[Sca-cooks] Oranges was Tudor Recipe help

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Fri Jun 12 05:43:57 PDT 2009

Nice quote.  Apochryphally (and according to Wikipedia), the sweet oranges 
referenced as a "Portugals" are all descended from a single root stock 
brought from China by Vasco da Gama, said tree now residing at the Lisbon 
home of the Count de Saint-Laurent.  The story is almost certainly bogus 
considering Da Gama never reached China and I haven't been able to locate 
anything that ties Saint-Laurent to Lisbon.  Louis XI's words make the tale 
demostrably false.  It also blows a big hole in the generally accepted 
Portuguese introduction that I've held to for a number of years.

The quote lends some credence to a linguistic argument for the introduction 
of sweet oranges to the Mediterranean via Persia in the Late Middle Ages.


> Since the recipe is given as being from "G. Markham- The English 
> Housewife"
> it could well be a sweeter orange. Markham's EH first came out in 1615
> and appears often thereafter.
> There is a reliable online history of oranges. It's part of the book:
> Reuther, Webber, and  Batchelor. /The Citrus Industry/. Revised Edition. 
> Riverside, CA:  University of California. Division of Agricultural 
> Sciences, 1967. Volume I: History, World Distribution, Botany, and 
> Varieties. http://lib.ucr.edu/agnic/webber/
> Actually they point out, as does Tolkowsky, that it's probable some sort 
> of sweet orange was already growing
> "in the Mediterranean regions of Europe prior to Vasco da Gama's voyage of 
> discovery of 1497 A.D"....
> because in 1483, "the king of France, Louis XI, ....requests that the 
> governor send him "citrons and sweet oranges , muscatel pears and 
> parsnips, and it is for the holy man who eats neither meat nor fish and 
> you will be doing me a very great pleasure."
>  Since the holy man referred to is Saint Francis of Paula, who had just 
> arrived at the court of Louis XI,
> Tolkowsky considered it probable that the pious monk had already become 
> accustomed to eating sweet oranges in his native country of Calabria.
>      By the beginning of the sixteenth century, there was abundant 
> evidence showing that the sweet orange had become well established and had 
> assumed commercial importance in southern Europe."
> Johnnae
> Terry Decker wrote:
>> Unless you are doing very early Tudor, the orange could have been a sweet 
>> orange.  Sweet oranges enter Mediterranean Europe via Portugal in the 
>> first quarter of the 16th Century and quickly became the favorite orange 
>> of Europe.  By Elizabethean times, sweet and sour oranges would have been 
>> readily available.
>> Bear
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