Jul. 18th, 2010

frangipani: old map of Southeast Asia (Nusantara)
[personal profile] frangipani
Item is a leatherbound book with blank paper pages, of which about three-quarters are filled with handwritten recipes.

Measurements:
Length: 28 cm
Width: 22 cm

Due to a small mishap in the labs, carbon-dating tests have yet to be conducted on samples retrieved from the book. It is badly damaged: there is a large burn mark on one corner of the back cover, and both covers and pages are partially covered with various combinations of soot, animal fat, vegetable oils, mineral oils, fermented chillies, fermented soy, spices, a number of unfortunate insects and various organic matter that was likely once involved in food preparation. There is a small hole approximately 3cm from the top edge, towards the right, a close examination of which yielded traces of gunpowder and lead. A dried Cinnamomum tejpata leaf was found tucked into the pages, possibly to bookmark a recipe for kerabu pucuk paku (young fernleaves salad).

There are two distinct authors. Author 1 writes primarily in a Chinese language, very likely the Southern Min dialect of Hokkien (traditional script, with a number of unique characters). Author 2 writes primarily in a dialect of Malay from what's now the northern peninsular Malaysia states and the Thai province of Satun (Jawi script). The authors appear to be very familiar with both languages and each other, leading to translation difficulties due to the utilisation of shorthand symbols and references to people/incidents. Can't we hire people who're less liable to throw tantrums over a text? Honestly.

I've excerpted two of the recipes, with the original annotations intact where possible. Both recipes were originally written in Jawi. Author 1 is in italics, and Author 2 is in bold. Translator's notes are in square brackets. The Management bears no responsibility for the results of attempts at recreating these dishes. )

I've just put in a request for a test kitchen to convert everything into metric measurements. Also, for any Finance pencil-pushers staff watching this: there's a line outside my department door for the recipes. Just so you know.

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