[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

Chyches - A Medieval Chickpea Recipe
02 November 2015

After far too long, I had time, reason, and inclination to play around with some medieval recipes again; we were having a day of medieval arts and sciences with our local chapter of our re-enactment group, and I wanted to make some food. After some happy moments browsing through my collection of cookery books, I settled on three recipes, from three different sources: Sops in Mustard, from the Greco and Rose edition of Le Ménagier de Paris, (p. 295, #132); Stewe Lumbard, from Hieatt's edition of Yale MS Beinecke 163, An Ordinance of Pottage(p.52, #50, second variation); and Chyches, from the Hieatt and Butler edition of Forme of Cury in Curye on Inglysch.. All were well-received, but the standout was Chyches.

Chyches. Take chiches and wrye hem in askes al nyȝt oþer al a day, oþer lay hem in hoot aymers. At morowe waische hem in clene water, and do hem ouer the fire with clene water. Seeþ hem vp and do þerto oyle, garlek hole, safroun, powdour fort and salt; seeþ it and messe it forth. - (Forme of Cury, #73, p. 114 in Hieatt and Butler)

Pretty straight-forward, as these things go, with the only questions being the usual ones of quantities and what to use for 'powdour fort.' I decided to go with cumin as one of the main spices, which is probably not quite correct. Cumin was certainly known - there are recipes for a cumin sauce which goes by variations of the name cominy, comeneye, etc. - but it was not commonly mentioned in recipes. There is also a recipe in Apicius for beans and chickpeas with cumin. In any case, the marriage of cumin and chickpea is a happy one, and I decided to stretch a point. The result was more than adequate.


Begin by simmering the chickpeas. If you'd like to soak them overnight, go right ahead! If I was making these at home (and remembered), I probably would. Meanwhile, peel your garlic, but leave the cloves whole. When the chickpeas are nearly done, after an hour or two, toss in the garlic. At this point, you may safely remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for a while. This is handy, if you are working to a schedule.

Perhaps forty-five minutes before you want to serve them, drain off most of the water, add the oil, salt, pepper and cumin. Stir well and bring back up to a simmer. I didn't want the liquid to be too thin but neither did I want to fry the chickpeas; by pouring off most of the water and letting some of the rest evaporate seemed like the best way to manage this. At some point, taste a few peas with the broth, and adjust the seasoning as you see fit.

Then serve it forth. The garlic, by virtue of the soaking and simmering, is not terribly strong, while still having a good taste. The blend of chickpea, cumin, and garlic works beautifully - which should come as no surprise to anyone who enjoys hummus.

© 2015 Jeff Berry
The Aspiring Luddite