[Sca-cooks] "cows eyes"

Suey lordhunt at gmail.com
Mon Jul 9 14:44:29 PDT 2012

The 13th C Anon. Al-Andulus cookery has a recipe for making couscous 
from white breadcrumbs:

At the end of the recipe we are told it can be cooked with fat chicken, 
turnips and cows eyes. Huici and Perry concur with "cows eyes." What are 
cows eyes?

The Perry/Friedman translation is;

I Have Seen a Couscous Made with Crumbs of the Finest White Bread

For this one you take crumbs and rub with the palm on the platter, as 
one rubs the soup [/hasu/; unless this is a scribal error for /hashu/, 
"filling"], and let the bread be neither cold nor very hot; put it in a 
pierced pot [the colander-like perforated top portion of a couscousiere 
or couscous steamer] and when it's steam has left, throw it on the 
platter and rub with fat or moisten with the broth of the meat prepared 
for it. I have also seen a couscous that one makes from a fat chicken or 
stuffed and fattened capons and it was as if it were moistened only with 
fat, and in it were turnips of Toledo and "cow's eyes."

In Spanish the closest plant we have is "ox eyes" (ojos de buey), which 
is a tropical plant used as medicine for Parkinson's desease and the 
like but it is not a plant for the dinner table as far as I can see, 
especially as too much is a bad thing, nor do I know if it is ciltivated 
in Spain.  The "cows eye" daisy plant in English is called cornilla in 
Someone suggested that it literally means cows eyes but sighted Greek 
pagan ceremonies in which they were used.I just don't see the Anon 
digging up Greek goddesses.

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list