[Sca-cooks] Allspice

Kihe Blackeagle kihebard at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 24 20:52:00 PST 2009

Amra in pedantic mode:  allspice was not only known to but also used as a spice by Europeans prior to 1601ce, hence it is actually "period".  Europe includes Spain last time I checked the maps and geographies . . . 


No, it wasn't used widely (I just found a reference online claiming the first significant imports to England in 1737).


Yes, it was misleadingly named by the Spanish who did find it.  (Multiple references to Columbus being credited with the European discovery of allspice; multiple references to 'pimento de jamaica' or similar approximations.)


Yes, it is considered by some to be the "only" exclusively New World spice, largely becauses attempts to establish plantings in the Old World (including areas generally known for spice growing) never really "caught".


Yes, prior to the introduction to the English in the 18th century the primary / most important use of allspice in cookery was associated with New World dishes, particularly the cookery of the Maya if I can trust the online source just referenced.  Columbus established the foundations of Spanish trade with the New World before 1500; at least one of the spices he brought back during his pre-1500 voyages was allspice misidentified as black pepper.


Yes, if I'm trying to recreate an Old World dish of pre-1500 records I will avoid use of allspice if at all possible.  However, were I to (hypothetically) find a Spanish manuscript of 1577 that references 'pimento de jamaica' or some other odd form of 'pimento' which is not clearly East Indian pepper or chile or whatever other forms are known to associate to non-allspice spices, I'd gladly [and admittedly gleefully] use allspice -- and back up my usage with the appropriate documentation in the formal redaction, at least in submitting it and / or the dish concerned for inspection to any audience willing to accept that New World spices and foodstuffs did indeed enter European cookery prior to January 1st, 1601ce.


Kitchen Idiot AND Curmudgeon-in-Training

 Adieu, Amra / ttfn - Mike / Pax ... Kihe 

Mike C. Baker / Kihe Blackeagle 
Opinions? I'm FULL of 'em 
SCA: al-Sayyid Amr ibn Majid al-Bakri al-Amra, F.O.B, OSCA 
"Other": Reverend Kihe Blackeagle PULC (the DreamSinger Bard) 
alt. e-mail: KiheBard at hotmail.com 
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> Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 22:33:44 -0500
> From: kad.dsl at verizon.net
> To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
> Subject: [Sca-cooks] Allspice
> A question to the list...
> What would you say is the closest period equivalent to allspice? 
> i.e., If you had a recipe that called for allspice and you only had 
> access to period spices, what would you replace it with?
> -Kean
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> Sca-cooks mailing list
> Sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
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