[Sca-cooks] Taro was Re: looking for lentil recipe

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Thu Mar 10 11:07:36 PST 2011

Clifford A. Wright in Mediterranean Vegetables provides the following:

"In the Arab world a variety of taro (qulqas) is known as elephant's ear (C. 

He provides the information that taro was known by Mediterranean authors in 
antiquity by they probably had no first hand experience with the plant. 
Then, "By the tenth century, taro seems to have been known in Mesopotamia, 
the Levant and Egypt.  Ibn Washihya mentions it without much detail.  In 
Spain, Ibn Awwam discusses the cultivation of taro in the twelfth century. 
A thirteenth century Baghdad cookery book gives five ways of preparing it. 
Taro seems to have been an important crop in Egypt in the Middle Ages as 
many writers remark upon this fact.  In Morroco, taro is not mentioned until 
the fourteenth century, when it is described as growing only as an 
ornamental plant.  Taro seems to have moved directly from Egypt to Sicily, 
and been called kulkas, about the same time."

It will be interesting to see what Perry has to say.


> The monthly meeting of the Culinary Historians of Southern California is 
> this Saturday.  The lecture topic has no bearing on this email thread, but 
> I expect Charles Perry to be there and I may have to ask him about Taro in 
> Arab cookery.  Taro, same as in Japanese cookery?  I don't remember seeing 
> this ingredient around in Arabian recipes.
> Gently bewildered Selene

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