July 12th, 2004

Fishy Circumstances

To Know a Good Cheese

Good cheese has six qualities: Non Argus, nec Helena, nec Maria Magdalena, sed Lazarus et Martinus, resondens pontifici.

Not white as snow, like fair Helen,
Nor moist, like tearful Magdalen,
Not like Argus, full of eyes,
But heavy, like a bull of prize.
Well resisting thumb pressed in,
And let it have a scaly skin.
Eyeless and tearless, in colour not white.
Scaly, resisting and weighing not light.

(from The Goodman of Paris/Le Ménagier de Paris. trans. Eileen Power. London: Routledge & Sons, 1928.)
If you're interested in the translation, I have the middle French lying around too (c. 1393).

I don't think the Goodman was very fond of Swiss or soft goat's cheese. Ah well. His loss. Anyways, I doubt there was too much of a cheese export market in late fourteenth century France. Refridgeration units were somewhat lacking.
Fishy Circumstances

Another note on King Arthur

For those of you who wondered about the consultant historian who worked on the film: John Matthews, along with his wife, is an "an internationally renowned authority on mythology and folklore with a special interest in the Arthurian and Grail traditions and Celtic lore. A professional writer since 1980, he has produced over forty books ranging from the worlds of the Celtic and Arthurian legends to collections of stories, essays, and poetry. His first-hand experience of native shamanism and druidism grounds his work in a practical and traditional foundation, making his books both communicative and exciting. He has given highly acclaimed workshops in Britain, Central Europe, and America. He is primarily concerned with the interpretation of myth as the key that will open the door to the lost sacred dimension of the world." (Bio quoted from questbooks.net.)

The current news page on his own website describes what he's currently working on, if you're interested in more information.