Monday, February 7, 2011

Buttered Beere...A Little Taste of History.

One day, while browsing liqurious, I came across something that immediately grabbed my attention...a 400-year-old recipe for hot buttered beer.

Now, if you take a look at this recipe, there are a few things you will notice right away:

1. Hot beer? Weird.
2. Beer with butter? Weirder.
3. Beer with egg? UNPOSSIBLE.

But all the same, I knew I had to try it. Because:

1. I am a sucker for weird flavor combinations.
2. As a devoted fan of Harry Potter, I was pretty psyched that there was really such a thing as butterbeer. (Sure, there are plenty of other recipes floating around the internet for butterbeer, but this one is the real thing. IT IS 400 YEARS OLD.)
3. 423 years old, to be exact. When this recipe was first published (in "The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin”), Elizabeth I ruled England, America had just recently gotten around to being discovered, and the island of Manhattan looked like this. It would be like a little flavor window into the past. A little piece of history happening in a pot in my circa 1978 kitchen.

Seeing as Houston was in the grips of an unusual cold snap (below freezing temperatures! for several days!), I saw my opportunity. Last Friday a little party gathered at my house to sample this bizarre, centuries-old concoction. I used Old Speckled Hen, a brand of "real ale" that's available here in the states.

So of course there's the big question...what did it taste like? My compatriots displayed varying degrees of enthusiasm for the hot buttered beer, ranging from "eh" to "omg". I think a few people were turned off by the fact that it was so filling - I mean, 12 tbsp of butter is...a lot of butter. Personally, I thought it tasted like hot, buttered heaven. Like liquid french toast - and also a little like beer.

Bonus: it's been two days, and my kitchen still smells like butter and spices. Mmm. Those Tudor cooks were really on to something.

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