[Sca-cooks] lard vs. olive oil vs. butter
lordhunt at gmail.com
Sun Nov 23 07:37:58 PST 2008
>> From what I've read, the local fats of southern Europe tended to be
>> rather than butter and I'm curious as to how extensively butter was used
>> the Moslem cultures of the period. >>>
>> Yes, we've discussed butter use in southern Europe previously. But I
>> thought the alternative was olive oil, although lard is also likely.
>> Butter being used less because it doesn't keep as well in warmer
>> climates. But when was olive oil used vs. lard? Why would each be used? I
>> might at first say lard was cheaper than olive oil, but that might not
>> have been the case in the Middle Ages.
>> Like butter, lard wouldn't have been used on fish days, right? And lard,
>> typically (always?) from pigs wouldn't have been used in the Moslem parts
>> of southern Europe.
> The point of some of the previous posts in the thread is puff pastry is a
> technology transfer from Moslem to Christian Europe. The contention is that the basic technique of puff pastries using butter moved from one to the
> other. Olive oil was used by both cultures. Moslems and Jews used sheep
> and chicken fat. Christians used lard (the pig was ubiquitous in Europe and
> lard was cheaper than olive oil, particularly in northern Europe). AFAIK,
> butter is the least used fat in southern Europe. Unless one can answer how
> and when butter became the fat of choice in Moslem pastries, then the
> contention that puff pastry is a transfer from Moslem to Christian Europe is
> Olive oil and leaf pastry almost certainly pre-dates Islam in Europe, so
> might not butter and leaf pastry be a central European substitution that was
> adopted by the Ottomans? What, and how solid, is the evidence for any of
> these positions?
Stefan, no lard was not to be used during Lent although Nola does use it
in one recipe for that time of year which seems very odd. By Nola's time
there was enough olive oil in Royal Households to avoid that.
Back to Bear's message, puff pastry was not necessarily a technology
transfer from Muslims to Christian Europe. Muslims brought what we are
calling 'leaf pastry' to Southern Europe and Turkey. Spaniards claim it
was developed into puff pastry in Al-Andalusia.
We know the Turks and the Austrians used butter so either of the two
could have been the inventors of puff pastry. What about the Italians
and the Spaniards? I don't know about the Italians but the 13th Century
Al-Andalus cookbook uses butter over and over again making it perfectly
likely that puff pastry could have been developed there.
Going back to the croissant, one theory is that Ferdinand I of Hapsburg,
brother of Charles the Vth, took the croissant with him to Vienna when
he became king in the 16th C. but I think that is about as unsolid as
Catherine di Medici's "culinary contributions" to France. My point is:
is there evidence that any one of these areas was the developer of puff
pastry? Personally, I have no proof just claims as far as I can see.
Of other grease products, as stated in various messages, sheep's tail
fat was the best grease for Muslims in Southern Spain until olive groves
were producing enough oil for cooking as it takes longer for olive oil
to go rancid. In Northern Spain lard from pigs was the cheapest and the
most commonly used for lack of olive groves but olive oil was used
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