Outtakes from Kate Heyhoe's book Great Bar Food at Home
You gotta admire those Medieval monks—they discovered the mechanical clock, general anesthesia, Trappist beer, and champagne. They also developed the herbal elixirs Benedictine and Chartreuse, classified as venerable liqueurs today. (The Chartreuse formula remains a monastic trade secret, known only to the three monks making it at any one time.)
Despite monastery ascetics, a considerable number of medieval monks were fat (remember Friar Tuck?), and even obese. Monks at monasteries in the London area bulked up on daily diets of 6000 calories (down to 4000 on fasting days), largely from saturated fat-laden meat, eggs, and cheese.
Today, monasteries have turned food appreciation into lucrative incomes. Mail-order food products, which replaced agrarian economies, go beyond fudge, fruitcake, ale, and liqueurs. You can start your day by throwing off a cozy blanket woven from abbey-shorn sheep's wool, brewing up a pot of Trappist-grown Venezuelan coffee, accompanied by monk-crafted bagel spreads, or perhaps whole grain pancakes and heavenly honey (from Orthodox monks and nuns), and maple syrup tapped by St. Gregory's Friary. Anoint a luncheon salad with herbed oils and balsamic vinegar. Devil up your eggs with a Monastic Mustard from the Benedictine Sisters. Like your tacos hotter 'n' hell? Douse them with habanero hot sauce, crafted by angelic Anglicans. And for dessert, how about a Trappist Whiskey Cake, chocolate truffles, or a wedge of monastery cheese washed down with Trappist ale, served in an authentic silver-rimmed Chimay glass? Miraculously, all of this is just an Internet or mail order away.
What will the brothers (and sisters) think of next? In the words of the monks at St. Gregory's: Bon Appetit and Amen!
[This outtake was originally written for Great Bar Food at Home, but was cut out due to limited page count. To read more, buy Great Bar Food at Home, by Kate Heyhoe]
This page created September 2007
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