[Sca-cooks] sorghum

Johnna Holloway johnnae at mac.com
Tue Jan 5 11:11:35 PST 2010

> I looked earlier under sorghum in Doc's handy search scheme at  
> medievalcookery.com.
> but came up empty.
> John Gerard in the 1633 Herbal (which is up on EEBO-TCP) starts out  
> by saying
> "Sorghum. Turky Millet."
> The Names.
> The Millanois and other people of Lombardy call it Melegua, and  
> Melega: in Latine, Melica: in Hetruria, Saggina: in other places of  
> Italy, Sorgho: in Portugal, Milium Saburrum: in English, Turky Mill,  
> or Turky Hirsse.
> This seemes to be the Milium which was brought into Italy out of  
> India, in the reigne of the Emperour Nero: the which is described by  
> Pliny, lib. 18. cap. 7.
> And Turky millet is also spelled Turkie Millet, so I suspect the  
> recipes
> may in fact be under millet.
> Gerard didn't think much of it. He wrote "The seed of Turky Mill is  
> like vnto Panicke-In taste and temperature. The country People  
> sometimes make bread hereof, but it is brittle, and of little  
> nourishment, and for the most part it ser|ueth to fatten hens and  
> pigeons with."
> Sorghum is also mentioned in the entry on Panicke.
> "The wilde Panicke groweth vp with long reeden stalkes, full of  
> ioynts, set with long leaues like those of Sorghum, or Indian  
> Panicke: the tuft or feather-like top is like vnto the common reed,  
> or the eare of the grasse called Ischaemon, orManna grasse. The root  
> is small and threddy."
> John Ray includes a mention in his volume Observations  
> topographical, moral, & physiological made in a journey through part  
> of the low-countries, Germany, Italy, and France with a catalogue of  
> plants not native of England, found spontaneously growing in those  
> parts, and their virtues from 1673.
> (Now isn't that a great title?)
> All the way we travelled in Italy hitherto we had little other bread  
> than what was made of Sorghum, a grain the blade whereof arises to  
> seven or eight foot highth and is as great as ones finger, bearing a  
> large panicle on the top, the berry or seed being bigger than that  
> of wheat, and of a dusky colour. page 147
> Under sorghum,  OED starts out with
"The cereal plant known as Indian millet, Guinea-corn, durra, etc.  
(Andropogon sorghum, also called Holcus sorghum and Sorghum vulgare)."
> 1597 Gerarde Herbal i. v. 7 At the top..groweth a tuft or eare..like  
> Sorghum.
> 1673 Ray Journ. Low C. 147 We had little other bread than what was  
> made of Sorghum.
> so it reproduces what I found in EEBO-TCP before OED moves onto the  
> 18th century.
> Looking at entries in the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, it looks  
> as though African cookery might be
> a rich source of recipes. It's considered a staple with a  thick red  
> porridge of sorghum being made into bread by the
> Masa in Cameroon. In the article on West Africa, it's noted:
> "Sorghum, another indigenous food crop, also provides a red dye that  
> is rubbed into animal skins to make red leather, and its stems yield  
> large amounts of sugar. Sorghum is probably one of the world's most  
> versatile
> food crops with undeveloped genetic potential. In Nigeria, young  
> children eat the yellow varieties of sorghum to prevent blindness  
> because their diets are deficient in vitamin A. The most common food  
> prepared in Nigeria is tuwo, made by stirring sorghum flour into hot  
> water and allowing the thick paste to cool and gel. Once cooled,  
> tuwo is cut or broken up and eaten with soup. In West Africa it is  
> generally known as guinea corn, and the grains of certain varieties  
> are popped like popcorn. Sorghum grain is made into flour for a  
> thick pancake batter fried in groundnut oil; sorghumbeer is a  
> favorite beverage consumed at wrestling matches as burkutu, an  
> alcoholic gruel, or as pito, with the sediment removed. Dawaki are  
> flat fried cakes made with a mixture of sorghum and bean flours, and  
> sometimes accompany soups. A flour and water batter, akamu, is used  
> to flavor and thicken porridges and cereals."

> On Jan 5, 2010, at 12:45 PM, emilio szabo wrote:
>> http://www.gfrecipes.com/sorghum.txt
>> I guess, searching with a combination of search terms will bring  
>> you many more sites with modern recipes.
>> I wonder, if there are old recipes for sorghum.
>> E.

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