t.d.decker at att.net
Sat Jan 14 14:30:36 PST 2012
Black pepper can be placed in Egypt (being used in mummification) as early
as 1200 BCE. Long pepper was known as a medication in Greece around 600
BCE. Their use as a condiment in the Mediterranean world is a little more
tricky, but we can set that as early as 2nd Century BCE in the Roman world
The Classic Roman corpus does not generally differentiate between long and
black pepper, but Pliny states, that long pepper cost 15 denarii per pound,
white pepper cost 7 denarii per pound and black pepper cost 4 denarii per
pound. Given the prices, black pepper would have been the most common. The
Italian corpus likely follows the Roman lack of differentiation.
Long pepper is a very small seed (similar in size to poppy seed, black
pepper is a relatively large one. When one talks about "peppercorn," the
reference is to black pepper.
Both were known and used in Europe in period, so if a recipe does not
diffentiate, you could use either. It is worth noting that there was a
decline in the use of long pepper, starting around the 12th Century, leaving
black pepper as the most readily available pepper in Europe by the 14th
Century, so later period recipes calling for pepper are more likely to use
> This brings up an interesting question.
> When a manuscript just says pepper we all seem to assume they mean regular
> black pepper (or at least we use it because it is handy).
> IIRC the Early English stuff seems to differentiate between long pepper
> and pepper but the Italian corpus (of which I am most familiar) doesn't
> seem to say anything but pepper.
> Should we be using modern pepper?
> Should we be using one of the long peppers?
> Really let's not go there on chili peppers.
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