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Anyone know what "dimicuto" is?

The Old Foodie

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I am hoping for some help from the wide world of eGullet here!

An English cleric sent as a chaplain to the "Barbary coast" (North Africa) in 1663 described a dish he shared (which he likened to a "Spanish" olla podrida which was becoming quite fashionable at the time in England):

"an earthen pot full of mutton, beef, cabbage, raisins, potatoes, berengénas, &c. all boiled together, and extremely hot with dimicuto and garlic, which is their immutable sauce."

I have no idea what "dimicuto" is - I have searched as many spellings as I can think of to no avail. I presume it is a phonetic version of a Spanish or North African word that would have been known to an Englishman who spent seven years in Tangier.

Any educated guesses from those of you with knowledge of the language or culture of the region?

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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Given the region if a chile sauce (not common in the modern period until recently)was to be found in Morocco at this period, then I guess that it might be here near Spain. I haven't seen this word used to refer to chiles in English texts of the period, but there are few references at all (nearly all refer to Guinea pepper in one spelling or another). If the cleric's introduction to the chile was via a Spanish route then this is quite possible.

There are other hot spices used in the region (long pepper, Grains of Paradise, Cubebs), but these don't have names that are similar to Dimicuto. At a long shot it could be a very poor spelling of "Pimienta" (Pepper and in some case Chile Pepper).

Edited by Adam Balic (log)
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