Preparing dried fish after the Oeconomia

A short one today – I’m preparing something new

Of the dried soles or Plateissen and stockfish (lacuna)

(Marginalia: To prepare soles, Plateissen, stockfish)

If you would prepare these fish quite well, lay them in a good, cold lye for a day beforehand and lay them into cold water the following night, and then cook them. The same way, you should also treat stockfish, dried cod (Dorst) and other hard fish.

Platteisen – literally flattening irons – were dried flatfish that were imported to Germany from the Baltic region in large quantitiy in the sixteenth century. They are frequently mentioned in the sources, but almost never with anything like fondness. Apparently they were laboriously soaked, desalinated, boiled, and served with rich, buttery sauces. Russian grocery shops in Germany sell salted, dried flatfish today that are probably quite similar and I can confirm that they are indeed difficult to turn into anything palatable that way. Legend has it that Russians eat them as crunchy snack without bothering do do anything other than unwrap them, but there are so many stories about what Russians eat and drink that I am not quite ready to believe it without independent confirmation.

Johann Coler’s Oeconomia ruralis et domestica was a popular book on the topic of managing a wealthy household. It is based largely on previous writings by Coler and first appeared between 1596 and 1601. Repeatedly reprinted for decades, it became one of the most influential early works of Hausv√§terliteratur. I am working from a 1645 edition.

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