[Sca-cooks] Gastronomica on Spice Trade, Apicius and Martino

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Fri Jun 1 18:00:08 PDT 2007

The Diario only references chile peppers and that only in the entry for 
Tuesday January 15, 1493.  Tomatoes are usually attributed to Hernando 
Cortez's expedition into Mexico.  The Conquistadors tended to borrow local 
words for the various food stuffs.  Those they encountered in the Caribbean 
tend to derive from the Taino language of the Arawak Indians.  As tomato has 
a Nahautl derivation it is likely the Spanish did not encounter the plant 
until they entered Central America.

The writings of Joesph de Acosta, Bernardino de Sahagun, and Francisco 
Hernandez (in the abstract of Antonius Recchus, 1651) demonstrate the 
Spanish were aware of the culinary uses of the tomato in the 16th Century. 
Gerard's Herbal provides a hearsay recipe.  Castore Durante's Herbario nuovo 
(Rome, 1585) states tomatoes are eaten in the same manner as eggplants.  In 
that recipes did not appear in the cookbooks of the day, it should be safe 
to assume that they were cultivated and eaten, but not widely enough to 
influence the general culinary thought.

The appearance of a tomato in Bartolomeo Murrillo's The Angel's Kitchen 
(Seville, 1646) suggests that the tomato had come into relatively common use 
in Seville by the mid-17th Century.  The first appearance of actual recipes 
occurs in Antonio Latini's Lo scala alla moderna (Naples, 1692/1694), while 
Naples was under the control of Spain.  While recipes don't appear in a 
Spanish cook book until 1745 (Juan Altimiras, Nuevo arta de cocina), I 
suspect tomatoes and chili peppers were well established in Spainish cuisine 
by the end of the 17th Century.


> Someone had a reference back there to chile and tomatoes being taken to
> Europe by Cris Colon. He could have but American foods took about 150
> years to set in. At first the plants were put on display like Japanese
> plants today. No one knew what to do with them.  Even Granado's cookbook
> during Philip II's reign in Spain includes only a couple of American
> products.  It is not until Philip IV the next century or the
> commencement of the Borbon reign in 1700 in Spain that you can begin to
> see their incorporation in Spanish cooking.
> Suey

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