[Sca-cooks] Salty carrots
lilinah at earthlink.net
Sat Mar 29 00:55:00 PDT 2008
>Terry Decker clarified my queries about the origin of different
>types of carrots. Thank you very much. I did not even know the European
>carrot was white! Curious the more we learn the more we need to know.
I'd assume just from reading recipes they had
other differences. Most of the Arabic language
recipes say to remove the centers before
preparing to cook them, which is unnecessary with
the type of carrots we have now.
>My next quest is going to be the beet. Does that have a Scottish
>tale to go with it - beet red?
>How about the artichoke? Huici translates it as existing in the 13th
>C. Perry says it was still chard.
I think you've got some of these vegetables confused.
It is possible that artichokes (Cynara scolymus)
did not exist in 13th C. al-Andalus, and the
cookbook may call for their relative and
predecessor, the cardoon (Cynara cardunculus),
whose stalks (not leaves) were eaten steamed or
braised and which are said to taste rather like
artichokes. On the other hand, the wikipedia
article on artichokes says they were developed in
the Maghrib and introduced to Italy from there
around the 9th C. There's citation for [Watson,
Andrew. Agricultural innovation in the early
Islamic world. Cambridge University Press. p.64]
but that may just point to the development of the
artichoke in the Muslim world.
Chard (Beta vulgaris var. cicla), sometimes
called Silverbeet, is a leafy green quite
unrelated to the artichoke, or cardoon for that
matter, and i don't recall seeing Perry
substitute chard for cardoon or artichoke. So I
think you may have mixed up chard and cardoons...
On the other hand, there is often confusion
between beets and chard in translations of Arabic
cookbooks, and in Medieval European cookbooks,
too. They are, after all, both species of Beta
vulgaris. What is sometimes translated into
English as "beet" (which makes me, at least,
think of the red root) is in Arabic "silq", which
is chard or perhaps beet leaves (but not the
roots). I don't know how Huici translated "silq"
into Spanish. Perry worked from the original
Arabic, not from Huici's Spanish, and in his
translation he points out some spots where Huici
erred. I've no idea if beets is one of them.
Of course beet roots weren't then what they are
now. Few recipes that call for beets - until the
late 15th and 16th centuries, if i'm getting the
dates right - want the roots. They're usually
either for chard or for beet leaves. By Marx
Rumpolt's time (late 16th c.) real beet roots are
being used, since they are specified in his
cookbook as red roots (rote ruben, if i got his
Beet leaves are quite tasty when tender and not
too old and coarse. I started cooking with them
in the early 70s. It always annoys me when the
bunches of beets have topped - i like beets ok,
but i really prefer the leaves.
Wandering onto a slight tangent, radish leaves,
very gently cooked in a tad of butter or olive
oil are good too - that's something i learned
while living in France.
OK, i just searched Perry's translation of the
anonymous Andalusian cookbook, including the
notes by Perry and others.
Cardoons show up in only two recipes:
266. Preparing a Dish With Cardoon, and 267.
Preparing a Dish of Cardoons with Meat.
There's a footnote for the word "cardoon":
 A giant thistle with edible stalks from
which the artichoke was developed, almost
certainly in Andalusia (our word artichoke
ultimately comes from "al kharshuf," which is a
diminutive of "kharshaf.") Since the recipes say
nothing about leaves, choke or calyx, I think we
should assume that cardoon is really what is
being called for here; probably the artichoke had
not been developed yet. (CP)
As for chard, it is called for in six recipes:
81. Recipe for a Dish of Olives; 181. A Dish
Suitable for Autumn; 188. Tharda with Heads of
Swiss Chard; 318. Baqliyya Mukarrara (repeated or
refined dish of vegetables); 348. A Muzawwara
(Vegetarian Dish) Beneficial for Tertian Fevers
and Acute Fevers; 349. Jannâniyya (the Gardener's
I found no footnotes associated with the word "chard" or "beet".
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita
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