- Hey everyone -
Just out of curiosity, do any of you dabble in other ancient cuisines?
When I do 'cook ancient' Roman is at the top of my repertoire, but I also like to try my hand at ancient Greek, Sumerian/Assyrian, and Egyptian.
What do you all like to experiment with?
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- LOL LOL
In my circle the 'modern' world began with the invention of smokeless powder.
--- On Sat, 7/10/10, hail_isis <hail_isis@...> wrote:
From: hail_isis <hail_isis@...>
Subject: [Apicius] Re: Other Cuisines - a riff on time & lemons
Date: Saturday, July 10, 2010, 3:04 PM
Dear Anahita and All,
Modern times for me personally begins with Alexander's romp 'n' stomp through his 'known' world. For a few of my college history professors, modern times begins according to their specialties - the Renaissance is the beginning of modern times for many of them. That is contemporaneous with the European exploration and colonization of the globe. As a cultural/ethnic American of Asiatic Hellene descent (among other ethnicities), i can say that when in Greek Orthodox Sunday School modernity sprouts with Alexander and buds with the advent of Christianity, beginning to bloom with the move to the New World and the Gregorian calendar. In Chicago Public Schools (old school education), modernity began with the Industrial Age and 'buds' with the advent of electricity, the telephone, and non-livestock vehicular transportation. Makes me envy my older grandfather, born in 1872 - died 1961 - he saw the transformation of America with territories becoming states and
technology racing across the continent. Food went from fresh, canned, and dried to include frozen, and the advent of refrigeration. Wow!
Vinegar was used (you know all this stuff!) as an astringent before and after the spread of lemon trading in the 1st Millennium BCE. I thought lemons would have come to the West with the Persians in the 1st Millennium BCE. Maybe it did, and I just haven't found an attested source yet. Someone in India apparently thinks it did not get to Europa until 100 BCE - 200 AD/CE.
Excerpt - History of Lemons
"Since innumerable, lemons are used for culinary as well as non culinary purposes. Findings suggests that lemon was originated in north-western India. In southern Italy, lemons have been introduced in 200 A.D. and have reached Iraq and Egypt by 700 A.D. It is believed that this juicy fruit has been cultivated in Sicily before 1000 and China between 760 and 1297 A.D. It was distributed widely throughout the Arab world and the Mediterranean region between 1000 A.D. to 1150. In the middle of the fifteenth century, the real cultivation of lemon began in Europe. In 1943, it was introduced in Americas when Christopher Columbus, the Spanish voyager, carried lemon seeds to Hispaniola. Today, USA is one of the largest producers of lemons in the world."
I also like the reference to making a lemon battery in that article.
"The occurrence of citrus in Europe and Mideast were thought to have been natural occurring native trees and shrubs, but historians today believe that the ancestor of the citrus trees, Citrus medica L., was introduced by Alexander the Great from India into Greece, Turkey, and North Africa in the late 4th century BC. The most ancient citrus was called 'citron.'" (Patrick Malcolm, ©2006)
An interesting book is "Introduction to Food Crops", by Mark Rieger, (pub. by Food Products Press/The Haworth Press Inc, Binghamton, N.Y., ©2006, ISBN-13: 978-1-56022-259-0). It is available to view on Google Books, easy to read and understand. Chapter 11 is about citrus varieties and crops including lemons.
The above all say the same thing: The first European textual mention of citron was Theophastus in about the 310 BCE.
As you have noted, sour juices were used for their astrnigency. Verjus and pomegranate juice were likely used as well as various vinegars. Ah, verjus, ancestor of my beloved balsamic vinegar! (I like Ariston brand for bread dipping.) I find it hard to believe that it was not in use side by side with wine and vinegar to flavor things in the ancient world. It may have been ubiquitous and simply notmentioned, or just though of a s a different type of vinegar, and perhaps no special designation. As i said, i have not found earlier sources for it yet in ancient scripts, but i haven't looked for it either. (Ancient for me begins with the formation of human societies and segues into modern times with that young man from Macedon. Before 'ancient' was 'prehistoric'.)
Thyme is on my side, and that's sweet when when it is Hymettos honey.
Off to an ARCE meeting,
--- In Apicius@yahoogroups.com, lilinah@... wrote:
> Demetria wrote:
> >Hummos is a good example of this, as are
> >falafels. The bean, cooked, drained, and pureéd
> >with oil, a few drops of lemon juice (modern) or
> >vinegar (traditional), seasoned, and add a spoon
> >or two of tahini (modern, 1st mention of it is
> >in 13th c. Ottoman recipe) or hand-ground sesame
> I suppose it depends on one's own interpretation
> or on the use of terminology specific to certain
> fields of study, but to me, at least, the 13th c.
> is not modern. And when 'modern' times begin can
> vary from one culture to another.
> Anyway, I would love to know more about 13th c.
> Ottoman recipes. As i mentioned, i work with
> medieval Central Asian, Middle Eastern, North
> African, and Muslim Iberian cuisines, and have
> some actual 15th and 16th c. Ottoman recipes.
> As for tahini, it appears at least four hundred
> years earlier, in 9th c. recipes from what is now
> Iraq, published not too long ago (December 2007,
> by Brill) in English translation by Nawal
> Nasrallah as _Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens:
> Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's Tenth-Century Baghdadi
> Hummus just means chick peas/garbanzos. The dish
> is really Hummus bi tahini (chickpeas with
> tahini/sesame seed paste). Of course, the modern
> dish contains other ingredients, depending on the
> locale (and personal taste) of the cook.
> I am wondering why you identify lemon juice as
> modern (or is it because i think of the 13th c.
> as not modern?). It, too, appears in many
> medieval Arabic language cookbooks. And vinegar
> (wine vinegar, to be specific), although the
> dominant souring agent, was not the only one.
> Verjus (sour grape juice) was used, called hisrmi
> in Arabic and abghurah in modern Persian, besides
> lemon juice and Seville orange juice (aka bitter
> orange or sour orange). Sour pomegranate juice
> and sumac, often as juice, were also used. I have
> even found sumac juice in modern Middle Eastern
> markets. Definitely not a beverage :)
> >The following is an interesting article about
> >whose dish is whom's, regarding the authenticity
> >and alleged age of ethnic recipes:
> >Excerpt -
> >"The nearest medieval recipe to any of these
> >dishes is hummus kasa, which appears in the
> >anonymous 13th-century cookbook Kitab Wasf
> >al-Atima al-Mutada. Here's the recipe: "Take
> >chickpeas and pound them fine after boiling
> >them. Then take vinegar, oil, tahineh, pepper,
> >atraf tib (mixed spices), mint, parsley, dry
> >thyme, [pounded] walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and
> >pistachios, cinnamon, toasted caraway, dry
> >coriander, salt and [minced] salted lemons and
> >olives. Stir it and roll it out flat, and leave
> >it overnight and serve it.""
> That recipe was taken directly from Lilia
> Zaouali's tantalizing and frustrating book,
> _Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World_. In it,
> she provides a seemingly random selection of
> recipes from four medieval Arabic language
> cookbooks from 2 widely separated centuries and
> four cultures. One, Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's
> collection of 9th and 10th century recipes,
> mentioned above, had not been published in
> translation in a Western European language
> (except for a few recipes here and there) when
> she published her first edition, but has since.
> The other three are 13th c. cookbooks from widely
> separated parts of the Islamic world, from
> al-Andalus (Muslim Spain), Egypt, and Syria.
> One problem i see is that while Zaouali mentions
> that there are differences among the cultures and
> over time, she doesn't really provide much
> analysis (and Andalusi Western Arabic cuisine has
> some marked differences from other medieval
> Eastern Islamic cuisines). Second, she doesn't
> clearly state her criterion for selecting the
> recipes, and there are many possible reasons she
> could have chosen them.
> Also, two of the other cookbooks from which she
> includes recipes have not been fully translated,
> and i am frustrated because i would sure love to
> have more of their recipes... well, really, the
> whole books :) The Egyptian book has been
> relatively recently translated into Spanish, so
> at least i do have that to look forward to.
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