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pepper-spices-msg - 8/18/17


Medieval peppers. The spice, not the New World pepper plant.


NOTE: See also the files: spices-msg, spice-grndng-msg, spice-mixes-msg, spice-storage-msg, vanilla-msg, nutmeg-mace-msg, merch-spices-msg, gums-resins-msg, G-of-Paradse-msg, cinnamon-msg, peppers-msg.





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: gfrose  at cotton.vislab.olemiss.edu (Terry Nutter)

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 08:52:23 -0500

Subject: Re:  SC - Re: Spice Use and Food Poisoning, etc.


Hi, Katerine here.  Allison responds to Phillipa:


>As for the current heavy use of pepper in foods, I think that followed

>the popularity of Mexican--or American-version Mexican--foods.  Tests

>have been done by restaurant chains and food companies, and they have

>found that more people ate more food if it were heavily spiced.  


Pepper was the cheapest medieval spice, and the one most heavily documented

as used widely not only in upper class cookery but in every class right

down to peasants.  The current use is a revival (not particularly of

medieval practices; relative to a significant drop here in the middle of

this century).  Medievals used a number of pepper-like spices, including

cubeb and grains of paradise (I'm not speaking botannically, but in

terms of general flavor class), both of which I've fed to people with

no interest whatsoever in historical cuisine, to rave reviews.  The

bottom line, I think, is that people everywhere use spices because they

*taste good*.  That so many spices show up across so wide a swath of

culinary traditions suggests that this is simply a human tendency.  How

much spices we eat results, among other things, from the food we're

used to.  Whether people in general like the flavor of any spices at all

seems more strongly related to the interaction between human taste and

smell and the spices themselves.


- -- Katerine/Terry



From: "Philip W. Troy" <troy  at asan.com>

Date: Sat, 03 May 1997 01:07:03 -0400

Subject: Re: SC - Long pepper



> What, exactly, is long pepper?  I am allergic to all peppers so haven't

> investigated this, but I ought to know about it as it appears in so many

> recipes, and I could have a fellow cook add it after I'd sampled the

> pepperless version.


> Allison


Long pepper is piper longum, as opposed to piper negrum, or black

pepper. It is a close realtive of black pepper, but the little berries

grow in a cluster similar to a tiny oblong bunch of grapes or an ear of

grain. Flavor is apparently similar but not identical to black pepper.


I have not used it myself, and have not run across any in 15 years or so

of looking, on and off. Some claim it is extinct, while others claim to

know where it can be obtained by mail order. All I know is that I've

never seen any long pepper, and don't think I've net anyone else who has

seen it themselves. Plenty of "friend of a friend" stuff, though, so I

suppose it could be a sort of urban legend.


My apologies to anyone who may have seen or used the stuff: I am not

accusing anyone of deceit, just saying I've never seen it.





From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy  at asan.com>

Date: Wed, 07 May 1997 11:51:52 -0400

Subject: SC - Re: Long Pepper (again!)




I've just made a rather silly error, and thought I'd point it out before

anyone attempts to act upon this whole issue...


The most competent herbal encyclopedia I know shows quite clear

illustrations of both piper negrum and piper longum. The Negrum variety,

or black pepper, also grows in a long, fairly tight cluster, which looks

rather like an elongated blackberry. I suspect the individual berries

are separated to facilitate even fermentation (whence comes the

blackness) and drying.


Piper longum is apparently much smaller than black pepper (1 inch or so

vs. 3 or 4 inches long) and is more tightly packed in the cluster. So,

the cross-hatching effect drawn by some artists may have some basis in

reality; it looks almost like the bud from which a pine-cone grows.


I therefore suspect it's possible Ysabeau has seen green peppercorns.


Also, in case it helps, I have here some alternate names for the beastie

in question:


Pharmaceutical name:      Fructus Piperis Longi

Botanical name:            Piper Longum

Mandarin:                    BÏ B·  (That's Bi Ba, with both vowels accented facing

each   other, like angry cartoon eyebrows, for those of you with straight ASCII text readers)

Japanese:                           Hihatsu

Korean:                             P'ilhal

English:                            Long Pepper Fruit


I also have a pair of Chinese ideograms, which might be useful for the

non-Mandarin-speaking Chinese, but I can't duplicate them here on short



I also have acquired a listing of every herb store in the New York City

area (several hundred) , and so the hunt begins...See what you people

started??? :   )


Sorry about the error. Didn't mean to mislead anyone. It 's just that my

tiny brain is full, and for each new thing I learn, I tend to forget

something else.





Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 00:19:11 -0400 (EDT)

From: LrdRas  at aol.com

Subject: SC - Cubebs


<< what is cubebs >>


Cubebs = cubeb berries. Sort of peppery tasting with a hint of allspice.

Although they are not used in modern cookery in my knowledge, they are still

used in the production of gin as are galingal and grains.





Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 07:40:01 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy  at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Roc recipe-sort of


> I have heard of galengal and grains of paradise [and I think I finally

> found a shop that carries some!,but what is cubebs?

> Lady Beatrix of Tanet


Cubebs are yet another black pepper relative, looking vaguely like an

allspice berry, but tasting rather like pepper with a strange numbing

effect on the tongue. Not too different from Szechuan or Sansho or

Fagara peppercorns (which are also not peppercorns, either...), and

these are pretty good substitutes if you can't find cubebs.





Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 09:04:24 -0800

From: "Anne-Marie Rousseau" <acrouss  at gte.net>

Subject: Re: SC - spices


Hi all from Anne-Marie

Angeline asks about grains of paradise and cubebs...


If you can't get grains, I would recommend a mix of two parts black pepper

to one part ginger. If you cant get cubebs, I would recommend substituting

Tellicherry or other high quality flavorful black peppercorns. _Pleyn

Delit_ says to use cardomom or a mix of cardamom and black pepper for

grains, but to my palate, there is no flavor of cardamom. She admitted to

me in a private email that she wrote that without ever having SEEN grains,

much less tasted them. When I chomp on a cubeb, all I really taste is



- --AM



Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 15:09:29 EST

From: CorwynWdwd <CorwynWdwd at aol.com>

Subject: Re: SC - spices


> There was a formula to 'create' cubebs, or something that would make the

>  same sort of taste, but I haven't found anything about grains of paradise.

>  How/Where can I find that.


Cubebs can be found at a lot of Indian markets. You can TRY substituting

allspice and pepper. Grains of Paradise are a kind of Cardomon, and they taste

similar in my experence. Try an Indian or Orental market if there's one






Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 23:24:21 -0800

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - spices


Corwyn wrote (concerning grains of paradise):

>Okay, okay, they're not EXACTLY like cardomon, but the ones in my kitchen

>right now taste like in intense (as in dried) cardomon. :-)


>>Of course, when I've been out to buy black mustard seeds (and called first)


>I've been offered brown when I got there (and there most assuridly IS a

>difference). Maybe I got shafted again?




To me they taste peppery but not quite as hot and maybe a little sweeter?(It is hard to describe tastes.) Not particularly like cardamon.  As towhether you got what you thought you were getting, grains are a little smaller than peppercorns, brown rather than the almost black of pepper,almost round but pointed at one spot which is tan--looks almost yellow against the brown.


Elizabeth/Betty Cook



Date: Mon, 13 Apr 1998 10:49:55 EDT

From: DianaFiona <DianaFiona  at aol.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Fwd: Spice Is Nice


<< Ras says:

> My only disappoint is that they don't carry long pepper which I would

> give my eye teeth to get ahold of especially if it were still clustered.

> <sigh>


Worldspice carries long peppers, and if by "still clustered", you mean

still looking like little long petrified catkins, that's the stuff. >>


     Haven't looked at their site in a while, but I believe that Sirene Spices

(They're the ones that have been advertising in TI.) sell long pepper also.

Their address is: http://www.silk.net/sirene/


         Ldy Diana, who *really* needs to get around to ordering from one of

these wonderful places!



Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 10:53:25 EDT

From: LrdRas <LrdRas  at aol.com>

Subject: SC - Whole spices


stefan  at texas.net writes:

<< What differance would it make if it were still clustered or not? Or do

you have a specific use in mind that needs the long pepper to still be

on clusters? >>


There are two things which make purchasing long pepper in clusters (or any

other spice whole). First you are relatively assured that the spice has not

been adulterated. Secondly being clustered reduces the surface area which

comes in contact with the surrounding atmosphere thereby reducing oxidation

and deterioration resulting in a much longer shelf life. We see the same

concept in purchasing other spices whole such as nutmegs, peppercorns,

cinnamon sticks and saffron threads. The less processing the better.





Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 08:25:07 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD  at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - pepper


Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is of Javanese origin.  It originally appears to

have been imported into Europe by Romans trading in Egypt and the Levant.

The trade continued after the fall of Rome and made pepper one of the major

spices of medieval times.


Black pepper is the entire fruit.  White pepper is the fruit with the dark

outer hull removed.  I've found no date for the initial use of white pepper,

but, IIRC, I have seen a late period recipe which calls for it.  For

authenticity, black pepper is probably the best call.  The difference

between white and black pepper is that white pepper has a milder taste


The genus Piper also contains cubeb, betel, and kava.





Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 16:55:53 -0500

From: "Margo Farnsworth" <margokeiko  at esslink.com>

Subject: Re: SC - pepper


I found this page on the web with their description of the plant:


Piper Nigrum: "Black-pepper, Peppercorn-plant" P. Nigrum is the true source

of Black pepper, and not to be confused with Capiscum (hot) peppers. Piper

Nigrum is an extremely ornamental plant, perfect for the home and great in a

greenhouse. This species appears like a vine with heart shaped leaves and

produces a semi-epiphytic growth of roots from stem. Highly suggested...Very

prolific and a rarity. Plant $ 12


>Is it possible to grow black pepper in a garden?

>Or would it even be worth the effort?



From the other info I found, the plant is subtropical or tropical, so I

guess it would depend on where you live if you could grow it outside or not.



Torvald's Hird

Canton of Ravenhill, BBM, East



Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 18:25:58 -0500

From: "Margo Farnsworth" <margokeiko  at esslink.com>

Subject: Re: SC - pepper


>So out of curiosity then, how do the peppers grow on the plant and how are

>they prepared for use?


A pretty decent picture can be found at:



From looking at this picture, I would assume the fruit is allowed to mature

and then picked and dried.  I have also seen in gourmet stores green

peppercorns in brine, I assume these are picked and pickled while still






Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 18:50:00 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy  at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - pepper


The peppercorns are basically berries growing in a cluster from a

central stem, like a little bunch of grapes, or perhaps like a

blackberry. The berries are removed from the stem, and, as I recall,

allowed to ferment somewhat, blackening the fruit layer of the berries.

They are then dried.


At some point in this process the fruit pulp layer is removed from some

peppercorns, leaving only the pale seed, a.k.a. white peppercorns.



Østgardr, East



Date: Sat, 20 Feb 1999 00:04:04 -0000

From: "=?iso-8859-1?Q?Nanna_R=F6gnvaldard=F3ttir?=" <nannar  at isholf.is>

Subject: Re: SC - pepper


Black pepper is the unripe fruit and is green before drying. White pepper is

the seed of the ripe fruit (the fruit itself is red). For more info on

pepper (and other spices), try this site (scroll down to the index and click

on pepper):







Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 20:51:46 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD  at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC -


Looking in Waverly Root's Food, the comment is made that Horace thought the

perfect general seasoning was black salt and white pepper.  Horace lived in

the 1st Century BCE, so white pepper should be in period.


Root does comment that green pepper was not known in the Occident before






Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 08:22:05 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy  at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - white pepper


Stefan li Rous wrote:

> Is white pepper not period? I remember it being called for in the Savory

> Toasted cheese redactions because that was the reason we first bought

> some white pepper. Guess I should go take a look at the redaction and

> the original recipe.


It probably existed, but may not have been used in Europe until late in

period. I note that it is not mentioned by Taillevent as one of the

spices necessary for running a kitchen, for what that's worth.


Today white pepper is used extensively in Asian cooking, especially

southern Chinese dishes (and pretty aggressively, too -- that cuisine is

possibly the most subtle on earth but definitely not bland), and in

situations where the appearance of black pepper in a whitish food might

be deemed unattractive, like, say, in a Nouvelle Cuisine (for the new

people on this list, that's what HG Cariadoc calls any European dish

from after ~1550, C.E.) dish of Savoury Toasted Cheese...


I vaguely recall, offhand, seeing white pepper mentioned in one or two

Nouvelle Cui -- I mean late period recipes.





Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 07:10:02 -0800

From: "David Dendy" <ddendy  at silk.net>

Subject: SC - White Pepper in Period


Just catching up on recent messages. Several people asked whether white

pepper was imported to Europe and used in period. Here's what I can come up

with in a hurry.


Pliny the Elder's *Natural History* in the first century AD mentions three

sorts of pepper. Black pepper fetched four denarii a pound, white pepper got

seven, and long pepper was most expensive at fourteen denarii.


The Italian merchant manual of Pegolotti (Florence, between 1310 and 1340)

includes round (black) pepper, white pepper, and long pepper among its list

of 288 'spices'. Uzzano's manual of 1442 also lists white pepper. It is

separately noted in some customs tariffs.


Marco Polo noted large quantities of white pepper in the Malaysian

archipelago (although this was probably mainly for export to China, where

white pepper was a preferred variety).


So white pepper was known to Europe, and was imported to some degree. What I

do not know is whether it was used to any significant extent in cookery. I

don't offhand recall seeing any recipes in period cookbooks which called

specifically for white pepper. Perhaps those who are going through cookbooks

would be kind enough to keep an eye open for mentions of white pepper, and

post any if found?


Francesco Sirene


David Dendy / ddendy  at silk.net

partner in Francesco Sirene, Spicer / sirene  at silk.net

Visit our Website at http://www.silk.net/sirene/



Date: Sun, 02 Sep 2001 09:18:49 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy  at asan.com>

To: sca-cooks  at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] peppercorns and black salt


Stefan li Rous wrote:

> As mentioned in another message, while at one of my local Mediterranean

> stores today, I bought some bottles of peppercorns.

> 1) Pink peppercorns in water, vinegar and salt

> 2) Green peppercorns in brine (water and salt)

> I've always gotten the whole dried peppercorns before or the ground ones,

> how would I use these pickled/brined ones? Are there particular dishes

> where these would be better used than the dried ones?


They're good, whole, in sauces, because they don't shatter your molars

and are milder than black or white peppercorns. The pink ones are nice

to garnish things like salads, while classic applications for green ones

include a poivre vert sauce for sauteed steak (yes, all you folk out

there in barbecue-land, sauteed steak is _good_). Essentially you cook

your steaks, drain off most of the fat, if applicable, add your

peppercorns and heat quickly, then deglaze the pan with  a brown sauce

or demiglaze (just on the off-chance you're one of those people that

keeps a supply of demiglaze on hand), or even heavy cream. Slosh a

half-cup or so into your pan and heat, stirring until the cream

dissolves the hard cooked bits of meat juice left in the pan and

thickens slightly.


> When would you use green peppercorns instead of the black or white

> ones? When would you want to use the pink ones? The pink ones are

> a different plant that the ones that the green, black and white

> ones come from. Were the pink peppercorns known in period Europe?


I remember reading that a slightly higher proportion of people are

allergic to pink peppercorns, in comparison to the others.


> Were brined/pickled peppercorns available/used in period Europe?


If yes, I assume they were rare, given the comparative difficulty of

shipping heavy jars of brine from the Far East, as opposed to sacks or

boxes of dry spices. I suspect it would be considered fiscally ineffective.



Phil & Susan Troy



Date: Sun, 02 Sep 2001 11:10:07 -0500

To: sca-cooks  at ansteorra.org

From: Nicolas Steenhout <vavroom  at bmee.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] peppercorns and black salt




As you mention, pink peppercorn is no pepper.  That said, it's pretty good,

IMHO.  I admit to have never usen it brined.


I find the flavour of pink a little more delicate, tend to use it with

poultry and fishes.  Light cream sauces.


Green peppercorn goes well with meats.  Venison and hare are two I like to

use green peppercorn with.


I usualy just take it out of jar, drain, and then use whole or chopped.


The "black" salt I've seen and used before was simply sea salt where all

impurities hadn't been removed.  May not be the same.


Muiredach mac Loloig

Rokkehealden Shire



Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2001 17:08:55 -0500

From: Chip <jallen  at multipro.com>

To: sca-cooks  at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re[2]: [Sca-cooks] On cubebs and grains of paradise


> Anyone out there know of a source for Benin pepper??  TYIA

>     Mike Acord


Sirene http://www.silk.net/sirene/ didn't seem to have any.  Neither

did www.worldspice.com.


I didn't find Benin Pepper, but it goes by these aliases.  Try

searching for them with google.com.



Piper clusii

Piper guineense

Ashantee Pepper

Ashanti pepper

African Cubebs

False cubeb pepper

Guinea cubeb

West-African black pepper

Guinea pepper



Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2002 15:30:33 -0800

To: sca-cooks  at ansteorra.org

From: david friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Salt and pepper


On the subject of adding pepper, the following is from Manuscrito

Anonimo (13th c. Andalusian):


"There are others who sprinkle ground pepper over the food when it is

cut for eating; this is a practice of the Christians and Berbers."


David Friedman

Professor of Law

Santa Clara University

ddfr  at best.com



Date: Sat, 20 Mar 2004 10:29:49 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker  at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] long pepper, was To Make a Fine Spice

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks  at ansteorra.org>


> Does anyone know where (or if) it is possible to find <Benin pepper>?


The only place I could find that handles it is Sunshine Seeds (in

Germany, I believe).


It is also called Ashanti pepper, Guinea pepper and pimenta da rabo, but

there is a lot of confusion about precisely what is meant by the common

names.  I think what you are after is Piper guineese, and I would identify

it by both common name and scientific name if I found a place to order






From: "Phlip" <phlip  at 99main.com

Date: March 18, 2004 11:34:41 AM CST

To: "SCA-Cooks" <sca-cooks  at ansteorra.org

Cc: "SPCA" <spca-wascaerfrig  at yahoogroups.com

Subject: [spca-wascaerfrig] More on long pepper, cubebs, and such....


I'm involved in a conversation with Gene Anderson about Asian cookery, relating to something completely seperate from the discussion on Cook's List, and he just posted me the following, that I think y'all might find of interest.


Ene bichizh ogsen baina shuu...


Yes on the peppers. Long pepper and cubeb pepper are both very closely related to black pepper, and very similar. They come from India and southeast Asia--I don't think anybody knows exactly where. They succumbed to chiles and to the increased availability of black pepper, slowly, from the 1500s to the 1900s. Grains of paradise, a.k.a. Melagueta pepper, is (are?) an African cardamom, genus Aframomum.

They were wildly popular in the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Europe, but gave way to a variety of other spices as those became more available. Indian cardamom (genus Elettaria) was the main beneficiary, I think. It's the only "cardamom" known to the west now, except locally in west Africa where Aframomum still exists. But then there are all those Asian cardamoms--the "large" or "brown" cardamoms of the species-rich genus Amomum. Different species of this genus are used all over monsoon Asia.


To be impossibly compulsively authentic in your Cambodian or North Laotian cooking you'd have to seek out the right species. Actually they're all very similar and pretty interchangeable. They are quite a bit like Aframomum but very different from Elettaria. Elettaria has a pocket of heavy use in the Baltic area, esp Finland and Sweden, because of the long history of seafaring to the Indian Ocean. Chiles not only displaced long and cubeb pepper, but also displaced native East Asian hot (picante) stuff like mugwort and smartweed. Smartweed has a fascinating pocket of survival in Vietnam, where a particularly flavorful kind exists that was too damn good to be displaced by anything. It's rau ram in Vietnamese and Polygonum sp. in Latin. (I'm not sure of the species--there has been controversy--it's one of those domesticated things of rather obscure origin.)


Hunan food was famously hot long before chiles--peppers, smartweed, mugwort, and Chinese brown "pepper" (Zanthoxylum, actually a citrus relative) being the spicy things.


This is probably more than you wanted to know.... Thanks very much for the correspondence!!




Saint Phlip, CoDoLDS



Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 19:31:32 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Peppers

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


As to what the English thought about peppers (white, black, and long)

one can read the 1588 work--

A short discourse of the three kindes of peppers in common vse and certaine special medicines made of the same, tending to the preseruation of health.

It's by Walter Baley or Bailey, 1529-1592.

STC 1199. On microfilm, EEBO and also as part of the English Experience series.

The British Library copy also 1588 is STC 1200.

Bailey talks a lot about what the Spanish and Portuguese voyages have discovered.

"We do read of another kind of pepper brought out of the Indians, which

the Portingals called Piemento Rabo, in Latin Piper caudatum, and may be englished taile pepper."





Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2010 16:59:05 -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] Real Cubebs?


Here's part of the confusion.  Guinea pepper is used to refer to Afromomum

melegueta (Grains of Paradise), Piper guineense (West African Pepper and a

common substitute for P. cubeba) and Xylopia aethiopica (Grains of Selim).

I suspect that what she has are P. guineense and they are the closest in

taste to cubebs.




<<< Cubeb Berry (Piper cubeba) are a complete  separate pepper and should not

be confused with Guinea Pepper -Grains of Paradise (Amomum melegeuta).

They do have different tastes.


Mora Blackmarsh

Dragonmarsh >>>



Date: Sat, 14 Jan 2012 15:30:21 -0500

From: Elise Fleming <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

To: sca-cooks <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Spices


Greetings!  I hadn't been aware that there were two (or more??) kinds of

long pepper until I visited Hampton Court.  I was given a tiny bit of

the second variety (name unknown) which ended up being so spicy that my

tongue was numbed.


Alys K.



Date: Sat, 14 Jan 2012 15:16:37 -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] Spices


Ahh, Piper longum is the more common long pepper.  It is also referred to as

Indian long pepper.  Piper retrofractum is a related pepper plant native to

Java called Balinese long pepper or Javanese long pepper.  If both were used

at Hampton Court in Tudor times, that is an interesting tidbit.




<<< Greetings!  I hadn't been aware that there were two (or more??) kinds of

long pepper until I visited Hampton Court.  I was given a tiny bit of the

second variety (name unknown) which ended up being so spicy that my tongue

was numbed.


Alys K. >>>



Date: Sat, 14 Jan 2012 16:30:36 -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] Spices


<<< This brings up an interesting question.

When a manuscript just says pepper we all seem to assume they mean regular

black pepper (or at least we use it because it is handy).

IIRC the Early English stuff seems to differentiate between long pepper

and pepper but the Italian corpus (of which I am most familiar) doesn't

seem to say anything but pepper.

Should we be using modern pepper?

Should we be using one of the long peppers?

Really let's not go there on chili peppers.


Eduardo >>>


Black pepper can be placed in Egypt (being used in mummification) as early

as 1200 BCE.  Long pepper was known as a medication in Greece around 600

BCE.  Their use as a condiment in the Mediterranean world is a little more

tricky, but we can set that as early as 2nd Century BCE in the Roman world



The Classic Roman corpus does not generally differentiate between long and

black pepper, but Pliny states, that long pepper cost 15 denarii per pound,

white pepper cost 7 denarii per pound and black pepper cost 4 denarii per

pound.  Given the prices, black pepper would have been the most common.  The

Italian corpus likely follows the Roman lack of differentiation.


Long pepper is a very small seed (similar in size to poppy seed, black

pepper is a relatively large one.  When one talks about "peppercorn," the

reference is to black pepper.


Both were known and used in Europe in period, so if a recipe does not

diffentiate, you could use either.  It is worth noting that there was a

decline in the use of long pepper, starting around the 12th Century, leaving

black pepper as the most readily available pepper in Europe by the 14th

Century, so later period recipes calling for pepper are more likely to use

black pepper.





Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2012 14:12:44 -0800

From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at jeffnet.org>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Spices


On 1/15/2012 1:37 PM, Elise Fleming wrote:

Bear wrote:

<<< Long pepper is a very small seed (similar in size to poppy seed, black

pepper is a relatively large one. >>>


Long pepper is a small seed?  That's not what's being sold as long

pepper at Pennsic, etc.  It's an oblong thing up to half an inch long.

Did you mis-say this?


Alys K.



Actually, they are. That long thing is made up of little tiny seeds.

Some of the bigger ones make it easier to see the individual pods. But

when you grind them you should be able to see some of the seeds. They're

smaller than a poppy seed.





Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2012 18:34:47 -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] Spices


Bear wrote:

<<< Long pepper is a very small seed (similar in size to poppy seed, black

pepper is a relatively large one. >>>


Long pepper is a small seed?  That's not what's being sold as long pepper

at Pennsic, etc.  It's an oblong thing up to half an inch long. Did you

mis-say this?


Alys K.



What you are referencing is the flower spike or catkin which contains many

closely packed seeds.  Black pepper actually has a similar structure, but

the size of the seeds keep them from being closely packed.





Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2012 03:34:57 +0000

From: CHARLES POTTER <basiliusphocas at hotmail.com>

To: <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Spices


The Banchetti/Libro Novo uses long pepper in a few recipes and lists in the section on things to have in the larder.


                                       Master B


From: david at vastrepast.com

<<< This brings up an interesting question.

When a manuscript just says pepper we all seem to assume they mean regular black pepper (or at least we use it because it is handy).

IIRC the Early English stuff seems to differentiate between long pepper and pepper but the Italian corpus (of which I am most familiar) doesn't seem to say anything but pepper.

Should we be using modern pepper?

Should we be using one of the long peppers?

Really let's not go there on chili peppers.


Eduardo >>>



Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2012 09:33:34 -0800

From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at jeffnet.org>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Spices


(about longpepper)


And those are tough little buggers! I wore a bruise in the palm of my

hand grinding long pepper for cookies this Christmas.




On 1/17/2012 5:18 AM, Dan Schneider wrote:

Personally, I always just grind the whole thing




--- On Tue, 1/17/12, Claire Clarke<angharad at adam.com.au>  wrote:

<<< I was going to say what about the big 'long' things? So if you are grinding

them up should you grind up the whole thing or just the little seeds? Would

there be a difference in flavour if you did?


Angharad >>>



Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2012 23:08:55 +0000

From: CHARLES POTTER <basiliusphocas at hotmail.com>

To: <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Spices


<<< What is the Italian?

Which page of the facsimile?

Would love to look at it.


Eduardo >>>


  Sorry too take so long to get back to you, but it took me a while to look this up.  Long pepper is listed as pepe longo on page 6 in the 1564 Libro Novo.  It is also listed as one word (pepelongo) in the PDF 1549 Banchetti.

In both books it is listed as an ingredient in the 3rd recipe to wit: A FARE SOSAMELLI PERFETTISSIMI NV (sig) MERO (sig) XXXVI

TO MAKE 36 OF THE MOST PERFECT COOKIES.  It is called pevere longo in the recipe i.e long pepper.  I think it is used in one or two

more recipes, but I have not been able to find any more right now.


                                                              Master B   



Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2014 21:21:21 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] The Pepper Trail


I've recently add Jean Andrews "The Pepper Trail" to the reference shelf and

it is worth some commentary on this list.


This book is coffee table format and nicely illustrated. It is divided into

two sections; the history of peppers and their spread through the world and

then how and where they are used in various cuisines (including modern

recipes).  There is a section of notes to the text.  And there is a rather

extensive bibliography.  The first section is a biology monograph

masquerading as popular non-fiction.


The author, Jean Andrews (1923-2010) was a noted Texas academic with a PhD

in Biology and degrees in Home Economics and Marine Studies (according to

one bio).  She has written a number of books, the best known being Shells

and Peppers:  The Domestic Capsicums.  She was not a historian, which is an

important consideration in regards some problems I have with the book.


Beginning with Leonhardt Fuchs botanical description of some of the capsicum

peppers in 1542, Andrews undertakes to describe the migration of certain

species of capsicums from South America into Mexico and, more importantly,

into the West Indies using a combination of botanical and historical data.

She then uses contemporary and modern sources to lay out her view of how and

when the peppers moved from Spain to Portugal and into West Africa and Asia.

In part, her argument addresses the idea that maize, beans, sweet potatoes

and squash were commonly grown together in the New World and moved into the

Columbian Exchange at roughly the same time and probably as a group with the

peppers being an adjunct plant that likely moved with them.


Andrews concludes that New World crops were being grown in the Azores,

Madeira, the Cape Verdes and in Guinea between the Senegal and Niger Rivers

by 1502.  That is, before the first Columbian landing on the mainland and

before the Portuguese slave trade's entry into the Caribbean in 1509.

Adding a reference to Duarte Barbosa commenting on the export of Mihlo

grosso (maize) from Gujarat, India in 1516 provides an interesting picture

of just how swiftly the New World crops entered the non-European Old World.


I've spent the past couple of days just going over the references.  The book

is worth reading for anyone with an interest in the Columbian Exchange.  The

references to various sources alone are worth the effort.


That said, there are problems, not with the carefully sourced references,

but with some of the general commentary.  Remembering that Andrews is not a

historian and her Home Economics was a Bachelor Degree, she introduces some

of the shibboleths we've been debunking on this list for years; dreadful

food, hiding the odor of spoilage, and (a new and interesting claim

considering the high grain European diet of the day) that Europeans were

carnivorous (although that may be a relative comparison to other diets of

the period).  Note that there are no references for these particular

opinions and they are likely an artifact of Andrews's prior education.


If you are interested, the bibliographic data is:

Andrews, Jean, The Pepper Trail:  History and Recipes From around the World,

University of North Texas Press, 1999.


I picked up my copy from Edward R. Hamilton Bookseller Co.




<the end>

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