[Sca-cooks] Middle Eastern Food

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Fri Jan 15 20:11:59 PST 2010

> Couldn't the argument be made that Persia is not "Middle Eastern"? The
> food is quite different, the religion is different, the languages are
> different, even the iconography is different...

Make any argument you want.  The term is imprecise.  As near as I can tell, 
the term originates as a reference to the Ottoman sphere of influence in the 
18th-19th Century, as Europe began encroaching on the Empire's possessions. 
Culturally, it is a generalization for Islamic cultures, primarily between 
the Eastern Mediterranean and China, although it has been used to refer to 

> I have always referred to Persia and central Asia as "Near Eastern"
> specifically to distinguish it from "Middle Eastern" which to me denotes
> Arabic-speaking and Arab-centric cultures.

So, the Near East is between the Middle East and the Far East?  That sounds 
a little geographically confused.  Near East is commonly used to refer to 
the countries on the Eastern Mediterranean from Turkey through the Arabian 
Peninsula, and at time, Egypt and Sudan.  You might try Southwestern Asia 
for Iran and Iraq.

> Granted, this may be to underscore my irritation with people describing
> the food, garb, dance, and music of India as "middle eastern", a common
> mistake in the SCA which aggravates me to no end.
> Madhavi

India or Indian sub-continent?  Pakistan is not India.  If you are referring 
to the Indian sub-continent, technically, Mughal culture is "Middle Eastern" 
in the broadest cultural sense.  Hindu, Buddhist, and Jainist culture would 
not be.  If many of the players in the SCA can't differentiate European 
cultures, do you expect them to be able to differentiate between Arabs, 
Persians, Moghuls and Berbers?  Educate where you can, ignore where you must 
and avoid apoplexy at all cost.


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