"...the Romans, although they saw their own men thrown down, and in a miserable condition, yet were they vehemently bent against those that poured the oil upon them; while every one reproached the man before him as a coward, and one that hindered him from exerting himself; and while the Jews made use of another stratagem to prevent their ascent, and poured boiling fenugreek upon the boards, in order to make them slip and fall down; by which means neither could those that were coming up, nor those that were going down, stand on their feet; but some of them fell backward upon the machines on which they ascended, and were trodden upon; many of them fell down upon the bank they had raised, and when they were fallen upon it were slain by the Jews"
--The Works of Josephus, the great Jewish historian of 1st century AD

§ Home § Search § FoodTales § Any comments?


(Trigonella foenum-graecum)

A native of southern Europe, this hairless member of the pea family produces pods filled with aromatic seeds. The minute you catch wind of them, you remember that they are a main ingredient of curry powder. The "foenum-graecum" means "Greek hay," to describe that fresh-mown smell.

These seeds--dried into yellow-brown chunks with a line incised down the middle--are very high in mucilage, and are used not only in preparations that soothe the skin, but also to emulsify food and drugs.