[Sca-cooks] olive oil too expensive to be used as a cooking oil?

Volker Bach carlton_bach at yahoo.de
Mon Jan 30 02:22:16 PST 2012

I suspect the issue is one of geography. Olives grow in profusion all around the Mediterranean, but are not that common e.g. in Persia or Mesopotamia. Modern Iranian cuisine  still depends much less on it than Syrian or Maghrebi. Given how much of our source material comes from Baghdad, that may be it.

Von: Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>
An: SCA-Cooks maillist SCA-Cooks <SCA-Cooks at Ansteorra.org> 
Gesendet: 10:47 Montag, 30.Januar 2012
Betreff: [Sca-cooks] olive oil too expensive to be used as a cooking oil?

Sayyeda al-Kaslaania said:

<<< Miller, H.D., "The Pleasures of Consumption: The Birth of Medieval Islamic Cuisine." in _Food: the History of Taste_. Edited by Paul H. Freedman. Series: California Studies in Food and Culture. U of California Press, 2007.Pp. 135-162.

According to Miller, olive oil would be served on the table as a prized fat, too expensive for the entire cooking process during the Middle Ages. >>>


I may be mis-remembering and perhaps this is specific to Islamic cultures, but from earlier discussions here and, I think, from my reading, I seem to remember that olive oil was fairly common around the Mediterranean and was the most common cooking oil.

I seem to remember it being common enough that it caused some religious friction between the northern and southern Christian countries, because olive oil could be used during Lent, while butter, the common cooking oil in the north, could not be used then.

What do the Middle Eastern/Islamic scholars here think? What have your studies said about how common olive oil for cooking was?

We discussed before that fat and cooking oils were more expensive then than now, but they did come up with enough to do deep-frying.



THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
  Mark S. Harris          Austin, Texas          StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
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