(PART 2/8 “THE BLACK LIST OF FORBIDDEN PLANTS”)
Curiously, the so enigmatic list of “cursed foods” was mostly only foods of high nutritional content . In fact, many of them, such as carrots, were already used in ancient Greece and Rome as a medicinal plant for their revitalizing properties.
In fact, the Arabs considered it an aphrodisiac food as well as many others that were nevertheless banned in Western societies . Not only did they consume the leaves because of their aroma, similar to parsley and coriander, but their roots already occupied an important place in their daily diet. It is known that in Afghanistan it was already consumed for more than 3,000 years .
In Europe , when it was included by the Arabs themselves (called Isfannãriya ) they repudiated it for its “magical” properties , attributing to its purple color the evil origin of the root and because it grew underground. So it was mainly used as forage for animals and only the poorest population consumed it as food.
The carrots were originally purple on the outside and orange on the inside . But it was not until the sixteenth century when in Holland they experimented with mostly yellow and orange specimens finally getting a kind of totally orange color .
A success of popularity for the Royal Orange House , which was presented in their honor at a memorial party. From then on its consumption spread throughout Europe to the present day.
EGGPLANT: REJECTED FOR ITS PURPLE COLOR
As in most cases the attribution of supernatural powers to certain plants was one of the most frequent reasons in ancient times for which they were seen with suspicion and superstition .
Also the eggplant native to southern India , was viewed with suspicion in Europe and specifically in Italy, for the color of its skin and the “impure” effects it caused.
However, before arriving in the west, it was already part of the food of many other civilizations, as evidenced by its consumption in China and Burma . In fact, it was the Arabs in the Middle Ages who first introduced it to Europe , specifically in the south and east of Spain . Together with the eggplants, as we know, they also introduced other foods that are now an important part of our culinary culture.
Its name is Solanum melongena , but in ancient times the Romans called it ” mela insana ” (insane apple) , in Italian melanzana , although in the first century the Greek physician and botanist Pedanio Dioscorides spoke of its beneficial and nutritious properties.
In the Middle Ages , this bad reputation was encouraged and prolonged for centuries by the popes of Rome of the time. According to them, it particularly altered man and predisposed to lust . That is why it was also known as “amoris poma” .
According to them, its purple color externalized the impurity of sin that it reserved within. That is why in the Christian tradition the color purple is used in religious rites related to preparation for penance and sin .
It is understandable that there was initially a normal suspicion of everything unknown and new, including foods never seen. But it is also known that the church has always used superstitions and taboos (although not officially) to terrorize and remove their indoctrinates from contact in this case, from Muslims . Presence that threatened and destabilized the supremacy and authority of the Roman popes .
Precisely the rejection and opposition of the church to all kinds of ideas or things that are foreign and / or threatening their interests has been habitual and known in their methodology of mass cultural indoctrination; and the eggplants , along with other vegetables such as carrots and potatoes were unfortunate in this regard as they were inserted in the “blacklist” of evil and demonic foods. According to them, they encouraged men to do horrible things and against the divine will. Interestingly, food imported from other cultures with different religions .
Naturally there were other taboos and crazy beliefs about its evil and pernicious nature. For example, it was said that its consumption accused purple spots on the face , the color of death and caused ” impurity and malice in the mood of man “, headache and even constipation.
Spain was the first western country in which it was introduced as a daily food and quickly became popular. They were brought by the Arabs at the end of the Middle Ages , their name was “Al-bâdinjân” , a term borrowed from the Persian word “Bâdengân” from which it originated.
From Spain became known to the rest of Europe , although the French did not know it until the century XVII .