[Sca-cooks] Sesame Oil in 16th Century Ottoman Turkey

Sam Wallace guillaumedep at gmail.com
Fri Aug 13 14:21:50 PDT 2010


"First, a question: Where was the author observing this taking place?"

My best guess is Constantinople as it is referred to in several previous 
and subsequent passages. I have not had a chance to read through the 
whole thing, so I am only familiar with a few passages.

"I realize that the masses of people do not eat like the Sultan, maybe, 
instead of the butter (often clarified) so greatly used in the palace 

Well, M. Belon notes that sesame oil is cheap, but so was butter, most 
likely, from reading about a street stand in Constantinople that 
specialized in dairy foods (both cow and sheep). Rich and poor alike 
enjoyed the place because it was cheap. It had a menu including Melca 
(Fresh Cheese Curds), Caimac (made of cream and in many different 
styles. Greek: Aphrogala), and Oxygala. The author notes there was a lot 
of Recuictte (Misitra / Mizithra -a cheese) used.

"On some other hand, given that the writer says flows soft as mustard, i 
wonder if he is describing tahini."

 From context, no. This seems pretty clear from the comparison with nut 
and olive oils. It seems to me that the bit about mustard implies that 
French mustard was pretty thin and runny.

"At the moment i am working on translating some 16th c. Persian recipes 
from German into English (since i do not yet read 16th c. Persian). The 
article was a pdf (mentioned here by Emilio) and i copied it into a text 
program; it lost or confused various letters (esp. those with umlauts 
and macrons), so i have had to compare the two texts side by side and 
correct and amend and that takes a while."

Most word processing apps should have no problem with handling the 
different characters. Notepad might, if you save it as ASCII rather than 
Unicode. If I can be of help with this, please contact me off-list.


More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list