While I greatly appreciate the plug, Erik, I would love to have a physical frame of reference for my product. I have fantasies of getting some money together and exploring wherever it is in France that orgeat is/was made. Any ideas of a history on it?
Sorry, yeah, it was a bit smart alecky.
My suggestion, if you're interested particularly in Orgeat in France, would be to post in the regional France forum and ask. There are a number of folks there who are quite the experts in French food traditions and history.
In addition, drop the famous Francois Xavier of FX Cuisine
a note. He seems to have done a good amount of reading about food history and has always responded whenever I've sent him questions.
As I'm sure you know, Orgeat is part of the family of grain and nut beverages which seem in common to all cultures, whether it is the corn beverages of Native Americans, the oat beverages of the scotch, the rice beverages of the spanish, the Barley Water of the English, the soybean beverages of the Asians, or the Nut Sedge kernel beverages of the Egyptians. Before the invention of leavened bread, the easiest way to get nutrition from grains was to soak or cook them in water and then consume the liquid.
Orgeat, the beverage, began as a blend of ground barley and nuts, often almonds or squash seeds, cooked or soaked in water, then with the plant mass, more or less, strained out. The root of the word Orgeat is thought to be the latin word for a particular type of barley, something like "Hordeum".
The first known published use of a related word in an English Text referred to a type of Barley used to make a beverage. This was some time around 1500.
The first known published use of “Orgeat” referring to a sweetened Barley, Melon Seed, and Almond Syrup was in J. Nott’s “Cook and Confectionary Dictionary” in 1723.
Edited by eje, 13 January 2009 - 09:29 PM.