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Re: [sig] Molasses

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  • Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise
    ... Why? Cane sugar is old world. Acording to Andrew Dalby (_Dangerous Tastes_) by the year 1000, [the growing of sugar] had reached the Middle East and the
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 16, 2004
      > > Does anyone know if treacle or molasses predates its
      > > production in the new world? In other words, would
      > > they have used it in medieval europe?
      >
      > Can't imagine any sugar-containing vegetable juice or tree sap, as with maple in the US. Honey, and that's all. Thus, there could be honey-based syrups but can't imagine any process that leaves some treacle (as it happens at making sugar) to consume. At least, before 15 century.

      Why? Cane sugar is old world. Acording to Andrew Dalby (_Dangerous
      Tastes_) "by the year 1000, [the growing of sugar] had reached the
      Middle East and the coast of East Africa." Medieval sugar was dark
      brown, unless it had been refined and generally came molded into cones
      or blocks. Medieval and Renaissance writers give directions for
      refining/whitening sugar. Dishes described as 'Cypriot' usually included
      sugar. The Greek writer Dioscorides described sugar:

      "There is also a substance called sakkharon, a sort of crystallized
      honey, in India and Arabia. It is found in reeds; it is not unlike salt
      in its texture, and can be crunched between the teeth like salt. It is
      laxative, good to drink dissolved in water, beneficial in bladder
      disorders and for the kidneys; in eyedrops it helps with cataract."

      Now, to be fair, I have not heard of the use of molasses, just of sugar
      and honey. The term 'treacle' in period referred to a medicinal mixture
      that wasn't a type of sugar.

      I suspec that Molasses, etc. weren't widely used because they were
      difficult to transport from the sugar growing areas-- the Indies,
      the middle east, East Africa, and by 1500, Italy. Blocks of brown or
      white sugar are easier to transport than containers of molasses.

      --
      -- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne@...
      "I don't get the facts wrong. It's everything else I screw up."
      -- _The Librarian: Quest for the Spear_
    • Tracy Kremer
      Thank you very much for your informed reply, Jadwiga! I asked with period baking in mind. So, now I know that sugar _was_ available for delicacies (I had
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 20, 2004
        Thank you very much for your informed reply, Jadwiga!
        I asked with "period" baking in mind.
        So, now I know that sugar _was_ available for
        delicacies (I had suspected it due to some recipes but
        not known it thru documentation), even if molasses was
        highly unlikely. Interesting that the word they use
        today in Britain for molasses was in use for something
        totally different back then...

        Sincerely,
        Eluned

        =====

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