Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium

bananas-msg



This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

bananas-msg - 12/1/11

Period bananas. Evidence for when and where they were known and used. Recipes.

NOTE: See also the files: fruits-msg, apples-msg, fruit-quinces-msg, nuts-msg, sugar-msg, vegetables-msg, fruit-melons-msg, pomegranates-msg, fruit-citrus-msg.

************************************************************************
NOTICE -

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

I have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the individual authors.

Please respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear  at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

Thank you,
    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous
                                         Stefan at florilegium.org
************************************************************************

From: ayotte at milo.NOdak.EDU (Robert Arthur Ayotte)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: Period fruits?
Date: 8 Dec 1993 08:02:24 -0500
Organization: North Dakota State University ACM, Fargo ND

:   But no bananas or pineapple unless you get to Africa.

: My secondary source research (Tanahill, and the Encyclopedia Britannica)
: told me that Bananas were exported to the New World at the end of period by
: the Spanish and Portuguese, where bananas themselves are indigenous to Asia
: and not Africa.  Do you have more information? I found these sources to be
: sufficient to convince me to work with banana, but I could be convinced
: either way.

According to McGee, bananas were native to india and malaya, it arrived in Africa around 500 AD.  Europeans knew it as the indian fig.  

Bananas originally had fairly large seeds, and in some
parts of the world they can still be found growing wild with the black
seeds taking up nearly 1/3 of their interior.
Somewhere I remember hearing that bananas were known in Rome, but
were not considered fitting food for humans.  The date would have been
sometime around the time of the first Ceasers.

: It is safe to say, however, that modern bananas are not even close to period
: ones, its true. But they are closer to period bananas than, say modern pears
: would be...

: Tibor (ever-learning)
: --
: Mark Schuldenfrei (schuldy at math.harvard.edu)

The seeds in bananas are rock hard and vary from 1/4 inch to
almost 1/2 inch.  How the seedless varieties were found is unknown.

Horace


From: hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu (Heather Rose Jones)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: Period fruits?
Date: 8 Dec 1993 16:44:52 GMT
Organization: University of California, Berkeley

Robert Arthur Ayotte <ayotte at milo.NOdak.EDU> wrote:
> Bananas originally had fairly large seeds, and in some
>parts of the world they can still be found growing wild with the black
>seeds taking up nearly 1/3 of their interior.
>almost 1/2 inch.  How the seedless varieties were found is unknown.
>
>Horace

The "seedless" varieties are modern polyploid hybrids. (They actually do
have seeds, but they are small and infertile.) I learned something
fascinating in this regard in my university genetics course: statistically
speaking, something like one in every thousand (exact number forgotten)
bananas ought to have large, fertile seeds due to the proper combination
of ploidy in the gametes involved. Why don't we ever see _any_ in the
markets? Because fertile bananas are easily identifiable visually and
are removed from the bunch before being shipped. To get this back
more on topic, specialty groceries around here carry about a dozen
different varieties of non-standard bananas, but I have no idea whether
any of them are ones that would have been available.

Keridwen f. Morgan Glasfryn


Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 15:41:44 -0500
From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
Subject: RE: SC - Fw: [TY] Fruits From 'New World'

> My questions are:
> 1) Approximatley when did the Pineapple reach England (and
> surrounding areas)?

According to the quick ref, Columbus introduced the pineapple (Ananascomosus) to Spain in 1493.  I haven't seen anything as to when the pineapple reached England, but I suspect it is in the 17th Century, after England establishes colonies in the Caribbean.

> 2) Waht other 'New World' fruits were discovered and when...

Also attached to Columbus' return in 1493 is the plantain (Musaparadisiaca), a relative of the banana.  The fruit is similar to the fruit of genus Plantago which appears to have been cultivated in Europe at the time and was also known as plantain.

> -Ly. Ganna

Bear


Date: Mon, 5 Jul 1999 16:32:22 -0700
From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>
Subject: Bananas (was RE: SC - Hummus and Other Questionably Period Foods)

At 2:38 PM -0400 7/5/99, Michelle \"TJ\" Brunzie wrote:
>Like bananas - I'm sure
>bananas have come up already - which I was wondering about because I have
>this book (which isn't *that* historical) which asserts that bananas were
>introduced to Europe by Muslims.

Could be.

Taciunem Sanitatas, which is a 14th c. latin book based on an Arabic
original, has a picture of bananas by someone who has clearly never seen
one, and says they are grown in Sicily. Sicily had been Muslim, was
conquered by by Normans in, I think, the 12th c., but may still have been
to some degree culturally Muslim later.

Also, there was a recent story about a 16th c. banana peel someone found in
England.

David/Cariadoc
http://www.best.com/~ddfr/


Date: Wed, 10 May 2000 10:34:24 -0500
From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
Subject: RE: SC - Unhistoric things we serve WAS:Shepherds Pie

> Warning! Warning Will Robinson!  Andrea..... Bananas are
> period dating back to pre-Roman times.  Hannibals army
> were among the first Western Europeans to taste bananas.

Pliny specifically gives credit to Alexander the Great's army which invaded
India and provides a description of the banana.  The fruit was apparently
unknown in the Mediterrenean Basin in 1st Century CE, so I doubt Hannibal
found any on his alpine elephantine excursion.

The best evidence is that bananas were brought to the Middle East and North
Africa around 700 CE as part of the Islamic expansion and were brought to
Central Africa as part of the Arab slave trade.  They are believed to have
arrived in Madagascar about 300 CE during a migration from Indonesia and
were traded into South Africa from there.

> They were grown
> in the Canary Islands by the Portugese before the discovery of the
> New World.   A number of items now grown so extensively in the
> New World are actually Old World!  

The Portuguese found bananas in West Africa and imported them to the
Canaries where they began cultivating them.  The Spanish took the Canaries
in the late 15th Century and in 1516, bananas were transported to the New
World.

> True, period bananas are not
> similar to modern breeds you get at the Safeway, but they are
> absolutely period!  To find recipes, you will need to look at early
> Islamic and Judaic cookery (they will be hard to find I
> think).  Period
> bananas look more like those stubby reddish ones you see on
> ocassion in some larger stores.
>
> Akim Yaroslavich

While there has been selective breeding to improve the stock, the banana
varieties available today were available in period, though they may not have
been in a commonly frequented local.  IIRC, the Cavendish, which is today's
common yellow banana, is out of Asia and is the choice commercial banana
because it is hardier than the Big Mike (originally from the Canaries) that
it replaced in the trade and that small yellow and small red bananas were
also being grown in the Canaries.

Bear


Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 00:58:12 -0700 (PDT)
From: Huette von Ahrens <ahrenshav at yahoo.com>
Subject: SC - Bananas

Here is what the Oxford Companion to Food says about
bananas:

It seems likely that edible bananas date back several
thousand years in India.  There were certainly known
by repute to the Greeks in the 4th Century BC, when
the army of Alexander the Great encountered them on
trees in India.  PLiny the Elder, writing several
centuries later, recorded the incident and cited the
name "pala" for the fruit.  This name passed into
classical Greek and is reflected in some modern Indian
names. The classical writer Theofrastus repeated a
legend that wise men sat in the shade of the banana
tree and ate its fruit, whence the pleasing but now
obsolete botanical name M. sapientium, meaning 'banana
of the sages.'

The banana reached China about AD 200, when it is
mentioned in the works of Yang Fu.  However, it was
grown only in the south, and was considered a rare,
exotic fruit in the north, an attitude that lasted
well into the 20th Century.

During the 1st Millenium AD, the banana also arrived
in Africa, probably taken directly from the Malay
region to Madagascar.  By the end of the 14th century,
the fruit was being cultivated right across the
continent to the west coast.

During the same period, it was take eastward through
the Pacific Islands.  The Arabs had spread cultivation
through their lands south of the Mediterranean before
AD 650, but no farther north than Egypt, the climate
of South Europe being too cool for the plant.
Consequently, the banana remained unknown to most
Europeans until much later.

THe first serious European contact with the fruit came
not long after 1402, when Portuguese sailors found it
in West Africa and took it to the Canary Islands.
That is why the European name 'banana' comes from a
West African word, the Guinean banema or banana.  The
Canaries have remained an important banana-growing
area ever since, and it was from there that a Spanish
missionary, later Bishop of Panama, took banana roots
to American in 1516, after which the new plant spread
quickly through Central America and the northern parts
of South America.  For some reason, the Spaniards saw
a likeness between the banana tree and the totally
different plane tree (plateno), which is how the
plantain got its confusing name.

Huette


Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 12:18:50 -0600
From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
Subject: RE: SC - Bananas?

>What references, if any, do we have for bananas used as foodstuffs during
>our period?
>
>Malachias

Pliny describes bananas and their consumption in India based on Nearchus'
invasion of Northern India around 325 BCE.  Apparently the fruit was not
brought back to Greece at that time.

The fruit was brought to Africa from Southeast Asia about 325 CE by a
migration to Mozambique.  A second importation to North Africa occurred
after the Arab conquest of Nothern India at the beginning of the 8th
Century. Between the two importations and the Arab slave trade into Central
Africa, bananas spread to the West Coast of Africa by the 15th Century.  

There are supposedly references to bananas in some of the Arab texts, but I
have not found the texts or translations.

The Portuguese found bananas in West Africa and brought them to the Canary
Islands after the islands were taken from Castile in 1425.  The bananas were
under cultivation when Spain retook the islands in 1496.

Oviedo records the importation of bananas from the Canary Islands to the
Caribbean in his "Historia general y natural de las Indias, Islas y
Tierra-Firme del Mar Oceano" in 1517.  While there are a few quibbles, the
evidence suggests that this is the initial introduction of bananas into the
New World.

The banana which turned up in a Tudor trash heap represents, in my opinion,
an anomalous import from the Canaries.  Two professionals commenting on the
origin of this particular banana suggested the New World and Southeast Asia.
Both are doubtful, since bananas last only about 10 to 14 days after cutting
without carefully controlled refrigeration.

While the banana was eaten in Africa, Asia, and probably Arabia and the
Levant during the SCA period, it is a tropical fruit, and its perishable
nature severely limited its use in Europe.  The banana was not a
commercially viable crop outside of the tropics until the advent of steam
powered transportation.

Bear


Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 18:54:26 -0800
From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>
Subject: RE: SC - Bananas?

At 12:18 PM -0600 12/18/00, Decker, Terry D. wrote:
>There are supposedly references to bananas in some of the Arab texts, but I
>have not found the texts or translations.

_The Four Seasons of the House of Cerruti_ is based on an Arab text,
of which I think the Latin version is Taciunum Sanitatas. It mentions
bananas as being grown in Sicily, I believe, but the picture was
pretty clearly drawn by someone who had never seen one.
- --
David Friedman
ddfr at best.com
http://www.daviddfriedman.com/


Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 22:59:12 -0800 (PST)
From: =?iso-8859-1?q?Tina=20Nevin?= <thorngrove at yahoo.com>
Subject: RE: SC - Bannana

If you would like to see a photo of the Tudor trash heap bannana skin,
take a peek at my webpage here:
http://www.geocities.com/thorngrove/banana.jpg

Ciao
Lucrezia


Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 10:00:08 -0600
From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
Subject: RE: SC - Bannana

> Thanks Lucrezia.
> Which museum is that from?
> I am curious as to what they say about it's presence.
>
> Beatrice

The Museum of London.  Here's a further URL for your perusal:
http://www.museum-london.org.uk/MOLsite/forum/lbc4.html

I would point out that we really can not say the banana was eaten in England
within the SCA period.  A single banana peel represents an archeological
anomaly. It may be of Tudor origin or it may be an intrusive artifact.  

If you want a banana recipe presumably medieval and Arabic, but of no
provable provenance, try slicing a banana into a dish, add blanched almonds
and honey, stir to mix, pour sesame oil upon it and serve it forth.  

For the experimental and not overly historically accurate, prepare them like
wardens in syrup or bake them into a tart.

Or, based upon Pliny's commentary, you might serve it in that most unusual
of ways--raw.

Bear


Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 02:22:19 +0100
From: TG <gloning at Mailer.Uni-Marburg.DE>
Subject: SC - Bananas

I.
The 11th century Taqwim al-Sihha of Ibn Butlan (Tacuin sanitatis) has an
entry on bananas with one sentence on how to eat them. Here is a rough
English paraphrase based on the Editor's French translation of his arab
edition:
- -- 'To eat it with sugar and honey helps to make good use of it (?).
Make sure that the banana is ripe and thoroughly peeled and drink some
perfumed wine afterwards'
- -- "La manger avec du sucre et du miel aide ‡ la faire bien apprÈcier,
surtout quand elle est m°re, bien pelÈe et suivie d'un vin parfumÈ".
(Elkhadem 155)

The strange pictures in the _Four seasons of the house of Cerruti_,
David mentioned, might be explained by the fact that this passage was
later understood to refer to a different kind of plant (Latin printed
ed. 1531: musae, poma paradisi, German ed. 1533: Paradiesˆpffel).

II.
According to Maxime Rodinson's 'Recherches sur les documents arabes
relatifs ‡ la cuisine' [1950; Inquiries into the arab texts pertinent to
cookery], there are two recipes with bananas in the 'Kitab al-Wusla ila
l-Habib' (Book of the connection to the friend; 12th century; later
manuscripts). As far as I know, there is no edition of this text yet,
but at least Rodinson's summary [On donne ci-dessous un sommaire du
contenu de l'ouvrage; 130] indicates, that there _are_ two banana
recipes:
- -- 'Two dishes of meat with bananas'
- -- "2 plats de viande aux bananes" (p. 138).

Th.


Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 08:51:12 -0500
From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
Subject: RE: SC - What would you do?  or 2 months to freak out

> > Umm. I'd hate to see a possibly rare, even one-time import of some
> > bananas used to justify the use of bananas as period.
>
> Havent seen any updates yet refuting it.

AFAIK, there has been no conclusive finding with regard to the banana peel.
Bananas were in use in the Middle East and Africa at the time.  In the late
15th Century, Portuguese explorers found bananas on the West Coast of Africa
and transplanted some to the Canary Islands.  In 1517, banana shoots were
transplanted from the Canaries to the New World.

Because they are extremely perishable (10 to 12 days after cutting), they
are more likely to have been used where they were grown than imported into
Europe. The banana trade in the U.S. and Europe becomes a business only
after the advent of reliable steam transportation.

Bear


Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 15:02:22 -0400
From: "Peters, Rise J." <rise.peters at spiegelmcd.com>
Subject: RE: SC - bananas

What's even worse is that the bananas they would have been eating... those
lovely things they grow in the Canaries -- taste completely different from
what we buy at the supermarket.  But they are over-ripe and brown within
hours after they are removed from the trees, and when something has to be
sacrificed for marketability/transportability, the something is always
flavor.

I ate bananas on Gomera, in the Canaries, until I just about popped.... and
it was a long time before I could stomach the ones at home again.


Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 13:58:08 -0500
From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
Subject: RE: SC - bananas

> I think Bear's main point was that until the creation of faster
> transportation (steamship?), bananas just didn't last long enough to
> get from their point of origin to England in an edible condition.
>
> Stefan li Rous

I am of the opinion the banana peel is a period anomaly unless it can be
reasonably demonstrated that it is an intrusive artifact.  It was originally
reported that the peel was encapsulated in the midden leading the excavating
archeologists to believe it was not intrusive.  The peel is anomalous
because it is the only one discovered and there are no references to bananas
being imported into England before the 19th Century.

From Oviedo, we know that the Canary Islands had bananas in 1517 and that
the priest who would later become the Bishop of Panama was the first person
known to import banana shoots into the New World.  The Canaries are within
10 days sail of England for a fast ship, so bananas could be imported from
the Canaries (or Madeira, which is closer and probably also had bananas
under cultivation).  

Bananas were known and eaten in the 16th Century.  However, the idea that
they could be a regular import into Europe is not very likely given the
unreliablity of sea travel and the perishability of the fruit, especially
when one considers the difficulties of getting the fruit to market even
after the developement of steamships.

Bear


Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 15:14:09 -0500
From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
Subject: RE: SC - bananas

> I have read that bananas were eaten by Near Easterners in period,
> however. So perhaps at a Near Eastern banquet, although i haven't
> found a recipe that includes them yet.
>
> Anahita

Thomas Gloning provided the following a while back:

The 11th century Taqwim al-Sihha of Ibn Butlan (Tacuin sanitatis) has an
entry on bananas with one sentence on how to eat them. Here is a rough
English paraphrase based on the Editor's French translation of his arab
edition:
- - -- 'To eat it with sugar and honey helps to make good use of it (?). Make
sure that the banana is ripe and thoroughly peeled and drink some perfumed
wine afterwards' - -- "La manger avec du sucre et du miel aide · la faire
bien apprªcier, surtout quand elle est mfre, bien pelªe et suivie d'un vin
parfumª". (Elkhadem 155)

According to Maxime Rodinson's 'Recherches sur les documents arabes relatifs
· la cuisine' [1950; Inquiries into the arab texts pertinent to cookery],
there are two recipes with bananas in the 'Kitab al-Wusla ila l-Habib' (Book
of the connection to the friend; 12th century; later manuscripts). As far as
I know, there is no edition of this text yet, but at least Rodinson's
summary [On donne ci-dessous un sommaire du contenu de l'ouvrage; 130]
indicates, that there _are_ two banana recipes:
- - -- 'Two dishes of meat with bananas'
- - -- "2 plats de viande aux bananes" (p. 138).

While I came across a recipe in a 1920's textbook on bananas which purports
to be Medieval and Arabic but has no provenance:

slice a banana into a dish, add blanched almonds and honey, stir to mix,
pour sesame oil upon it and serve it forth.

Bear


From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
To: "'sca-cooks at ansteorra.org'" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 08:35:19 -0500
Subject: [Sca-cooks] RE: SC - bananas and bowels

IIRC, Pliny comments that over-indulgence in bananas caused loose bowels
among Alexander's troops.

Bear

> Bananas are certainly a modern folk remedy for loose bowels.
>
> Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, mka Jennifer Heise


From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
To: "'sca-cooks at ansteorra.org'" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 13:15:54 -0500
Subject: [Sca-cooks] RE: SC - bananas

<clipped>
> So, to recap, Gerard, on or slightly before 1597, received a banana fruit
> shipped from Syria.  It was preserved in a pickle solution.
>
> Johnson, on April 10, 1633, received a live banana plant with fruit cluster
> shipped from the Bahamas. He picked the fruit stalk and hung it in his
> shop.  The fruit ripened about 3 weeks later, and didn't rot until June.
>
> We have, therefore, two viable methods for an intentional circa-1500s
> import of a banana into England. Pickling of the ripe fruit,
> or shipment of a fruiting live plant.
>
> Comments?
>
> Cindy

Was the banana listed in the first edition of the Herball or was it added in
a later revision?  IIRC, the Herball was revised for a later edition and
incorporated notes and occurrences from after the original publication.

Quite a bit of the Herball was presumably taken from Rembert Dodoens'
Cruydeboek (1554).  Do you know whether or not the banana appears in the
Cruydeboek? (I suspect not, but I've never seen a copy of Dodoens' work).

Banana seeds are sterile.  Banana trees reproduce by growing shoots from the
root. Individual stalks die after producing one crop of bananas.
Transplanted shoots account for bananas in the Canaries and in the New
World. This is the first account I've seen of transporting a full banana
stalk. I would think transporting a fruiting plant might be more difficult
than transporting bunches of bananas, which may be why commercial production
didn't appear in the 17th Century.

The fact that it took 3 weeks for the fruit to ripen suggests that it was
picked very early and that it may have been a cool spring.  I also wonder if
what was shipped wasn't a banana shoot and what arrived was a fruiting
plant; however, since we don't know anything about the preparation or
transit time from the Bahamas, that's pure speculation.

Bear


From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
To: "'sca-cooks at ansteorra.org'" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] bananas
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 17:09:16 -0500

Modern hybrids have been grown mainly to provide bigger fruit better able to
stand transporting.  They have nothing to do with the seeds being sterile.

Ovieda reports that banana shoots were taken to the New World.  Ergo, the
period domesticated banana had sterile seeds.

The botanical opinion is the banana was one of the first domesticated plants
and that the sterility of the seeds occurred sometime in the Neolithic,
improving the plant for human consumption and requiring human intervention
to reproduce.  IIRC, all members of the genus Musa including the plantain
have sterile seeds and are considered domesticated.  Other genera in the
family Musacae have seeds of varying sizes and viability.

Bear

> Okay, but are you referring to a modern hybrid? or to period bananas?
> Here are two messages from my fruit-bananas-msg file. Of course, it is
> also possible they are really talking about the plantain.
>
> Stefan li Rous
> stefan at texas.net


From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
To: "'sca-cooks at ansteorra.org'" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] RE: SC - bananas
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 16:02:10 -0500

> My question, I suppose, would be are they talking about plantains or
> bananas?  Perhaps they are talking of both, but they are
> different.  If he hung the bunch in the window and they lasted that long I
> would think he was talking about plantains.
>
> Olwen

I hadn't considered that possibility.

Plantains and bananas are both mentioned in Pliny and their migration into
the Middle East and Africa were probably similar.

We know when bananas were brought to the Caribbean because of Oviedo, but I
don't know about plantains.

Johnson's description is not complete enough to determine the species of
Musa and he doesn't mention whether he cooked the banana or not when he
tasted it.  The comparison to muskmelon suggests that he ate the fruit raw,
which in turn would suggest it was a banana as plantains are cooked.  If he
kept them hanging around for a month after they ripened, I would agree "the
pulp or meat was very soft and tender..."

Bear


Date: Fri, 4 May 2001 09:51:40 +0200
To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org
From: "Cindy M. Renfrow" <cindy at thousandeggs.com>
Subject: [Sca-cooks] RE: SC - bananas - long

>Was the banana listed in the first edition of the Herball or was it added in
>a later revision?  IIRC, the Herball was revised for a later edition and
>incorporated notes and occurrences from after the original publication. <snip>

If Johnson has put his indicators in the correct places, bananas were
listed in the 1st edition, along with 2 illustrations, *Musa Serapionis*
and *Musa Fructus*.

Gerard says "In the middest of the top among the leaues commeth forth a
soft and fungous stumpe, whereon do grow diuers apples in forme like a
small Cucumber, and of the same bignesse, couered with a thin rinde like
that of the Fig, of a yellow colour when they be ripe: the pulpe or
substance of the meate is like that of the Pompion, without either seeds,
stones, or kernels, in tast not greatly perceiued at the first, put
presently after it pleaseth, and entiseth a man to eat liberally thereof,
by a certaine entising sweetnes it yeelds: in which fruit, if it be cut
according to the length (saith myne Author) oblique, transuerse, or any
other way whatsoeuer, may be seen the shape and forme of a crosse, with a
man fastned thereto. My selfe haue seene the fruit, and cut it in pieces,
which was brought me from Aleppo [Syria] in pickle; the crosse I might
perceiue, as the forme of a spred-egle in the root of Ferne; but the man I
leaue to be sought for by those that haue better eyes and iudgment than my
selfe."

The fact that it turns yellow when it ripens, and that it seems to be being
eaten raw, leads me to believe it is the banana and not the plantain that
Gerard is describing.  Under vertues (see below) he does mention adding
ginger or other spice for those with cold constitutions.

Johnson then adds
"Aprill 10. 1633. my much honored friend ). Argent (now President of the
Colledge of Physitions of London) gaue me a plant he receiued from the
Bermuda's: the length of the stalke was some two foot; the thicknesse
thereof some seuen inches about, being crested, and full of a soft pith, so
that one might easily with a knife cut it asunder.  It was crooked a
little, or indented, so that each two or three inches space it put forth a
knot of some halfe inch thicknesse, and some inch in length, which
incompassed it morre than halfe about; and vpon each of these ioints or
knots, in two rankes one aboue another, grew the fruit, some twenty,
nieteene, eithteene, &c. mor or lesse, at each knot: for the branch I had,
contained nine knots or diuisions, and vpon the lowest knot grew twenty
[fruits], and vpon the vppermost fifteene.  The fruit which I receiued was
not ripe, but greene, each of them was about the bignesse of a large Beane;
the length of them some fiue inches, and the bredth some inch and halfe...
This stalke with the fruit thereon I hanged vp in my shop, were it became
ripe about the beginning of May, and lasted vntil Iune: the pulp or meat
was very soft and tender, and it did eate somewhat like a
Muske-Melon...This Plant is found in many places of Asia, Africke, and
America, especially in the hot regions: you may find frequent mention of it
amongst the sea voyages to the East and West Indies, by the name of
Plantaines, or Platanus, Bannanas, Bonnanas, Bouanas, Dauanas, Poco, &c.
Some (As our Author hath said) haue iudged it the forbidden fruit;
other-some, the Grapes brought to Moses out of the Holy-land."

Johnson has also added the figure Musae fructus exactior Icon, An exacter
figure of the Plantaine fruit.

Gerard also lists the place (Egypt, Cyprus, Syria, Tripolis, Canara, Decan
Guzarate, Bengala, East Indies), time, names ("It is called *Musa* by such
as trauell to Aleppo: by the Arabians, *Musa Maum*: In Syria, *Mose*: The
Grecians and Christians which inhabit Syria, and the Iewes also, suppose it
to be that tree of whose fruit Adam did taste; which others thinke to be a
ridiculous fable: of Pliny, *Opuntia*.  It is called in the East Indies (as
as Malauar where it also groweth) *Palan*: in Malayo, *Pican*: and in that
part of Africa which we call Ginny, *Bananas*: in English, Adams Apple
tree.") and temperature.  He gets some of his information from Dioscorides
and Serapio.

Of the Vertues, Gerard adds "The fruit hereof yeeldeth but little
nourishment: it is good for the heate of the breast, lungs, and bladder: it
stoppeth the liuer, and hurteth the stomacke if too much of it be eaten,
and procureth loosenesse in the belly: whereupon it is requisit for such as
are of a cold constitution, in the eating thereof to put vnto it a little
Ginger or other spice.

Cindy


From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
To: "'sca-cooks at ansteorra.org'" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] RE: SC - bananas - long
Date: Sat, 5 May 2001 22:01:05 -0500

They were found in India by Alexander's troops about 325 BCE.  According to
various references, they most probably originated in SE Asia and were spread
to China, India, Africa and the Pacific during various migrations.

Bear

> For what it's worth, the Larousse Gastronomique lists
> the origin of Plantain (both vegetable and fruit
> varieties) as natives of India.  Of course, there are
> no references as to where the information came from.
>
> Balthazar of Blackmoor


From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
To: "'sca-cooks at ansteorra.org'" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] RE: SC - bananas - long
Date: Sun, 6 May 2001 18:06:48 -0500

Thanks for all the information, Cindy.  I'll be adding it to my notes.

I remembered the quote from Oviedo as mentioning shoots, but I was in error.
That comes of trying to work off the top of my head.

I'm including the quote translated from Oviedo and some information about
the commercial trade in bananas which helps provide insight into the
problems of transporting bananas.

Bear


"There is a fruit here which is called "Plantanos"...nor did they use to be
in the Indies but were brought hither....Obe hears on all sides that this
special kind was brought from the Island of Gran Canaria in the year 1516 by
the Reverend Father Friar Tomas de Berlanga of the Oreder of Predicadores,
to this city of Santo Domingo whence the spread to other settlements of this
island and to all other islands peopled by Christians.  And they have even
been carried to the mainland and in every part they have flourished....The
first ones were brought, as has been said, from Gran Canaria, and I saw them
there in the very monastery of San Francisco in the year 1520.  Also they
are in the other Fortunate of Canary Islands and I have heard say they are
found in the city of Almeria in the Kingdom of Granada.  They say that this
plant was passed thence to the Indies and that to Almeria it came from the
Levant and from Alexandria and East India."

Oviedo, y Valdez, Gonzales Fernandes de, "Historia general y natural de las
Indies, Islas y Tierra-Firma del Mar Oceano"; Toledo, 1526.


"Bananas were first imported commercially into England in small quantities
from Madeira in 1878 and from the Canary Islands in 1882, but were regarded
as exotic rarities.  In 1884 the total importations into England were about
10,000 bunches.  In 1892, Arthur H. Stockley and A. Roger Ackerly for Elder,
Dempster and Company, began importations from the Canary Islands, and about
this time Fyffe, Hudson and Company also started to import bananas from
these islands.  During the next decade the fruit passed from what might be
termed the 'luxury stage' to that of an everyday food.

"Minor C. Keith about 1896 or 1897, commenced trial shopments of Costa Rica
bananas from New York to Liverpool in the fastest avialable Atlantic liners
of the time.  The bunches, with the ends of the stems covered in asphaltum,
were packed in dried banana leaves and placed in crates of boxes.  One
thousand to two thousand bunches were shipped weekly in this manner and the
fruit sold at auction at Covent Garden, London.  Some of the fruit arrived
in good shape and sold as high as the equivalent of fifteen dollars a bunch,
but too often it arrived in spoiled condition.  At the end of a three-year
period, Keith found that he had lost some $15,000 in the venture and stopped
shipments.

"In 1901, the Imperial Direct Line between Bristol and Jamaica was started
by Sir Alfred Jones, Chairman of Elder, Dempster and Company, and
steamships, especially fitted with refrigerating apparatu, loaded at Jamaica
a cargo of about 25,000 bunches once a fortnight."

Reynolds, Philip Keep, "The Banana, Its History, Cultivation and Place Among
Staple Foods;" Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, 1927.


"Immediately upon the arrival at the wharf of the first trainload of
bananas, the loading of the steamship begins and continues day and night
without interruption until completed....The cutting orders and the train
schedules are arranged so that a continuous flow of fruit is assured.  A
cargo of 85,000 bunches is dispatched in about fifteen hours.

"...Each class of fruit is ususally put by itself.  Bunches are stowed on
end, resting on the lower end (butt) of the stalk in from one to four tiers
in the following manner; one, two or three standing (end to end); one two or
three standing and one flat; or, one, two ro three standing and two flat.
The spaces between bunches, between hands and stalks, and between the
fingers, form natural channels for the circulation of air.

"...All ironwork is properly sheather, and rough surfaces as well as sharp
edges are eliminated to prevent bruising and discoloration of the fruit.

"Each compartment is divided into bins of convenient size by verticle wooden
partitions of open construction called "shifting boards" (similar to the old
farm gate).  These wooden bars, or bin boards, keep the fruit from shifting
and from becoming crushed from the roll and pitch of the ship in heavy
weather.

"Refrigeration, as applied to banana cargos, is the treatment of the fruit
with cooled and properly conditioned air, and should not be confused with
the customary cold-storage operation in which low temperatures are
essential.

"In transporting banana cargoes in good condition, there are three principal
opposing factors to be met, i.e., heat, humidity, and vitiated air.  At the
beginning of a voyage when the hatched are closed, these three factors are
exerting their maximum influence against the fruit.  During this time the
temperatures of the outside atmosphere and of the sea-water are at their
maximum. This is the most critical period for the banana cargo, and quick
control of temperatures, with full efficiency of refrigeration, is
imperative. As the impure atmosphere created by the respiration of the
fruit has a potent ripening influence, ir is essential that the air in the
holds be kept fresh, especially during the period of temperature reduction.

"...It is the usual practice to "pre-cool" the holds of a refrigerated
steam-ship for a period of twelve hours just prior to loading.  When the
vessel is loaded, every effort is made to reduce the temperature to the
desired drgree in the briefest time possible...

"...In the early stages of cooling, the amount of heat given off by the
average cargo of bananas is about 8,000,000 British thermal units per hour.

"...According to the distance, route, and speed of the vessel, the voyage
from the various banana ports of Central America and Jamaica to New Orleans,
Mobile or Galveston consumes from there to five days; to Boston, New York,
Philadelphia, or Baltimore, about seven or eight days; and to British and
Continental ports, fifteen or sixteen days.  On account of the longer ocean
voyage, the bananas shipped to the European market are of a slightly thinner
grade (less fully developed) that those sent to the United States."

Temperatures in Fahrenheit

56                        Holding ripe bananas
58                        Holding green bananas
60                        Slow ripening
62 to 66                   Normal ripening
68                        Fast or forced ripening
72 or over                 Danger of cooking

Reynolds, Philip Keep, "The Banana, Its History, Cultivation and Place Among
Staple Foods;" Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, 1927.


To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org,
        "'sca-cooks at ansteorra.org'" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] RE: SC - bananas
From: Kirrily Robert <skud at infotrope.net>
Date: Thu, 03 May 2001 21:48:59 -0400

>however, since we don't know anything about the preparation or
>transit time from the Bahamas, that's pure speculation.

Trans-atlantic sailing time in that period was 6-12 weeks, depending on
exactly where you're going from/to and weather conditions, IIRC.
--
Kirrily 'Skud' Robert - skud at infotrope.net - http://infotrope.net/


From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
To: "'sca-cooks at ansteorra.org'" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] more on bananas
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 08:42:45 -0500

> The April issue of "BBC History Magazine" has in their calender for April 10:
> "1633: The first bananas imported to England go on sale."
> --
> THLord  Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra

April 10, 1633 to be precise.  This is the bunch of bananas displayed in the
shop of Thomas Johnson, who edited Gerard's Herball.

Without the additional information, the implication is that this is the
start of continuous commercial banana sales in England.  It isn't.  The
first commercial importations were from Madeira in the 19th Century.  They
were an exotic fruit, expensive and not widely consumed.

Even with steamships in the 19th Century, a lot of the bananas which reached
England from South America spoiled in transit.  The English trade in bananas
became commercially viable in the late 19th Century with air conditioned,
steam powered, banana freighters.

Bear


From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>
To: "'sca-cooks at ansteorra.org'" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] more on bananas
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 08:45:48 -0500

It is identified as a banana peel in the popular press, who presumably got
the information from the archeologists.  I believe it was examined by a
qualified archeobotanist, but would need to verify that.  AFAIK, the
official report hasn't been published.

Bear

> Quick question:  Are we all sure this was a banana
> peel discovered in an English midden, and not a
> plantain peel? The latter, IIRC, ripen much, much
> slower than bananas.
>
> Balthazar of Blackmoor


From: Christina Nevin <cnevin at caci.co.uk>
To: "'SCA Cookslist'" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 12:10:14 +0100
Subject: [Sca-cooks] Tudor Plaintain/Banana debate

I've been talking to one of the curators at the Museum of London, and she's
told me they have just this week sent 2 samples of the skin off for DNA and
Carbon 14 testing (only just got the funding).

She also said she found a document 3 years ago about the importation of a
whole range of exotic fruits, including the plaintain, which she is hoping
to publish with the results of the analysis. She said she'd get back to me
(probably in a few months) so further details will follow.

Lucrezia
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Lady Lucrezia-Isabella di Freccia   |  mka Tina Nevin
Thamesreach Shire, The Isles, Drachenwald | London, UK


Date: Mon, 24 May 2004 07:28:16 -0400
From: Elaine Koogler <ekoogler1 at comcast.net>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Dayboard-like Fighter Food
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

I don't know about banana pudding, but, for the Mediterranean region
during the Renaissance, according to Clifford Wright, in his "A
Mediterranean Feast", bananas are period, having been introduced at
least to southern Italy and Spain by the Arabs.

Kiri

Stefan li Rous wrote:
> This is not period, but would fighters go for banana pudding? Bananas
> are good because of the potassium they contain, right?
>
> Stefan


Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2006 16:57:00 +0100
From: "Christina Nevin" <cnevin at caci.co.uk>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Banana   WAS Images of Dining in Ireland 1581
To: "SCA-Cooks (E-mail)" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Just a note to say the skin found in the Thames midden was actually a  
plantain, not a banana. I emailed the gentleman in charge at the  
museum just after the London Eats Out exhibition (which is when it  
was displayed) and he said DNA tests had proven it to be such. You  
can see a rather small photo of it (pre-digital camera days for me!)  
on my website here:
http://www.thorngrove.net/athenaeum/eatsout4.htm <http://
www.thorngrove.net/http://www.thorngrove.net/athenaeum/eatsout4.htm>;

ciao
Lucrezia
========================================================================
Baronessa Lucrezia-Isabella di Freccia | Christina Nevin
Thamesreach Shire, Drachenwald | London, UK


Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2006 18:28:52 -0500
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Banana   WAS Images of Dining in Ireland 1581
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

I would say it doesn't matter that the fruit is Musa paradisiaca rather then
M. acuminata.  Both fruits are tropical, don't travel very well (although
the plantain may do better than the banana), and the closest source is the
Canary Islands.  The question is how did it get into a Tudor period midden?
The chief difference is the plantain requires cooking before eating.

It does occur to me that this may be a specimen taken from a private
botanical garden rather than an exotic import.

Bear

> Just a note to say the skin found in the Thames midden was actually a
> plantain, not a banana. I emailed the gentleman in charge at the museum
> just after the London Eats Out exhibition (which is when it was displayed)
> and he said DNA tests had proven it to be such. You can see a rather small
> photo of it (pre-digital camera days for me!) on my website here:
> http://www.thorngrove.net/athenaeum/eatsout4.htm
> <http://www.thorngrove.net/http://www.thorngrove.net/athenaeum/eatsout4.htm>;
>
> ciao
> Lucrezia


Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2009 14:58:38 -0500
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Plantains: Period for Old World?

<<< So. I know bananas are Old World (Period for Asia, Africa, and the
Middle/Near East). I was reading on Joe Pastry blog
(http://joepastry.web.aplus.net/?blog=1&;page=1&paged=2 ) that plantains
are often for a lot of the things that normally use  potatoes. I'm
wondering if potatoes, when first brought back from the  New World, were
used in ways that they would have normally used  plantains. >>>

Plantains are primarily a food of East Asia, the Asiatic islands, South
India, and East and Central Africa.  Given the problems with raising various
types of Musa and maintaining the fruit in transit, Middle Eastern use of
the plantain was probably limited to those areas with close proximity to
East Africa.  To my knowledge there are no European recipes for plantains in
period (and please don't confuse Musa and Plantago, they're two different
critters sharing the same common name).

Sweet potatoes (Ipomea batata) enter the scene first.  They are encountered
in the West Indies by Columbus.  They are introduced into the slave trade by
the Portuguese and are brought to Asia by them.  They were probably
introduced into the Phillipines, Japan and China by the Spanish in the
middle of the 16th Century.  Europeans knew sweet potatoes very well and ate
them. At the time, they were referred to as potatoes or Spanish potatoes by
the English.

The white potato (Solanum tuberosum) wasn't encountered until the late
1530's and while samples were given to the Vatican gardens in the 1540's, it
doesn't show up as a foodstuff in Europe until around 1570 and that as a
single line in a hospital record.  John Gerard recieves a sample in 1586 and
Carolus Clusius gets one in 1587.  While the white potato probably got a
toe-hold during the Thirty Years War, it's not until the 18th Century that
the white potato becomes a primary foodstuff in Europe.  The history is such
that it argues for late adoption of the potato elsewhere in the world.

<<< This is confusing as I try to word it, so let me try again. Here's a
supposition (which I'm not married to, and I'm just as happy to have  it
shot down as to have it triumphantly confirmed):

1. The Old World had recipes, techniques, or treatments that used
plantains as the starch. >>>

But not in Europe.

<<< 2. Potatoes were brought from the New World to the Old World. >>>

Around 1540 in Europe, but with little use before 1600 and no general
adoption until the 18th Century.  And there was probably no spread of the
potato to areas using plantains prior to 1700.

<<< 3. People weren't sure what to do with potatoes, so after a bit of
suspicious glaring, they started to use them in the dishes that had
originally used plantains. >>>

Supposition. The people who first encountered potatoes observed the natives
and knew how to prepare them.  They were brought back, but not immediately
adopted. By the time potatoes arrived in regions where plantains were
eaten, the people bring them knew how to grow them and prepare them.

<<< 4. Plantain use waned while potato use waxed. >>>

I'd like to see the evidence for this one.  Plantains are now grown in the
West Indies, where they weren't before.  Since plantains are still widely
used, it is much more likely that potatoes were added to the diet rather
than replacing plantains.

<<< 5. Recipes evolved as time passed, sometimes very slowly and sometimes
rapidly. >>>

But only provably, if you have a series of recorded recipes.

<<< 6. Now a dish that uses potatoes COULD conceivably be made with plantains
instead, and it MIGHT be Period. (Documentably? Probably  not, or someone
would have surely crowed about it and done it by now,  right? But it might
be "reasonably Period" or "Peri-oid," right?) >>>

Coulda, woulda, mighta, bunk.  The known facts and time frame run against
your supposition.  I would suggest that it would fall in the category,
"Fantasy Period."

<<< Shoot me down fast, please, before I get really excited about trying
something like this. Start with whether plantains are Old World, or
whether they're a species of the Musa genus that only developed after
bananas made it over to the New World, so I know whether this weird
thought may have any basis whatsoever in reality.

Judith >>>

Bananas and plantains derive from seeded ancestors and have been
domesticated for so long, they need human assistance to propogate.  Bananas
from the Canaries were transplanted to the New
World by Fra Tomas Berlinga in 1516.  Plantains arrive later, probably with
the rise of the sugar plantations in the late 17th Century and the expansion
of the African slave trade.

Now for the one conradictory piece of evidence; the Tudor banana.  A few
years ago, during the archeological excavation of a Tudor midden in London,
the diggers encountered a member of genus Musa in situ.  This would place it
in mid-16th Century London.  Further investigation revealed that it is a
plantain. Before you leap to any conclusions, let me point out that this
find is an anomaly.  It has no context of use or history, nor does it appear
to have any relationship to any surrounding artifacts.  There is a lot of
speculation about where it came from with at least one group thinking it is
from the West Indies and another Asia.  My personal opinion is that it was
harvested in the Canaries and was loaded on a fast ship for England (green
Musa can survive about two weeks of unrefrigerated transit).  There was a
market for exotic fruit (oranges, lemons, etc.) in London and one of the
researchers is looking into records for more information about exotic fruit
in London.

Prior to this find, the first known record of a Musa in London was in 1633.
One banana stalk transported live from the West Indies, studied, and the
fruit sold in a London grocery (owned by the man that edited and expanded
Gerard's Herball).

Bear


Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2009 15:17:50 -0500
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Plantains: Period for Old World?

<<< the John Gerard "The Herbal", p. 1514 to 1517, Chap. 136, "Of Adams Apple
tree or the West Indian Plantaine."
So it is old world in the late 1500s. >>>

Don't you mean, "so it is "New World" in the 1500's?" BTW, the "Plantaine"
referred to is a banana.

The Portuguese are believed to have introduced African bananas into the
Canary Islands in the mid-15th Century.

Fra Tomas Berlinga introduced the banana into Dominica in the West Indies in
1516. (See Oviedo, IIRC)

IIRC, bananas first appeared in the 1636 (I think I errored saying 1633
edition earlier)  edition of Gerard.  There is a specific date of April 10,
1633 for receipt of bananas from Bermuda in London in the entry.

<<< Wouldn't people go by taste then by starch? Does plantain taste like a
potato? I have understood the in "Germany" that the potatoe replaced the
turnip in many dishes.

De >>>

Sounds like a reasonable supposition.

Bear


Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2009 13:33:08 -0700
From: lilinah at earthlink.net
To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Plantains: Period for Old World?

Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2009 12:30:29 -0500
From: Judith Epstein <judith at ipstenu.org>

<<< So. I know bananas are Old World... I was reading...
that plantains are often [used] for a lot of the things that normally use
potatoes. I'm wondering if potatoes, when first brought back from the
New World, were used in ways that they would have normally used
plantains. >>>
SNIP
<<< 1. The Old World had recipes, techniques, or treatments that used
plantains as the starch.
2. Potatoes were brought from the New World to the Old World.
3. People weren't sure what to do with potatoes, so after a bit of
suspicious glaring, they started to use them in the dishes that had
originally used plantains.
4. Plantain use waned while potato use waxed.
5. Recipes evolved as time passed, sometimes very slowly and sometimes
rapidly.
6. Now a dish that uses potatoes COULD conceivably be made with
plantains instead, and it MIGHT be Period. (Documentably? Probably
not, or someone would have surely crowed about it and done it by now,
right? But it might be "reasonably Period" or "Peri-oid," right?) >>>

NO! Not in Near or Middle Eastern recipes.

There ARE period recipes for bananas in the Arabic language corpus.
They are sweets and appear to be made with "sweet" bananas, of which
there are many varieties, even in the US where i live. I can get tiny
red bananas, giant bananas called "pisang raja" in Indonesia, among
others. And since Cavendish are suffering diseases these days due
partly to the methods of commercial cultivation, other varieties are
showing up. I lived in Indonesia for several years and got to eat
many different kinds of bananas.

In the Arabic language recipe corpus, i don't remember seeing recipes
for plantains, although with well over 1,000 recipes we have, i could
have missed one. Still, based on my experience cooking period Near
and Middle Eastern food (which you lack), it seems highly unlikely
that potatoes replaced plantains in any of these recipes for specific
historical reasons.

1. Most New World ingredients didn't enter the Ottoman Empire - which
encompassed most of North Africa (including Algeria, Tunisia, and
Egypt), the Levant (now Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel-Palestine,
Iraq, and Anatolia) - or Persia and Central Asia until the ** 18th **
century.

2. By then the cuisines had already changed a GREAT deal, due to
wars, immigration of peoples from one culture into areas inhabited by
another, alterations in regional trade, etc. All this BEFORE your
precious potatoes and tomatoes showed up.

So potatoes, tomatoes, green (string) beans, and many many more did
not enter 9th, or 10th, or 13th, or 15th, or 16th c. cuisines of the
Near and Middle East.

They entered late 18th c. cuisines, which, to reiterate, had changed
enormously from those of 200 years earlier. I have read recipes
comparisons between those of SCA period and those bearing the same or
related names from the 17th, 18th, and 18th c., and the changes are
astonishing. Many of the dearly beloved Middle Eastern dishes
familiar to us are no older than the mid-to late 19th c. at the
earliest, so barely more than 100 years old.

If you want to know what potatoes and tomatoes replaced, you will
need to study 18th c. Middle Eastern cuisine.

They replaced nothing in 16th c. or earlier Near and Middle Eastern cuisines.
--
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita


Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2009 13:55:41 -0500
From: Judith Epstein <judith at ipstenu.org>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Plantains: Period for Old World?

On Sep 1, 2009, at 1:52 PM, otsisto wrote:
<<< Plantain are similar to bananas how would they have been exchanged with potatoes?

Wouldn't people go by taste then by starch? Does plantain taste like a
potato? I have understood the in "Germany" that the potatoe replaced  
the turnip in many dishes.

De >>>

That's the thing, plantains don't really have the sweetness that one  
associates with the more widely known Cavendish banana (what most US  
and Canadian folks tend to think of as the 'normal' banana). They've  
got a very faint banana taste, and yes, they do taste and feel a lot  
like potatoes.

Judith


Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2009 16:43:22 -0500
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Plantains and John Gerarde

<<< the John Gerard "The Herbal", p. 1514 to 1517, Chap. 136, "Of Adams
Apple tree or the West Indian Plantaine."
So it is old world in the late 1500s. >>>

<< Don't you mean, "so it is "New World" in the 1500's?" BTW, the
"Plantaine" referred to is a banana. >>

< There is no page 1514 to 1517 in the Gerarde Herball of 1597.

The index in that edition points to pages 337 to 347 for all sorts of
plantains but not the kind of plantain we are speaking of.

The quote above seems to refer to the 1636 edition. See:
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/33580 (page 1514 ...)

E. >

Thank you, Emilo.

I thought that bananas first appeared in Thomas Johnson's revision of
Gerard's Herball.  Johnson was a botanist and a merchant.  It was he who
received the banana stalk from Bermuda and later sold the fruit in his store
window and the entry on the "West Indian Plantaine" is probably all his.

I've got both a 1633 and a 1636 publication date for that edition, so
perhaps Johnna can help settle that diswcrepency.

Bear


Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2009 18:14:10 -0500
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] plantain, bananas, herbals

<<< I have eaten bananas but I guess I have never ever seen a plantain fruit
in my life ...

What is the modern scientific name of the plant we are looking after
and what might have been the names used in the early English, Italian,
Latin, German, Dutch ... what else? ... herbals?

E. >>>

Musa paradisiaca is the plantain or cooking banana.  Musa acuminata is the
eating banana AKA banana.  In earlier taxonomies, the banana may appear as
Musa sapientium.

Bear


Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2009 18:49:14 -0500
From: Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>
To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Plantains: Period for Old World?

Bear has given a good summary of the banana/plantains questions and  
then said:
> You might want to check out bananas in the Florilegium.

A more complete history of the banana and its current perils  
(the Cavendish could be commercially extinct within 30 years), can be  
found in this  book:

Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World
Koeppel, Dan
ISBN: 1-59463-038-0
Hudson Street Press
New York

From Publishers Weekly
The world's most humble fruit has caused inordinate damage to nature  
and man, and Popular Science journalist Koeppel (To See Every Bird on  
Earth) embarks on an intelligent, chock-a-block sifting through the  
havoc. Seedless, sexless bananas evolved from a wild inedible fruit  
first cultivated in Southeast Asia, and was probably the apple that  
got Adam and Eve in trouble in the Garden of Eden. From there the  
fruit traveled to Africa and across the Pacific, arriving on U.S.  
shores probably with the Europeans in the 15th century. However, the  
history of the banana turned sinister as American businessmen caught  
on to the marketability of this popular, highly perishable fruit then  
grown in Jamaica. Thanks to the building of the railroad through Costa Rica by the turn of the century, the United Fruit company flourished  
in Central America, its tentacles extending into all facets of  
government and industry, toppling banana republics and igniting labor  
wars. Meanwhile, the Gros Michel variety was annihilated by a fungus  
called Panama disease (Sigatoka), which today threatens the favored  
Cavendish, as Koeppel sounds the alarm, shuttling to genetics-
engineering labs from Honduras to Belgium. His sage, informative study poses the question fairly whether it's time for consumers to reverse a century of strife and exploitation epitomized by the purchase of one  
banana. (Jan.)
Copyright ? Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier  
Inc. All rights reserved.

After reading this book, well I'm almost through, I now understand the term "banana republic" and the justified opinion of many in South and  
Central America about the United States and its politics in favor of  
American company exploitation, including Reagan-era meddling.

Stefan
--------
THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
   Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas


Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2009 13:46:53 -0700
From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Plantains: Period for Old World?

I don't believe I have seen any period recipes using plantains.
Al-Warraq has a banana recipe that I'm tempted to try at our next
cooking workshop, and it's conceivable that he might use the same
word for  bananas and plantains--it's a dessert, bananas layered with
thin flatbread and sugar, drenched with rosewater, and baked
underneath a chicken (to get the drippings).

The Four Seasons of the House of Cerruti (14th c. Italian) has a
reference to bananas and a picture. It's clear that neither the
author of the text, which is itself based on a much earlier Arabic
text, nor the artist has ever seen one. The text does say that they
are known in Sicily, however (as well as Cyprus and the Holy Land).
--
David/Cariadoc
www.daviddfriedman.com


Date: Wed, 2 Sep 2009 03:18:09 -0500
From: "otsisto" <otsisto at socket.net>
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Plantain, herbals, John Gerarde

The John Gerard herbal has both plantago and musa.
Gerard does say that his first intro to plantain was in pickled form. Later he writes that it could be eaten with ginger or spices.

-----Original Message-----
Is the "plantain" mentioned in one or more of the various 16th century
herbals? They often mention culinary uses.

There is A catalogue of plants cultivated in the garden of John Gerard
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/30619

E.
-----
Plantain shows up in the herbals, but they are often talking about ragwort (Plantago) rather than bananas (Musa).

Bear


Date: Wed, 2 Sep 2009 07:00:46 -0500
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] plantain, bananas, herbals

<<< Because the plantain had to make it from Asia to Africa. There are two ways of doing that: going through the Near East, or going by sea. >>>

Bananas and plantains probably arrived in Africa via Madagascar and were
transferred inland into the Congo and from there to West Africa.

<<< The presence of bananas in the Qur'an argues for them going through the
Near East. >>>

Bananas and plantains in Africa predate the Qur'an by at least 1000 years.
It is believed they entered the African continent via water migraation
between SE Asia and Madagascar.  There is some speculation that the Arabs
encountered bananas through the slave trade in the Horn of Africa, however,
I would point out that Arabs have been trading with South India since at
least the 2nd Century BCE.  The Qur'an reference is very late in the history
of Arabs and bananas having been written in the 7th Century.

Bear


Date: Wed, 2 Sep 2009 08:47:46 -0500
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] plantain, bananas, herbals

<<< According to the Big Black Book of Doom, which I know is unreliable about
a lot of things but should provide at least a starting point for looking
for other sources of information, all species of the Musa genus are
indigenous to the tropical region of Southeast Asia. It's thought (again,
citing Wikipedia) that Portuguese Franciscan friars are responsible for
bringing the plantain to the Americas. FROM Africa.

So, if that is accurate information (and yes, I know that's a BIG IF),
that argues that plantains are Period for Southeast Asia, Africa, and the
cute little territory that lies between them (Near East). >>>

<< I don't follow that. The are period for Southeast Asia. They may be period
for Africa, if the friars brought them to the Americas from there before
1600. But how does that make them period for the Near East?

Incidentally, I'm not sure how (or if) people in this discussion are
distinguishing "near east" from "middle east." I think of them as roughly
synonymous.
--
David/Cariadoc >>

You're looking at Wikipedia error and a failure to more thoroughly research
the subject.

Bananas and plantains are believed to have entered Africa via sea migration
from SE Asia to Madagascar, then been spread through the Congo to West
Africa. The Portuguese are believed to have found bananas in West Africa
and transplanted them to the Canary Islands.  The Canary Islands were seized
by Spain in the 15th Century.  Banana shoots were transplanted to Santo
Domingo in 1516 by the Spanish Fra Tomas de Berlanga (I've also seen it
spelled Berlinga, but the Catholic Encyclopedia uses Berlanga).  Fra Tomas
was a Dominican and he is specifically credited with this in Oviedo's work
on the West Indies (1523 or 1526, IIRC).

The assumption that bananas came to Africa from the Near East is easily
dispelled by recent archeological work that has pushed back the existence of
bananas in Southern Africa from 3rd Century BCE to 8th Century BCE (if I
correctly understood the dating technique).  The locale reinforces the sea
migration theory.

Bear


Date: Sat, 5 Sep 2009 08:11:32 -0500
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Plantain, herbals,

----- Original Message -----
From: "otsisto" <otsisto at socket.net>

*I had assumed that when I said SCA period that it was specifying European,
and Mediterranean with the possible inclusion of middle and far East.
To my understanding plantain musa originated in Malaysia and India and moved
along with the banana and yam westward.
I found one research that says that hybridizing of the banana and plantain
has been going on since before the middle ages and that they had found that
the two original Musas from which all musa hybrids come from are Musa
balbisiana and Musa acuminata.
In their research they had found that quite a few horticulturalist and
herbals misnamed, wrong identification or lumped together the banana and
plantian.

********************

The earliest evidence of banana domestication is found in Papua New Guinea
and dates from 6000-5000 BCE.  The cultivated bananas (those requiring human
intervention) may have begun there or have been developed from bananas from
New Guinea being spread through Indonesia, Malaysia and into SE Asia.

All cultivated Musa (as opposed to all Musa hybrids) are hybrids between M
acuminata and M. balbisiana.  The original hybridization was natural and
took place well before the Middle Ages.  These hybrids are diploidal,
triploidal and tetraploidal, meaning they have two, three or four sets of
chromosomes. For example, you find a Musa taxonomic name followed by (ABB),
you are looking at a triploidal hybrid with one set of M. acuminata
chromosomes and two sets of M. balbisiana chromosomes.  The eating or
dessert bananas fall into the (AAA) group while the rest are generally
considered cooking bananas.  For our purposes, we can probably ignore the
tetraploidal hybrids as modern.

Prior to Linneaus (1737), there was no taxonomic distinction between bananas
and plantains, which is why herbal information on the cultivated bananas can
be very confusing.  Linnean taxonomy places the cultivated bananas as Musa
paradisiaca with the eating bananas being M. paradisiaca ssp. sapientium.
Modernly, eating bananas, being triploidal M. acuminata, are considered to
be M. acuminata although the Linnean taxonomy has also been retained.

Bear


Date: Wed, 2 Sep 2009 12:33:57 -0700
From: lilinah at earthlink.net
To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] plantain, bananas, herbals

Ranvaig wrote:
<<< A savory dish with a banana type fruit sounds more like plantain. Is
there evidence that sweet bananas are meant? This is out of my area
of expertise, but are early bananas as sweet as current ones? >>>

If you are referring to the dish Cariadoc mentioned of cooking a
chicken so its juices drip onto a tray of bananas and ruqaq (very
thin flatbread), i addressed this is a reply, mentioning other
recipes for this dish, Judhaba.

A cooking tray is lined with flatbread and topped with something
sweet, often something toothachingly sweet: fanid = taffy made of
sugar, sometimes with nuts; crushed nuts and sugar; lauzinaj which i
didn't describe but have discussed on this list - it is some sort of
wrapper described in poetry of its day as gossamer as a grasshopper's
wing filled with crushed nuts and sugar. Sometimes the sweets are
topped with another layer of ruqaq, but not necessarily.

While the recipes may not discuss how the dish is eaten, the humorous
stories of its day that i mentioned do describe how the roasted
chicken is eaten at the same time with the dripping-enriched bread
and taffy or other very sugary sweet. One recipe calls for bananas,
the bananas are coated with batter and fried until crisp and golden.
From experience, i know this brings out the sweetness of the bananas.

So comparing other recipes for Judhaba and the cooking method for the
banana version, i am quite convinced that sweet bananas were used.
--
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita


Date: Wed, 2 Sep 2009 15:51:30 -0700
From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] plantain, bananas, herbals

<<< A cooking tray is lined with flatbread and topped with something
sweet, often something toothachingly sweet: fanid = taffy made of
sugar, sometimes with nuts; crushed nuts and sugar; lauzinaj which i
didn't describe but have discussed on this list - it is some sort of
wrapper described in poetry of its day as gossamer as a
grasshopper's wing filled with crushed nuts and sugar. Sometimes the
sweets are topped with another layer of ruqaq, but not necessarily. >>>

Note that lauzinaj can also mean just the crushed nuts and sugar,
without the wrapper, which might make more sense here.

Speaking of which, I did some experimenting on the wrapper--cooked
from a batter as thin as milk, on a pan that is "greased" with
beeswax--a while ago. I can get something that fits the grasshopper's
wing description, but it's brittle, so won't wrap things. I can get
something flexible, but it's basically a thin crepe.

I've been wondering if perhaps the solution is to make the brittle
version, damp it down to make it flexible, wrap the filling in it,
then let it try. But I haven't tried that yet.
--
David/Cariadoc
www.daviddfriedman.com


Date: Thu, 27 May 2010 15:31:30 -0700 (PDT)
From: emilio szabo <emilio_szabo at yahoo.it>
To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
Subject: [Sca-cooks] banana

While surfing for something completely different, I stumbled upon this article:
http://web.fu-berlin.de/phin/phin1/p1t1.htm

For those of you with a basic command of German and Romance languages, there _might_ be something to add to the history of bananas and its near relatives.

E.

From: "emma at huskers.unl.edu" <emma at HUSKERS.UNL.EDU>
Date: July 14, 2010 4:12:12 PM CDT
To: CALONTIR at listserv.unl.edu
Subject: [CALONTIR] bananas

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/370550.stm
Older than I thought (Mid 15th C, not early 16th) and in a trash heap, not a toilet.

And the article suggests that they may actually have been common.

Jane


Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2010 22:09:26 -0500
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Another, older, banana found in London

This is a find that has been previously discussed on the list (originally in
2001), rather than a new discovery. The 1999 date is important because it
is close to the time of the actual dig. Several years after the discovery,
the banana was genetically determined to be a plantain (if memory serves).
The article pre-dates the lab work, which means that the author only had
access to the tentative identification and further research negated the
probability of it being a sweet banana.

The poster on the Calontir list makes the error of assuming the plantain was
deposited in the mid-15th Century. The site is a midden which, IIRC, was a
fish market with live tanks, that was abandoned in the 15th Century and
became a trash dump. The plantain was located at a level of the midden
placing it in the early to middle 16th Century and it was determined not to
be a more modern intrusive artifact. Hmmm, "fish ponds in Southwark" is the
article description of the site.

One of the people on the project started a paper on exotic fruit being
marketed during the Tudor dynasty, but I haven't heard anything more about
it.

Bear

-----Original Message-----
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/370550.stm
Older than I thought (Mid 15th C, not early 16th) and in a trash heap,
not a toilet.

And the article suggests that they may actually have been common.

Jane


Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2010 16:00:59 -0500
From: Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Another, older, banana found in London

Thank you Bear for the update on the genetic testing of this "banana". I hadn't heard of it testing out to be a plantain.

But even if it is a plantain, I'm still wondering how common it was in England or the continent. And if it was, what happened? Plantains aren't very common in the Europe or the US now. Did the Cavendish banana drive off all the competitors? Afterall, you can cook bananas or eat them raw, which you can't do with a plantain. And this particular banana is sweeter.

In case folks aren't aware of it, almost all commercial bananas are identical, genetic clones of the same asexual plant. Mankind has so modified the plant that it cannot reproduce by seeds. Which is why commercial banana crops are in danger of being wiped out whenever a pest manages to adapt to the environment of the plant.

Very interesting book:

Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World
Koeppel, Dan
ISBN: 1-59463-038-0
304 pages, 2008

"From Publishers Weekly
The world's most humble fruit has caused inordinate damage to nature and man, and Popular Science journalist Koeppel (To See Every Bird on Earth) embarks on an intelligent, chock-a-block sifting through the havoc. Seedless, sexless bananas evolved from a wild inedible fruit first cultivated in Southeast Asia, and was probably the apple that got Adam and Eve in trouble in the Garden of Eden. From there the fruit traveled to Africa and across the Pacific, arriving on U.S. shores probably with the Europeans in the 15th century. However, the history of the banana turned sinister as American businessmen caught on to the marketability of this popular, highly perishable fruit then grown in Jamaica. Thanks to the building of the railroad through Costa Rica by the turn of the century, the United Fruit company flourished in Central America, its tentacles extending into all facets of government and industry, toppling banana republics and igniting labor wars. Meanwhile, the Gros Michel variety was annihilated by a fungus called Panama disease (Sigatoka), which today threatens the favored Cavendish, as Koeppel sounds the alarm, shuttling to genetics-engineering labs from Honduras to Belgium. His sage, informative study poses the question fairly whether it's time for consumers to reverse a century of strife and exploitation epitomized by the purchase of one banana. (Jan.)
Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review
"Clear, engaging&#x85;admirable&#x85;part historical narrative and part pop-science adventure."
-San Francisco Chronicle --This text refers to the Paperback edition."

Stefan
--------
THLord Stefan li Rous Barony of Bryn Gwlad Kingdom of Ansteorra
Mark S. Harris Austin, Texas


Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2010 22:20:01 -0500
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Another, older, banana found in London

<<< Thank you Bear for the update on the genetic testing of this "banana". I
hadn't heard of it testing out to be a plantain. >>>

Take this with a grain of salt. It was from a little news squibb I can
no longer locate. It might be interesting to see if the Museum of London
has released a paper(s) on the finds in the Southwark dig.

<<< But even if it is a plantain, I'm still wondering how common it was in
England or the continent. And if it was, what happened? Plantains aren't
very common in the Europe or the US now. Did the Cavendish banana drive off
all the competitors? Afterall, you can cook bananas or eat them raw, which
you can't do with a plantain. And this particular banana is sweeter. >>>

Not very common. About the closest source for bananas and plantains is
the Canary Islands. With fair winds, a fast ship can make the passage from
the Canaries to London in 10 to 12 days (or so I have been lead to believe).
Without refrigeration, freshly cut bananas last about 14 days, which
suggests that probably were a small part of any cargo and would only be
carried on the fastest ships. This in turn suggests that bananas were
likely uncommon in most of Europe. When the banana trade took off in the
19th Century, the most common banana was the Gros Michel (hope I didn't
butcher the spelling). This was replaced by the Cavendish banana, IIRC,
because the Cavendish travels and stores better.

<<< In case folks aren't aware of it, almost all commercial bananas are
identical, genetic clones of the same asexual plant. Mankind has so modified
the plant that it cannot reproduce by seeds. Which is why commercial banana
crops are in danger of being wiped out whenever a pest manages to adapt to
the environment of the plant.

Stefan >>>

The sweet banana is one of the oldest hybrids in the world, extending
back over 5,000 years. We haven't any idea when or where the hybridization,
but the evidence suggests that man's cultivation of the banana began before
the developement of continuous agriculture.

Bear


Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2010 11:59:34 -0700
From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: [Sca-cooks] Banana Recipe

With all the posts on bananas, I didn't notice
any period recipes for them, perhaps because most
of the posters are from barbarian lands on the
fringes of the civilized world, where such things
are more rumor than ingredient. My memory is that
the illustration in the _Four Seasons of the
House of Cerruti_ suggests that the artist had
never seen one.
---

A recipe for Judhaba of bananas by Ibn al Mahdi
Al-Warraq p. 375

Peel the bananas and set them aside. Spread a
ruqaqa (thin round of bread) in the pan and
spread a layer of bananas over it. Sprinkle the
banana layer with pure sugar, and spread anotehr
ruqaqa all over it. Repeat the layering of
banana, sugar, and ruqaqa until the pan is full.
Pour enough rose water to drench the layered
ingredients, [put the pan in a hot tannur,]
suspend a fine chicken over it, [and let it
roast] God willing.

Bananas: 40 ounces. Ruqaqa: 10 oz iranian
thin bread Sugar: _ c _ water 2T rose
water

Oil the bottom of the pan. Make four layers of
sliced (or mashed) bananas sprinkled with sugar,
alternating with thin bread, pour in rose water
on top. Arrange with the chicken on a wooden spit
above the layers so the drippings fall on them.
Cook for about 1-2 hours at 325?.
--
David/Cariadoc
www.daviddfriedman.com


Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2010 17:28:59 -0700
From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Banana Recipe

We have done it. It is good. I did wonder,
looking over the original, if I wasn't using too
little rosewater to fit the description.

<<< Have you tried this recipe? With so much
rosewater, is the dish overly flowery or does
the long cooking time cook off most of the rose
flavor?

Grace >>>
--
David Friedman
www.daviddfriedman.com
daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/


Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2010 21:30:38 -0700
From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Banana Recipe

> Are we talking eating bananas or plantains?

The translation says bananas and that's how we
did it--whether the translation is correct I do
not know.


Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 06:15:12 -0400
From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Banana Recipe

On Jul 20, 2010, at 5:09 AM, yaini0625 at yahoo.com wrote:
<<< Have you discussed the origins of bananas? I was under the
impression that bananas or platains were New World or Malaysian in
origins.
Aelina >>>

http://www.enotes.com/food-encyclopedia/banana-plantain
Encyclopedia of Food & Culture > Banana and Plantain

"Many wild banana diploids and triploids are still abundant throughout
southeastern Asia, with a primary area of origin in Malaysia and Papua
New Guinea, while most of the plantains originated in India and the
Philippines. In any event, both spread quickly to other tropical and
subtropical regions of the world. The Fe'i bananas evolved throughout
the Pacific islands from Indonesia to the Marquesas and still remain
closely confined to the area.

The main recognized milestones of these movements are:

c. 500 C.E. ?
Introduction to Africa from Indonesia (via Madagascar)
c. 1000 C.E. ?
Distribution throughout Polynesia and introduction to Mediterranean
areas during Muslim expansion
1300s?1400s ?
Introduction to the Canary Islands from West Africa
1516 ?
First recorded introduction to the New World (Santo Domingo) from the
Canary Islands"

Johnnae


Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 07:00:21 -0500
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>
To: <yaini0625 at yahoo.com>, "Cooks within the SCA"
<sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Banana Recipe

<<< Have you discussed the origins of bananas? I was under the impression that
bananas or platains were New World or Malaysian in origins.
Aelina >>>

Bananas are Old World (probabaly SE Asian) in origin. Pliny notes that they
were first encountered by Alexander's armies in India in 325 BCE, where they
were part of the Indian diet. Oviedo notes that bananas were transplanted
from the Canaries to the New World by Fra Tomas de Berlanga in 1517.

Bear


Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 07:24:10 -0500
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Banana Recipe

<<< c. 500 C.E. ?
Introduction to Africa from Indonesia (via Madagascar)
c. 1000 C.E. ?
Distribution throughout Polynesia and introduction to Mediterranean
areas during Muslim expansion
1300s?1400s ?
Introduction to the Canary Islands from West Africa
1516 ?
First recorded introduction to the New World (Santo Domingo) from the
Canary Islands"

Johnnae >>>

They can push that 500 CE date back to about 800 BCE and probably further.
Archeological excavation has demonstrated that banana cultivation in Africa
has been around a lot longer than previously thought.

The introduction of bananas into the Canary Islands is probably between
1425, when the Portuguese claimed the islands and 1479, when the Spanish
landed to take the islands from Portugal.

1516. For some reason I keep remembering the date as 1517, although 1516
is correct.

Bear


Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 08:35:53 -0400
From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Banana Recipe

This is from Encyclopedia of Food & Culture which is now online. I have no idea
when the entry was written. They may have been going with the earliest accepted
date for the introduction. The articles are researched and footnoted. Well you can call it up and see for yourself.

It's very nice anyway to have the Encyclopedia of Food & Culture
online as it was a very expensive set.

Johnna

On Jul 20, 2010, at 8:24 AM, Terry Decker wrote:
<< c. 500 C.E. ?
Introduction to Africa from Indonesia (via Madagascar)
Johnnae >>

<<< They can push that 500 CE date back to about 800 BCE and probably
further. Archeological excavation has demonstrated that banana
cultivation in Africa has been around a lot longer than previously
thought. >>>


Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 09:08:16 -0700
From: lilinah at earthlink.net
To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Banana Recipe

Angharad wrote, re Judhaba of bananas by Ibn al Mahdi:
<<< Hmmm, I don't like bananas but I can still see that would be kind of tasty.
How necessary is the chicken? I mean could you get satisfactory results by
basting by warm oil or butter? >>>

The chicken hanging as it roasts over the platter of something sweet,
into which the chicken juices drip, is essential to any Judhaba.
Without it, it isn't really judhaba. There are quite a few other
judhaba recipes, all involving a chicken hanging roasting over a tray
of something sweet, Lauzinaj (crushed and sweetened almonds wrapped
in pastry) for example.

Then the chicken and the sweet are eaten together.

Charles Perry has an amusing essay about this in Medieval Arabic Cookery.
--
Urtatim [that's err-tah-TEEM]
the persona formerly known as Anahita


Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 09:23:53 -0700
From: lilinah at earthlink.net
To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Banana Recipe

Stefan wrote:
<<< Master Cariadoc related a banana recipe and his redaction:
A recipe for Judhaba of bananas by Ibn al Mahdi
Al-Warraq p. 375

I'm assuming that the spit is in front of the fire with the layered
bananas and bread underneath this. So it gets the drippings and some
of the general heat from the fire, but not being over coals or a
fire doesn't really bake. Or does it get browned from being this
close to the fire? Or am I wrong about it not being over coals? In
the latter case, it would seem to cook much faster than the chicken
and risk being burned.

Hmmm. But the original *is* is an oven (tannur), right? So maybe it
is meant to get 'baked' more than it would be sitting in front of
the fire. >>>

It isn't spit roasted. It is cooked in an oven, with the chicken
suspended over the tray of sweet stuff. It is, in its own odd way,
sort of the medieval Arabic world equivalent to the much later
English roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Cariadoc did what he did
because few of us have tannurs in our homes. One can get tannurs for
the home now, in the US and UK, but one was quite a bit more
expensive than i could afford.

<<< Also, I'm not familiar with this cookbook, although we've probably
discussed it here before. Where is it from and when? >>>

Abu Muhammad al-Muzaffar ibn Nasr ibn Sayyar al-Warraq of Baghdad
compiled a cookbook, al-Kitab al-Tabikh, Book of Dishes, in the 10th
century, including recipes from the 9th and 10th centuries, as well
as info on poems on food, etiquette, humors, table talk, etc.

It was published in December 2007 by Brill, a scholarly publisher in
the Netherlands, as translated and with commentary and glossaries by
Nawal Nasrullah as Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens: Ibn Sayyar
al-Warraq's Tenth-century Baghdadi Cookbook (in the series: Islamic
History and Civilization).

I have used recipes from it, and it has been discussed on this list a
number of times, before and after its publication.

Some time ago, Charles Perry translated a few of its recipes, which
Cariadoc included in... the Miscellany, i think... or else in
Cariadoc's most useful collection of cookbooks.

<<< It sounds interesting. I don't know where I could find this rugaga
though. I wonder if flour tortillas or perhaps pits bread might make
a reasonable substitute. >>>

Lavosh is more appropriate. I have sometimes used white flour
tortillas, but they are a bit different from ruqaq. Pita would be
wrong wrong wrong.
--
Urtatim [that's err-tah-TEEM]
the persona formerly known as Anahita


Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 09:50:30 -0700
From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Banana Recipe

Master Cariadoc related a banana recipe and his redaction:
<<< A recipe for Judhaba of bananas by Ibn al Mahdi
Al-Warraq p. 375 >>>

Unfortunately, it looks like the digestifier didn't like some of the
fractions.

<<< Bananas: 40 ounces. Ruqaqa: 10 oz iranian
thin bread Sugar: _ c _ water 2T rose
water >>>

Can you tell us again how much sugar and water you used?
==============

Half a cup of each. But going back to the recipe and notes, I think
the water is a mistake--a confusion from two different tries. The
first time it was done at a cooking workshop, I think the person who
did it diluted the rose water with water in order to drench without
too much flavor, which doesn't fit the original instructions. The
second time we used more rose water and no water. So the recipe
shouldn't have water in it at all, just at least 2T of rose water.

<<< I'm assuming that the spit is in front of the fire with the layered
bananas and bread underneath this. So it gets the drippings and some
of the general heat from the fire, but not being over coals or a
fire doesn't really bake. Or does it get browned from being this
close to the fire? Or am I wrong about it not being over coals? In
the latter case, it would seem to cook much faster than the chicken
and risk being burned. >>>

We did it in the oven, which I believe is how they did it.

<<< Hmmm. But the original *is* is an oven (tannur), right? So maybe it
is meant to get 'baked' more than it would be sitting in front of
the fire.

Also, I'm not familiar with this cookbook, although we've probably
discussed it here before. Where is it from and when? >>>

Tenth century middle-eastern. Big. The translation came out a few years ago.

<<< It sounds interesting. I don't know where I could find this rugaga
though. I wonder if flour tortillas or perhaps pits bread might make
a reasonable substitute. >>>

We used the very thin bread you can get at Iranian grocery stores--I
don't remember its name, but it seemed like the nearest equivalent we
could think of. Much thinner than pita.
--
David/Cariadoc
www.daviddfriedman.com


Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 09:53:29 -0700
From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Banana Recipe

<<< Hmmm, I don't like bananas but I can still see that would be kind of tasty.
How necessary is the chicken? I mean could you get satisfactory results by
basting by warm oil or butter?
Angharad >>>

Our second try we used chicken fat and chicken broth instead of the
chicken. My memory is that it wasn't bad, but probably not as good as
actually roasting a chicken over it.
--
David/Cariadoc
www.daviddfriedman.com


Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 09:56:25 -0700
From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Banana Recipe

<<< Then the chicken and the sweet are eaten together.

Charles Perry has an amusing essay about this in Medieval Arabic Cookery.
--
Urtatim [that's err-tah-TEEM]
the persona formerly known as Anahita >>>

When I first encountered a judhaba recipe, a very long time ago, my
ward Miriam proposed that it was a chicken timer--in the absence of
clocks, you knew when the dish was done by when the chicken was done.
--
David/Cariadoc
www.daviddfriedman.com


Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 16:32:06 -0700
From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Arabic cookery re: chicken dripping onto
other foods...

<<< Having a chicken roasting above other foods, as
mentioned in the banana dish really makes this
item look perfect. Of course it is designed to
keep the chicken out of its drippings and crisp all
around as well as to roast vegetables under, but
it would be ideal for the Arabic sweets recipes aswell.

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/all-clad-ultimate-stainless-steel-chicken-roaster/

Yes, it is a bit pricey, but I'm now tempted to get one. >>>

We got the same effect by using a large oval Le Creuset pan, sticking
a skewer through the chicken, and resting the ends of the skewer on
the edge of the pan at its ends. Banana etc. in the pan.
--
David/Cariadoc
www.daviddfriedman.com


Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2010 10:03:41 -0700
From: lilinah at earthlink.net
To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Author's Name (was: Banana Recipe)

Guillaume wrote:
<<< In the discussion concerning the banana recipe, the name of the author
was given as Ibn al Mahdi Al-Warraq. However, in the follow-up it was
given as Abu Muhammad al-Muzaffar ibn Nasr ibn Sayyar al-Warraq. I am
familiar with the latter and have not found a reference to the former
online. I am a little confused on this point. Are these the same
person, different people, or the result of a typo? Was the original
citation from al-Kitab al-Tabikh (The Book of Dishes)?

Will the real al-Warraq please stand up? >>>

Actually, Cariadoc wrote:
<<< A recipe for Judhaba of bananas by Ibn al Mahdi
Al-Warraq p. 375 >>>

This means the original recipe was from ibn al-Mahdi.

His recipe was included in the vast compendium collected by ibn
Sayyar al-Warraq.

In this book many of the recipes are attributed (although this
doesn't mean the attributions are always correct...). Nasrallah has a
section with information about nearly everyone mentioned by al-Warraq.

The period from which this book comes was something of a golden age
for science, literature, philosophy, art, music, ... and gourmet
cuisine (the 'Abbasids went downhill not too long after, although
they remained nominally the caliphs). There were gatherings of
wealthy and important men (women were generally excluded, as the
Greeks did) who cooked (or had cooked for them) wonderful dishes,
during which they spent much time not only eating but talking about
food, composing poems (many included in al-Warraq's compendium),
discussing philosophy, etc.

Among these men was the son of a Caliph, Ibrahim ibn al-Mahdi, who
was an 'Abbasid prince, famed as a gourmet, poet, and singer, after
whom dishes were named, some apparently actually from him, others to
share in the glow of his name, such as Ibrahimiyya. He was a brother
of the famed Caliph Harun al-Rashid (r. 786-809) and both are
mentioned in stories in The Thousand Nights and a Night (which are
fictional).
--
Urtatim [that's err-tah-TEEM]
the persona formerly known as Anahita


Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2010 07:15:30 -0400
From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: [Sca-cooks] bananas

Ok for your files and for curiosity sake, there are 23 references to  
banana or bananas in EEBO-TCP.

Here are some of the more interesting selections:

from 1597

Chap. 1. Of the situation of the Royall Cittie of the Kingdome of  
Congo.

Other fruites there are, which they call Banana and we verily thinke  
to be the Muses of Aegypt and Soria, sauing that in those countreyes  
they growe to be as bigge as trees, but here they cut them yearely, to  
the end they may beare the better, The fruit is very sweet in smell,  
and of good nourishment. page 111

Lopes, Duarte.

A report of the kingdome of Congo, a region of Africa. And of the  
countries that border rounde about the same... Drawen out of the  
writinges and discourses of Odoardo Lopez a Portingall, by Philippo  
Pigafetta. Translated out of Italian by Abraham Hartwell. 1597.

---

from 1633

CHAP. 136. Of Adams Apple tree, or the West-Indian Plantaine.

Musae fructus exactior Icon. An exacter figure of the Plantaine fruit.

The Place.

This admirable tree groweth in Egypt, Cyprus, and Syria, neere vnto a  
chiefe city there called Alep, which we call Aleppo, and also by  
Tripolis, not far from thence: it groweth also in Cana|ra, Decan,  
Guzarate, and Bengala, places of the East Indies.

The Time.

From the root of this tree shooteth forth yong springs or shoots,  
which the people take vp and plant for the increase in the Spring of  
the yeare. The leaues wither away in September, as is aboue said.

The Names.

It is called Musa by such as trauell to Aleppo: by the Arabians, Musa  
Maum: in Syria, Mose: The Grecians and Christians which inhabit Syria,  
and the Iewes also, suppose it to be that tree of whose fruit Adam did  
taste; which others thinke to be a ridiculous fable: of Pliny, Opuntia.

It is called in the East Indies (as at Malauar where it also groweth)  
Palan: in Malayo, Pican: and in that part of Africa which we call  
Ginny, Bananas: in English, Adams Apple tree.

Gerard, John, 1545-1612., Johnson, Thomas, d. 1644. The herball or  
Generall historie of plantes. Gathered by Iohn Gerarde of London  
Master in Chirurgerie very much enlarged and amended by Thomas Iohnson  
citizen and apothecarye of London. 1633

---

OED lists this as the earliest for the fruit.

1563 Garcia de Orta Simples e Drogues 93 b, Tambem ha estes figos em  
Guin?, chamam lhe bananas;

----

Plantain turns up much earlier in the OED as it was the name of some  
herbs (greater plantain with broad flat leaves) and a form known as  
long plantain. There was also a bastard plantain.
Here are some 16th century mentions. (There are some dating back  
much earlier.)

1516 Grete Herbal cccxliv, Plantayne or weybrede..is an herbe that ye  
greke call arnoglosse. It is called also..grete plantayne, and groweth  
in moyst places & playne feldes;

ribwort p., P. lanceolata.

1516 Grete Herbal cccxlv, Delanceolata... Longe plantayne is good  
agaynst fystales, yf the iuce be put in them dyuers dayes, it healeth  
and sleeth them.

1592 Shaks. Rom. & Jul; i. ii.
52

Romeo. Your Plantan leafe is excellent for that.

Ben. For what I pray thee?

Romeo. For your broken shin.

--There's also a meaning associated with plane trees.

Lastly is the definition "tree-like tropical herbaceous plant (Musa  
paradisiaca) closely allied to the Banana (M. sapientum)" and the  
fruit of this plant.

1555 Eden Decades ii. 197 (tr. of Italian version, 1534, of Oviedo's  
Spanish, 1526) There are also certeine plantes which the christians  
caul Platani.

1555 Eden Decades 197 This cluster owght to bee taken from the  
plant, when any one of the Platans begynne to appere yelowe.

1589 Parke tr. Mendoza's Hist. China (Hakl. Soc.) II. 330 Orange  
trees, siders, limas, plantanos, and palmas.

1604 E. G[rimstone] D'Acosta's Hist. Indies iv. (Hakl. Soc.) I. 241  
The first that shall be needefulle to treate of is the Plantain, or  
Plantano, as the vulgar call it... The reason why the Spaniards call  
it platano (for the Indians had no such name) was, as in other trees,  
for that they have found some resemblance of the one with the other,  
even as they called some fruites prunes, pines, and cucumbers, being  
far different from those which are called by those names in Castille.

1634 Sir T. Herbert Trav. 183 Bananas or Plantanes.

Johnnae


Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2010 17:13:52 -0700
From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at jeffnet.org>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Bananas

Just wanted to say, when I lived in Hawaii, there was a banana tree in
our yard, next to the driveway. You HAVE TO pick the bananas while they
are unripe, and then let them ripen. If you let them ripen on the tree,
they split, and then they stink and attract all manner of flying and
crawling things. And they're heavy and will pull the tree over into the
driveway. I was still learning to drive, and hit the banana tree more
than once backing out. Ick.

Liutgard


Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2010 09:03:59 -0400
From: Sam Wallace <guillaumedep at gmail.com>
To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Bananas

"Bananas are cut just before ripening and shipped refrigerated. Once
they come out of refrigeration you have roughly two weeks to sell
them. That is why bananas only became a widespread commodity in the
late 19th Century."

Modern methods for controlling the ripening of fruits, including
bananas, revolve around control of ethylene. Ethylene control is used
in conjunction with humidity and temperature control to preserve fresh
fruit and vegetables. Refrigeration alone will not do as good a job,
especially in dealing with fungus and mold. I wonder what early
records there are of ice being used in the transport of fruit. Also, I
would be interested in finding early attempts at preserving bananas
(canning or drying) or making banana extract so that the fruit might
be present in spirit even if absent in the flesh.

"The bananas that were sold in London in 1633 were a botanical sample
shipped live as a small plant from the West Indies, allowed to mature,
and harvested when ripe. Not a good commercial strategy."

Actually, this can be a great commercial strategy. If you have the
sole source of a novelty product that has good potential demand, you
can charge quite a bit for it. In fact, this is the current situation
in Alaska for a lot of their local fruit and vegetable production. One
of our family friends has acres under glass.

Guillaume


Date: Sun, 1 Aug 2010 07:11:01 -0700 (PDT)
From: Terry Decker <t.d.decker at att.net>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Bananas

Actually, this can be a great commercial strategy. If you have the
sole source of a novelty product that has good potential demand, you
can charge quite a bit for it. In fact, this is the current situation
in Alaska for a lot of their local fruit and vegetable production. One
of our family friends has acres under glass.

Guillaume
_______________________

I was referring to the problems of transportation and care in the Age of Sail.
However, your customers need to know what you are selling and be willing to pay
for it. The bananas in London in 1633 were definitely a curiosity, but whether
they were a commercial success is another matter.

When I was in Alaska most of our fruits and vegetables came in by Skyfreighter.
Locally grown from the Matanuska Valley was better, but demand was too high and
the growing season too short. Even with acres of greenhouses, I suspect that
most of the tropical fruits come in by air.

Bear


Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2011 15:54:01 -0600
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] My upcoming feast...

<<< Judhaba of Bananas (Arabic 10th c.) >>>

This can wait until after the feast, but is this really bananas, or are
these plantains?

Stefan
---------

It's really bananas, if it's the recipe of which I am thinking. Although
you could replace the bananas with plantains with little effect on the dish.

You take a round of bread, cover it with bananas, cover the bananas with
sugar and repeat until you fill the pan. Drench the contents with
rosewater. Place it in an oven with a chicken suspended above it. Roast.

The judhaban is a large, low-sided pan used to cook various dishes under
roasting meat. The dishes are named for the pan.

Bear


Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2011 07:44:40 -0500
From: Elaine Koogler <kiridono at gmail.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] My upcoming feast...

That's the one. And it was a great success. If bananas weren't already so
loaded with sugar I'd make that as a dessert for here at home. I did cheat
a bit and used puff pastry rather than "bread."

Kiri

On Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 4:54 PM, Terry Decker <t.d.decker at att.net> wrote:
<<< It's really bananas, if it's the recipe of which I am thinking. Although
you could replace the bananas with plantains with little effect on the dish.

You take a round of bread, cover it with bananas, cover the bananas with
sugar and repeat until you fill the pan. Drench the contents with
rosewater. Place it in an oven with a chicken suspended above it. Roast.

The judhaban is a large, low-sided pan used to cook various dishes under
roasting meat. The dishes are named for the pan.

Bear >>>


Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2011 13:00:17 -0800
From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] My upcoming feast...

I used lavash, as the thin bread that seemed
closest to what the recipe called for. Worked
pretty well. The one problem I had was that
drenching with rose water resulted in a stronger
flavor than most people liked.

Of course, I don't know how strong al-Warraq's rose water would have been.

<<< That's the one. And it was a great success. If bananas weren't already so
loaded with sugar I'd make that as a dessert for here at home. I did cheat
a bit and used puff pastry rather than "bread."

Kiri >>>

<the end>




Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org