[Sca-cooks] Horchata - Barley Water - galingale

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Wed May 23 11:35:47 PDT 2007

On May 23, 2007, at 1:34 PM, Suey wrote:

> Phil Troy/Adamantius provided a definition of galingale as chufa from
> Larousse Gastronomique which seems to contradict his and others input
> Stefan complied in the galengale-msg 6/11/06
> http://www.florilegium.org/files/PLANTS/galangale-msg.html.

Having read through the message again, I don't think it seems  
anything of the kind. What contradiction are you referring to? My  
input in that message includes comments on the Asian rhizome known as  
galingale, and in addition, a comment to the effect that there are  
apparently some people who refer to a Mediterranean tuber by a  
similar name. This is not unprecedented: for example, there are  
millions of Americans who follow a centuries-old tradition which  
appears to originally be English, of calling sweet Bell or capsicum  
peppers "mangoes". My point is that the fact that two things can have  
the same name applied to them is not necessarily a matter of  
misidentification or confusion between the two items.

> Adamantius
> continued:
>>>> Occasionally we've had occasion here to mention an alternate usage
>>>> for "galingale", we dance around a bit, Stefan asks if this is
>>>> Alpina  Officinalis, we say no, it's just a plant known in some
>>>> folk herbal traditions as galingale, it's related to sedge, etc.,
>>>> etc.
>> My experience has been that he has a particular genius for
>> identifying the flaw in an argument. After knowing him for many
>> years, I still can't be certain if he asks some of the questions he
>> asks because he really doesn't know the answers, or if he is gently
>> trying to expose the fact that there may still be someone left on the
>> planet who might not grasp an explanation in its current form,
>> whatever that is.
>     Yes, although I have only met Stefan once I totally agree that he
> has a subtle way of persuading us to research further to correct  
> our own
> flaws in expressing our argument or to re-enforce our point. In this
> case I think we need someone knowledgeable about plant terms in French
> and English to review the original Larousse definition of galingale to
> see if something has been mistranslated. If not, if the translation is
> correct, I would conclude that Larousse is not applying the correct
> common name to the scientific name as seen in mistranslations of  
> common
> names for fish or confusion is produced by using the same name for
> different plants that have nothing to do with each other as seen in  
> the
> earthnut example. Could this be the case in the French use of the word
> galingale?
> Suey

I suppose it could be true, except that as per the Larousse entry, it  
appears to be mostly the English who are applying the word  
"galingale" (remember this is a localized usage) to the plant known  
in Spain as chufa (remember this is _also_ a localized usage). It  
also appears that Larousse is not alone in making this assertion,  
although it's conceivable that if people are using Larousse as a  
source, they may be perpetuating and expanding on an error, but I  
really have no evidence that this is the case.


I truly believe that the only way this situation would constitute a  
problem would be if there were universal confusion between Alpina  
Officinalis and Cyperus Longus, which doesn't appear to be the case,  
any more than people truly don't know the difference between a green  
Bell pepper and a mango. The context almost always makes it clear  
which item is being referred to.


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