[Sca-cooks] roman feast / Apicius

Dragon dragon at crimson-dragon.com
Sun Mar 23 10:56:30 PDT 2008

Terry Decker did speak thusly:

>And I would seriously question the yellow or purple carrots.  The European
>carrot is white.  Most of the research I've seen suggests the purple carrot
>came west with the Arab expansion, although it can be argued that it was
>known in the Empire.  The earliest record of yellow carrots I've found is
>10th Century (IIRC).
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According to the "Oxford Companion to Food" purple carrots originated 
in Central Asia in or near present day Afghanistan and were brought 
west during the Muslim expansion. It states that the first known 
clear description of the carrot comes from the Arab writer 
Ibn-al_Awam who was writing in 12th century Andalusia at the time 
where the carrot had already been introduced.

However, it also states that the archeological record indicates that 
carrot seed was found in prehistoric dwellings in Switzerland and was 
reportedly grown as an aromatic herb (for it's leaves and seeds most 
likely) in the royal gardens in Babylon in the 8th century. It goes 
on to state that if the Greeks and Romans used carrots in the 
Classical Period that they were likely used as an herb as there is 
little to no evidence to suggest they ate the roots.

The carrot had spread to most of the rest of Continental Europe by 
the 14th century and Britain by the 15th. The orange carrots we know 
today are of Dutch origin and were selectively bread in the 17th and 
18th centuries for that color.


  Venimus, Saltavimus, Bibimus (et naribus canium capti sumus)

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