roses, patience-dockspersicariafield thistle, poppy, rape leaves ... and they mixed everything together with a bit of oil or fat and with vinegar, water and salt in the pot, and they ate it."
(Camporesi 1996, '4 'They Set Out into the World of the Vagabond'', pp. 61-62)

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