[Sca-cooks] Middle Eastern Food

Gretchen Beck grm at andrew.cmu.edu
Fri Jan 15 21:21:47 PST 2010

--On Friday, January 15, 2010 10:11 PM -0600 Terry Decker
<t.d.decker at att.net> wrote:

>> 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 al-Islam.

The OED defines it thus:

[< MIDDLE adj. + EAST , after FAR EAST n. and NEAR EAST n.] 

    An extensive area of south-west Asia and northern Africa, now esp. the
area extending from Egypt to Iran. Also (esp. in early use): South Asia and
adjacent countries; an area perceived as lying between the Near East and
the Far East. 

1876 Zion's Herald 11 May 146/1 Those nations of the middle East [i.e.
Mesopotamia], formerly so little known to us, have come to be best known of
any in those primitive ages.

toodles, margaret

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