[Sca-cooks] sugar and rice in Iberia

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Wed Jul 4 07:09:43 PDT 2007

> I couldn't locate the quote, however; the recipes in the Sent Sovi were
> collected at the time the manuscript was written.  The recipes were most
> likely being used before they were collected, but we have no way to
> determine how much earlier they were being used.  In this case, the
> recipe
> is probably being casually tied to the Arab invasion of Iberia in 711
> and
> the commonly accepted opinion that they brought rice and sugar to the
> peninsula. >>>
> 711? Rice and sugar in Europe, even if you include Iberia, that
> early?  That is much earlier than I had gathered from earlier
> discussions. I'm surprised they wouldn't have spread north from there
> within centuries of then. I got the impression from earlier
> discussions that both came in from the east, not from the southwest.
> Or is this complicated by the fact that while known in Spain they
> weren't really widely used because they were still items that had to
> be imported from the east?
> Stefan

If you accept the idea that the Arabs introduced sugar and rice to Iberia, 
then 711 is the earliest possible date.  The commonly accepted view is that 
sugar and rice cultivation reached Iberia in the 9th or 10th Century.  So, 
no there is no big revelation here.

My comments were about a quote I can't locate which apparently ties 
blancmange and Sent Sovi (14th Century, IIRC) to the 8th Century. 
Apparently the author of the quote (still unlocated) is making a "casual" or 
superficial connection between the 8th Century Arab invasion, the fact that 
the Arabs brought sugar and rice to Iberia, and the appearance of blancmange 
in Sent Sovi.  If there is an Arab ancestor for the blancmange of the Sent 
Sovi, then it is possible that the dish entered Spanish cooking in the 8th 
Century, but without evidence of the connections, the issue is entirely 


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