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Lupins, was A Carthaginian feast

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  • lilinah@earthlink.net
    ... Alas, i don t own this yet... I ll have to pay a visit to the library when the sky stops falling (we re having floods here in Northern California) ... My
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2005
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      Andrew Dalby wrote:
      >No, Romans didn't confuse lupini and phaseoli. You'll find an article
      >on lupins, with lots of references, in my /Food in the Ancient World
      >from A to Z/.

      Alas, i don't own this yet... I'll have to pay a visit to the library
      when the sky stops falling (we're having floods here in Northern
      California)

      >My impression is that they were a little better than
      >starvation food, but certainly Vergil called them tristis lupinus =
      >sad lupin! They had to be cooked thoroughly to get rid of their
      >bitterness.

      My understanding was that they could also be somewhat poisonous.

      >We can sometimes get conserved ready-to-eat lupins at markets in
      >central France (quite possibly they come from Italy) from the same
      >people who sell us olives, pruneaux d'Agen, etc.

      I have found bottled lupins in markets here, too, although i'm rather
      farther from the source :-) I have not yet tried them, but i'll be
      preparing some Medieval Italian food in 2006, so the opportunity may
      arise.

      As an aside, it was in an open air market in Grasse where i learned
      to love olives. I'd only been exposed to rubbery, tasteless, canned
      black olives and the occasional bottled pimiento-stuffed green olive,
      and had not liked them. The amazing array of olives, both kinds and
      the quality, changed my opinion. Fortunately, there are some pretty
      good olives (not bottled or canned) available here in California.

      >I'm surprised, Anahita, that you say they are not
      >the same as the Latin lupini -- I haven't yet seen a reason to think
      >that the name lupini has somehow got switched to a different species.
      >The flavour and texture seem to me quite distinct from those of kidney
      >beans etc. Any firm evidence?

      No firm evidence, rather, word of mouth. A friend of mine told me
      many months ago when we were working on a translation of a 14th c.
      Tuscan cookbook (she did most of the work - i did editing,
      proofreading and correcting...) that most modern lupini and lupin
      beans are not the same thing, and that the name had been transferred.
      She has lived for a brief time in Italy, is a Classics scholar, is a
      gourmet cook, and enjoys cooking Ancient and Medieval food, so i
      trusted her. She and i can discuss this again... I'm not much of a
      botanist, and i have a black thumb, so experimenting with growing my
      own is unlikely to succeed. But i welcome the opportunity to do more
      research.

      Anahita
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