Fenugreek, Trigonella foenum-graecum, is a plant in the pea family. Fenugreek seed is yellow and brown in color, and is frequently used in India for making curries.
Fenugreek is native to Southern Europe and Asia. In classical times, it was well known in Europe for the medicinal properties of its seeds. Evidence also shows that fenugreek was used for culinary purposes in ancient Egypt.
In Ms. Fr. 640:
Fol. 52r - "The work done in Algiers"
Take a colt of three or 4 years & feed it on rye barley & straw pig cut in the manner one feeds horses in Spain, and water it with good fountain or river water. I do not know if it would be good to water it occasionally with water of sulfurous baths, & to sometimes give it fenugreek or other hot foods, for the intention of the worker is to it to use the heat of its dung, & the climate here is cooler than that of Algiers…
Alan Davidson and Tom Jaine, eds., “Fenugreek,” The Oxford Companion to Food (3 ed) (Oxford University Press, 2014), https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780192806819.001.0001/acref-9780192806819-e-2129?rskey=j1yQNk&result=2.
Image: Zakariya ibn Muhammad Qazwini and Muhammad ibn Muhammad Shakir Ruzmah-'i Nathani. Illustration: “Fenugreek, Chickpea, and Melilot, Leaf from Turkish Version of the Wonders of Creation”, Text Title: “Tercüme-yi 'Aca'ib ül-mahlukat,” (1121 AH/AD 1717 [Ottoman]) (The Walters Art Museum, Acquired by Henry Walters, 1931), https://library-artstor-org.ezproxy.cul.columbia.edu/asset/AWALTERSIG_10313537049.
Elia Zhang, Columbia University
“Fenugreek,” om+ka, accessed June 4, 2023, https://catapanoth.com/omandka/items/show/16.