[Sca-cooks] Le Menegier on carrots, Does anyone have documentation on Egyptian carrots

Stefan li Rous StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Sun Feb 28 02:25:18 PST 2010

I forwarded Adamantius' reply about carrots in Menagier to John at the  
Carrot Museum and here is his reply. He's also wanting to know if  
anyone has documentation on carrots in ancient Egypt. Bear?

Again, his site has a lot of info on carrots. A lot that I haven't  
seen discussed here on this list.

I'm pretty sure he'd appreciate any comments about the site or  
additional info on carrots.


Yes I have studied Menagier and spoken to a couple of French friends  
who agree with the translation given by Janet Higson, a respected  
academic here:

"Item, on All Saints, take carrots as many as you wish, and when they  
are well cleaned and chopped in pieces, cook them like the turnips.  
(Carrots are red roots which are sold at the Halles in baskets, and  
each basket costs one blanc.)"

It is on line - Main page here: http://daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Menagier/Menagier_Contents.html

The carrots reference is the last in the list - various odds and ends.

As for paintings I tend to agree with Brandenberg - "Art works alone  
are not considered to be good enough evidence as the colours used are  
not always true to type, and artists use colour effects in arranging  
their subjects. So in paintings the differences between yellow and  
orange roots are due to artistic features rather than to differences  
between cultivars. One can probably say with certainty that orange  
varieties were grown in the Netherlands at this time but this does not  
prove their origin in that locality. "

There is also some excellent carrot research done by Otto Banga in the  
60's debating the Origin of the European Carrot Material.- "There is  
some evidence that hybridisation (by the Dutch) did not play an  
essential part in the genesis of the cultivated carrot and that there  
is strong reason to believe that mutation followed by selection was  
the main factor. (Banga 1963)"

By the way on a different tack - It is said (with no documentary  
evidence) that the cultivated and edible carrot dates back about 5,000  
years ago when the purple root was found to be growing in the area now  
known as Afghanistan. Temple drawings from Egypt in 2000 BC show a  
purple plant, which some Egyptologists believe could have been a  
purple carrot. However Egyptian papyruses containing information about  
treatments with seeds were found in pharaoh crypts but there is no  
direct reference to carrot. (Ebers)

Do any of your colleagues have a lead on this Egyptian reference?


THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
    Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****

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