[Sca-cooks] Blancmange

Suey lordhunt at gmail.com
Tue Jul 3 16:29:23 PDT 2007

Many thanks to King´s Taste Productions and Phil Troy for your 
contributions on this matter. I shall get a mail out to the Lady Temair 
tonight or tomorrow.
Phil Troy wrote:
> What they are doing is lumping together all dishes whose names begin with "blank",  
> and addressing the question of what that might man in the various  
> usages. Their allusion to being of Arabic origin is perhaps partially  
> due to the fact that appearances of white almond-and-rice-based  
> dishes seem to really take off after the First Crusade. The reference  
> to a possible Syrian origin is, as I recall, just an attempt to  
> explain the name of one of the dishes, Blanc Desyre.
I am getting the felling that people are assuming  that just because we 
had rice, almonds and sugar in Spain at an early date as did Sicily that 
we had blancmange in the 8th C. but the family joke is that Valencians 
did not like rice in the 8th Century cause they found it too bland. Its 
a joke cause me first husband was Valencian, had six sisters and all had 
at least 50 rice recipes like the Portuguese have cod or Arabs with 
eggplant! Valencians live on rice today from soups to paella to rice 
I wrote:
>> Perry devotes an entire chapter to: Isfidhabaj (which
>> is Persian), Blancmanger and Almonds in the Medieval Arab Cookery. He
>> finds no evidence that blancmange is a descendant of Isfidhabaj.
Phil replied:
> It may simply be an attempt on the part of non-cooks to recreate some  
> of the flavors they encountered in the Middle East, with perhaps an  
> incomplete understanding of those cuisines. 
Perry is a non-cook??? After looking at all that you people produce I 
think I fit in that category although people do compliment me  and are 
fascinated cause I can always produce something novel but man my 
mistakes are just as novel. Killed the eggplant the other day as I still 
cannot conquer when to add the mint! Anyway if Perry is a non-cook why 
do gobble up all he writes? He fascinates me because he is so clear.
I said:
>>         Is this in reference to mehallaiyyah or mehalabeya? I do not
>> think of medieval blancmange as a pudding but as a pottage and I don't
>> see it becoming a dessert until the 17th Century.
Phil answered:
 > Well, what _does_ become a dessert prior to the 17th century, unless 
 > perhaps you mean wafers, confits and hippocras? ;-)
Ha ha ha! Fascinating material but this is another subject. I shall send 
another message concerning this titled Hispano-Muslim desserts.

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