I haven’t yet found evidence of Pere Botero’s cauldron in accounts of the 1251/1320 Shepherds’ Crusade, but at least this meme will encourage children who suspect that – denuded of the genitive apostrophe-s – shepherd’s pie is exactly what it purports to be: minced shepherd with boots and gravy, topped first with potato mash and then with a layer of grated cheese, baked until brown, and forced down one’s throat by a dietary zealot. Think I’m kidding you? Here’s old rent-a-quote Radulph from Caen in Amin Maalouf’s The Crusades through Arab eyes:
In Ma’arra our troops boiled pagan adults in cooking-pots; they impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled.
Boring gits will now point out that Radulph was writing about the year 1098, not 1251, and that there is moreover no record of unethical culinary relationships involving pastoralists during that campaign. Fair enough, but then you also need to acknowledge that shepherd-eating is an enduring theme in European folklore. I’m not talking so much about stuff like George Borrow’s rejection of such stories in The Zincali: An Account of the Gypsies of Spain as about the adoption by the Fourth Lateran Council of transubstantiation, the principal shepherd-eating myth in European culture. This doctrine was made official in 1215, and after 36 years French shepherds may have decided they’d had enough.
- Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo on George Borrow
In between pints of Summer Lightning I’ve been reading bits of Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo’s account of heresy in Spain, Historia de
- Barretina gitana
George Borrow (1803-81), The Zincali: An Account of the Gypsies in Spain (1841): El vestit del Gitano varia amb el país que
- Gypsy madonna, madonna gypsy
Who’s copying who?
- Novel explanation for presence of volcanoes and river gold in the Pyrenees
James Howell, Epistolae Ho-Elianae: Familiar Letters, Domestic and Forren (1688, on GBS): There is a Tradition, that there were divers Mines of
- Segmentation of the bed-in-a-shed market
Brand it “gypsy” and the desert is your oyster.