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Tourtière's Ingredients

Garlic is one of the world’s oldest crops.  It was referred to by Egyptian and Indian cultures 5000 years ago. Garlic was grown by the Chinese 4000 years ago.  It grows wild only in an area in Central Asia centered on Kyrgyzstan. Earlier in history garlic may have grown wild from China to India to Ukraine to Egypt.  I will mark the origin point of garlic as Central Asia.

Some food historians place the earliest onion cultivation at the edges of the Mediterranean as long ago as 5,000 years. Others believe that onions originated in central Asia. The National Onion Association says onions were first grown in Iran and Pakistan. It's difficult to say in which area onions originated as several hundred varieties of onions grow wild in temperate climates all around the world. The Egyptians left onions in their tombs about 3,500 years ago. In fact, the mummy of King Ramses IV, who died in 1160 B.C., had small onions in the eye sockets, probably because they had some spiritual significance and because they replicated a real eyeball. I will use Pakistan as the origin point of onions.

Salt production is found practically everywhere in the ancient world. The oldest known salt production operation (boiling) is in present-day Romania and dates to 6050 BC.  For that reason, I will use Romania as the origin point for salt.

Black Pepper
Pepper originated in the monsoon forests of the Malabar Coast in southwest India, and has reigned as the "master spice" from its earliest usage about 4,000 years ago. It was prized by sailors and merchants from ancient times through the Greek and Roman Empires, the Middle Ages, and into modern times. In 1213 B.C. Egyptian pharaoh, Ramses II, was mummified with a peppercorn in each nostril, and today pepper is still the king of spices, and accounts for one quarter of all modern spice trade. I will use Southwest India as the origin point of black pepper.

Sage is native to the northern Mediterranean coastal areas of southern Europe and it still grows wild on hills in Dalmatia, a region of Croatia on the Adriatic Sea that is famous for the quality of its sage. Sage has been cultivated since ancient times and was a favorite spice of Charlemagne in the Middle Ages. The Chinese were so fond of European sage that they traded four times as much tea for it.  Americans of the 1800s said the herb cured warts. Claims have also been made for sage as a cure for epilepsy, insomnia, measles, seasickness, and worms. I will use Croatia as the origin point of Sage.

The first breads were baked where the first grain crops were grown and were likely unleavened breads. They would come from the Fertile Crescent as far back as 10,000 BC.  There evidence of the use of yeast and possibly leavened bread starting around 4000 BC.  I will use present-day Iraq as the origin point of bread.

The oldest known find of domesticated pig remains were uncovered in 1994 at Hallan Cemi in southeastern Turkey. There, in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains, the pig was apparently kept as early as 8000 B.C., making it the oldest known domesticated creature besides the dog.  That is earlier than any other finds, but it is believed that pigs were being domesticated coincidentally in a number of placed around the world. I will use southeastern Turkey as the origin point for pork.

Domestication of cattle probably started because wild cattle were attracted to the fields of grain grown by early farmers and robbed these abundant supplies of food. Exactly when domestication took place is uncertain, but by 3000BC there is evidence for several well-defined breed in representations of cattle from both Mesopotamia and Egypt. There is evidence that cattle may have been domesticated in other areas too about 8,000 and 7,000 years ago, but since most evidence points to Mesopotamia as the first area, I will use present-day Iraq as the origin point for beef and veal.

Pie Crust
The derivation of the word may be from magpie, shortened to pie. The explanation offered in favor of this is that the magpie collects a variety of things, and that it was an essential feature of early pies that they contained a variety of ingredients. The Oxford English Dictionary traces the first use of the word "pie" as it relates to food to 1303, noting the word was well-known and popular by 1362.  I will use the present-day United Kingdom as the origin point for pie crust.

Olive Oil
Experts agree that the olive tree is amongst the oldest known cultivated trees and was tended before written language was developed. Some scholars theorize that the olive was first cultivated in Asia Minor before 3500 B.C., along the Levantine Coast, in the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, particularly in the area between Syria and Iran. There is no doubt that the olive and its oil quickly became two of the most important trading items in the ancient Mediterranean world. There are a number of other locations that argue that they were the first to cultivate olives, but the most common origin location I have found is in Southwest Asia near Iran and Turkey.  I will use present-day Iran as the point of origin for Olive Oil.

In the ancient ruins of Peru and Chile, archaeologists have found potato remains that date back to 500 B.C. The Incas grew and ate them and also worshipped them. They even buried potatoes with their dead, they stashed potatoes in concealed bins for use in case of war or famine, they dried them, and carried them on long journeys to eat on the way. Ancient Inca potatoes had dark purplish skins and yellow flesh. The Incas called the potato "papas."  When the Spanish explorers and conquerors encountered the potato, they were brought back to Spain and then the potato spread throughout Europe and North America and then the rest of the world.  I will use Peru as the point of origin for the potato.