A DIET FOR THE PLAGUE
By A. Lynn Martin
During the sixteenth century, when epidemics of plague approached colleges
belonging to the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits staffing the colleges had
two options: either to flee or to remain in the colleges shut off from contact
with the outside world. Those who remained tried to avoid infection from
others by laying in a store of supplies before the arrival of the epidemic.
Guidelines suggested the type of supplies to purchase so that the Jesuit
community could ride out the epidemic in the comparative safety of their
colleges. One set of guidelines recommended the purchase of "grain
(and flour if there is not a mill in the house), wine, oil, ham, bacon fat,
cheese, spelt, rice, beans, barley (for water and for orzata [a barley-flavored
syrup]), almonds, raisins, nuts, . . . anchovies, olives, garlic, onion,"
and it also suggested that Jesuits make arrangements for a fresh supply
of vegetables, veal, and eggs.
They had all the necessary ingredients for the veal and ham pie.
From A. Lynn Martin, Plague? Jesuit Accounts of Epidemic Disease during
the Sixteenth Century (Kirksville MO: Sixteenth Century Publishers,
1996), p. 126.