[Sca-cooks] artichokes vs cardoon

Suey lordhunt at gmail.com
Mon Mar 31 15:31:17 PDT 2008

Lilinah wrote:
> There's no such thing as Persian Arabic. Persian and Arabic are two 
> totally unrelated languages.
Thanks I didn´t know that.
Yes, I slipped when I said Perry translated chard. It should have read 
cardoon. Pardon me.
The artichoke was developed from the cardoon. Now it seems that we have 
a little problem with Arabic word /kharshaf /meaning cardoon and /al 
kharshûf/ (dim.of /kharshaf,/ cardoon) meaning little cardoon or 
artichoke. Farouk Mardam-Bay in his book "Ziryab" points out that there 
was a lot of confusion as there was only one word for cardoons, 
thistles, ancanthus plants and wild and cultivated artichokes in Arabic.
Now in the 12th C the agriculture treatise by Ibn al-Awamm artichokes 
are listed after cardoon as being a grown in Al-Andalus. Mardam-Bay goes 
on to say that he believes the artichoke is from the Maghreb, was taken 
to Andalusia where it was improved upon and from there taken to Sicily. 
Unfortunately he does not give his sources. Bolens supports this theory 
but does not say when the artichoke came to Spain. Other authors state 
it was by the 9th C and still others think it was known in Ancient 
Greece and Rome or Italy and Sicily in 300 B.C..
Calero in his edition of Villena's carving 15th C MS notes that "cardos 
arricafes" are a species of artichoke and "alcauciles" "cavarias" and 
"carchofas" are wild artichokes. Villena instruction's for preparing the 
two are about the same, cutting off hard leaves and slicing the heart 
into four parts. He recommends that they be served boiled or cold in a 
Now here is an odd tidbit. Flower translates "carduos" as artichokes (pp 
86-89) in the "Apicius" book!
Now on Perry, I have read most of his books and I know well who he is. 
Huici was an historian specialized in Almohade history between the 11th 
and 14th  Centuries in Spain and especially in Valencia. He was the 
chair of the Latin Dept in the Luis V ives Institute in Valencia and the 
founder of Anales General and Technical Institute when he was accused of 
being a Mason under Franco´s government. He lost his job and probably 
was less prolific than he would have been had he not been black listed. 
He specialized in the Hispano Arabic history between the 11-14 
centuries. He was a personal friend of Levi Provencal and Fernando de la 
Granja . As Valencia has a very strong culinary adherence to Muslim 
cuisine from rice to paella, Huici although obviously was not a cook he 
had an Hispano-Arabic palate.  I know what that is as all my spouse and 
all my in-laws Valencian. Further when translating the 13th C MS Huici 
worked closely with la Granja who was translating Fadalat at the same 
time. Both were having a devil of a problem as many of the words in 
these MSS are not in any dictionary. La Granja went spent a summer in 
Morocco in search of methods, techniques and words. I suppose Huici did 
too but from la Granja´s comments I think Huici knew more than he or La 
Granja was very humble.
Too Perry says he translated directly from Hispano Arabic. No mi lady no 
one can do that.  From his footnotes it is obvious that he used Huici as 
a crutch.
When I get to this impasse I have to take a position after all I have 
read. I am not going to get screaming mad at anyone who wants to beg the 
differ but my gut feeling is that artichokes were developed from cardoon 
in Andalusia between the 9th and 12th centuries.I think Perry is 
mistaken and Huici is right in this case.
I think that Flower and all this bit about artichokes being produced 
from 300 BC on is stretching the point a bit, just like Ziryab If you 
look at all Ziryab was supposed to have taken to Spain from Persia and 
wanderings he would have needed a fleet of boats for all that and his 
wives and children!
Total the point is when was the artichoke developed and where? If anyone 
can prove my theory wrong delighted.

> And one final comment. At a cooking get-together at Duke Cariadoc's 
> house, one of they cook prepared some cardoon parts. In that case, he 
> used the leaves, which were quite bitter and tough. According to what 
> i've been reading about cooking and eating cardoons, one avoids the 
> leaves and uses the peeled *stalks*, which supposedly taste rather 
> like artichoke hearts (i can't comment on this as i haven't eaten 
> cardoon stalks yet). One can also eat the flower head, but i gather 
> it isn't as "succulent" as an artichoke... again, no personal 
> experience.
You are perfectly right we eat the stalks not the leaves in Spain. They 
taste like a cross between celery and artichoke.We mix them with various 
things like lemon, wine, a sauce, breaded whatever.

> helps to eat the right parts. One would be quite physically sorry if 
> one ate, for example, the leaves of tomatoes or potatoes, rather than 
> the fruits of the former and the roots of the latter.
You are quite right. When someone brings home cardoon from the vegetable 
market we all fight for the veggie scraper to get those thorns and 
toughness out of the way and cut it  in to 3" pieces so they will fit in 
the frig until someone decides how to prepare them,
I think there is or was a query as to why cardoon is only popular in 
Northern CA. I don't know except that Spanish artichokes are tiny. Very 
little has to be done to prepare them. My English nephew in-law brought 
home an English artichoke for the three of us to eat one night. My poor 
Spanish niece had no idea how to prepare it. He taught her and it took 
two hours the thing was so big! So perhaps our cardoon is easier to 
prepare than yours??

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