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Re: Rue the day: Of onions (was: of snails and slugs)

From:Justin Mansfield <jdm314@...>
Date:Thursday, July 5, 2001, 6:46
On Fri, 29 Jun 2001 14:20:10 +0100, And Rosta <a.rosta@...> wrote:

>Sally [13 June]: >> Okay doke. After all this culinary discussion, I've >> got to ask a question that's been on my mind for a while. >> What is "rue" and what do you do with it? I found it >> at an herb store and I planted it in my garden and it's >> flourishing. It apparently comes from Greek rhuta, >> origin unattested, and it has nothing to do with the >> verb "to rue," although I might take that back. It >> has an aromatic, oily aroma that smells like dusty >> peaches when you crumble the leaf in your hand >> (dusty green leaves, rounded, deeply invaginated, >> very pretty, yellow flowers). It tastes bitter, but >> has an underlying flavor that seems to compliment >> stews. Can't compare the flavor to anything.
Rue is Ruta graveolens or sometimes Peganon harmula (different species, not varient names). The Romans were fond of it, and as I am fond of recreating Roman cooking I have to grow it myself- you can't exactly find it in supermarkets. It is indeed bitter, and sort of waxy. The only thing I've tasted that's remotely similar is radish leaves, but even that is only a vague similarity. It is said to be narcotic and even poisonous in large doses (It was, I believe, Mithradates of Pontus' favorite dinner poison). Although I have no idea what constitutes a large dose, it's aparently much larger than the amounts recommended for cooking (most recipes I have for it call for 2 tsp per 4 servings)... nevertheless, pregnant women should avoid it. In Latin it is called ruta, in Greek rhyte or peganon, hense Hebrew peeygaam and Arabic fiijan. In Akkadian it is called shibburratu (possibly also anameru), a cognate to Syriac shabbaaraa’, Jewish Aramaic has bashshaaSaa’, borrowed in Demotic Egyptian bSwS and Coptic bashoush. I don't know if it's the etymon of the verb "to rue" but I was under the impression that it wasn't. JDM
> >"There's fennel for you, and columbines. There's rue for >you, and here's some for me. We may call it herb of grace >o' Sundays. O, you must wear your rue with a difference! >There's a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they >wither'd all when my father died. They say he made a good >end." > >--And.


Irina Rempt <ira@...>
John Cowan <cowan@...>