[Sca-cooks] sweet almonds

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Wed Jul 22 07:30:12 PDT 2009

On Jul 22, 2009, at 10:22 AM, Alexandria Doyle wrote:

> Several of the recipes uses oils, some mention "oil of sweet almonds"
> another mention just "oil of almonds".  If it means anything, the
> earlier the recipes use the "sweet" designation.  And the oil is being
> used as the carrier, if I understand the recipe, rather than as one of
> the scents, though I'm sure it adds something along the way.

"Sweet" probably has one, or both, of two meanings here. One is to  
distinguish it from the oil of bitter almonds, which is, I believe,  
what we get almond extract from: very flavorful and aromatic, but also  
very strong and with a tendency to overpower other flavors, which  
doesn't sound like what you want here. The other possible meaning (and  
this may seem obvious to us, but perhaps has different impact on  
people who use almond oil regularly, as period confectioners did, and  
did so without refrigeration as we know it) is that you really want to  
taste it for possible rancidity.

> and gum dragagant or gum dragon?  The first use is just after the
> application of color to the gloves, almost like a fixative or
> conditioner (mixed with oil of sweet almonds and rosewater) before the
> actual perfume is applied, and later, it is used as the carrier with
> musk, etc to apply the scent.

That would be gum tragacanth in modernese. You can get it at cake  
decorating shops. It functions as an adhesive, a stabilizer,  
emulsifier, etc., any place where you want to change the consistency  
of, or add viscosity to, your mixture.


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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