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Origin of term caramelize

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I may be completely off my rocker here but I thought Mario Batali said long ago on one of his shows that the term caramelize came from the person's name who invented the technique and had nothing to do with the browing of sugars contained in food. But I can't find anything about that. Am I nuts? (Please be honest :) )
post #2 of 17
Maybe not Crazy......Moves cooking wine away
Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks. Chef Rob
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Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks. Chef Rob
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post #3 of 17
John:

I can't attest to the state of your mental health without a diagnostic interview but as to the term caramelize.......

It comes from the word caramel which comes from the French term canamel, for sugar cane, which ultimately has its roots in Latin: canna (cane) plus mel (honey).

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
That's what I've always thought, just for some reason I thought I remembered him saying that. I sw him for a cooking demo yesterday and I forgot to ask him about it.
post #5 of 17
According to Oxford English Dictionary (http://www.oed.com) it is from the French, carameliser, which is from Spanish, caramelo, of uncertain origin.

[a. F. caramel, ad. Sp. (It., Pg.) caramelo, of uncertain origin.
Scheler suggests that the Sp. represents L. calamellus little tube, in reference to its tubular form; Mahn thinks it from med.L. cannamella sugar-cane: an Arabic source is conjectured by Littré.]

a. A black or brown porous substance obtained by heating sugar to about 210° C., by which it loses two equivalents of water; burnt sugar. It is used for colouring spirits, etc. b. A kind of ‘candy’ or sweet. c. attrib. as caramel-walnuts.

d. The colour of caramel brown. Also attrib.

Hence caramel v. trans. and intr., caramelize v. [cf. F. caraméliser], trans. and intr., to turn into caramel.

First reference in English Literature 1725, more than fifty years before the birth of Chef Marie-Antoine Carême (born 1783 - died 1833)

The OED has two citations for "caramel" that pre-date Careme:
1725 BRADLEY Fam. Dict. s.v. Sugar, When it is boiled to Caramel, it breaks and cracks.
1727 BRADLEY Fam. Dict. s.v. Apple, Let it boil so long till the Sugar be red enough and caramel'd.

Larousse Gastronomique says it comes from the Latin Cannamella (sugar cane).

Alain Ducasse New York sent out material earlier that had caramel mentioned in it. And they had mentioned (my memory could be failing me) caramel finding its roots back to Sanskrit. And now reading the Latin word cannamella, I can understand what those Sanskrit roots are. We call sugar cane Ganna and Maila means dirty (color of dirt). And that makes perfect sense.

And the common American pronunciation or spelling are no where to be found in Larousse either.

References trace it back via Spanish to a Latin origin.
Sorry, but Monsieur Careme can't take credit for this one.

Ref
post #6 of 17
never trust the word of a man who wears orange shoes.
batalli has it right about everything else, though. my fave is "good olive oil only costs a few cents more a day yet look how much it improves your life."
post #7 of 17
I think Mario was talking about the Maillard reaction.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
He was definately talking about technique and not caramel itself. Could you expand on the Maillard reaction? I've never heard of it.
post #9 of 17
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #10 of 17
Nice link, Thanks:cool:
"Isn't it a pity, Isn't it a shame, How we break each others hearts and cause each other pain" George Harrison
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"Isn't it a pity, Isn't it a shame, How we break each others hearts and cause each other pain" George Harrison
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post #11 of 17
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #12 of 17

You are completely right. He does say that, in an episode called "Restaurant Jonico", while talking about caramelizing fennel. I just happened to watch it, and thought "really? caramelize is named after Careme?" That sounded dubious to me, so I searched, and found your thread, which has good evidence below that Mario was off base on that one. Great episode though. He makes deep fried bechamel!

post #13 of 17

Deep fried bechamel has been made for years. It was the base of a true croquette which is in most cases is  deep fried.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudbug View Post

 Larousse Gastronomique says it comes from the Latin Cannamella (sugar cane).


The "Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise" says caramel(0) "probably" came from the latin "calamellus", roseau (cane):

 

 

(1)CARAMEL n. m. XVIIe siècle. Emprunté de l'espagnol caramel(o), issu, probablement, du bas latin calamellus, diminutif de calamus, « roseau ».
 

 

post #15 of 17

Yes!  I saw that episode, too.  Your question is not "What is the etymology of the word 'caramel?'" which our compatriots have so ably provided; your question is: "Is the technique of sauteeing foods until they are brownish/the natural sugars are released a technique defined as 'carEmalized,' as invented by the great French chef Careme, and thusly, the term to describe this process has NOTHING to do with caramel?"  I believe this is so: it is when foods such as vegetables (a mirepoix) or fruit (such as cut-up apples) are sauteed, causing them to release their sugars and begin to turn brown.  That process/technique is called "carEmalization" or "carEmalize" (accente egue on the final "e," giving it an "ay" sound) in French.

post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by demelzabunny View Post

Yes!  I saw that episode, too.  Your question is not "What is the etymology of the word 'caramel?'" which our compatriots have so ably provided; your question is: "Is the technique of sauteeing foods until they are brownish/the natural sugars are released a technique defined as 'carEmalized,' as invented by the great French chef Careme, and thusly, the term to describe this process has NOTHING to do with caramel?"  I believe this is so: it is when foods such as vegetables (a mirepoix) or fruit (such as cut-up apples) are sauteed, causing them to release their sugars and begin to turn brown.  That process/technique is called "carEmalization" or "carEmalize" (accente egue on the final "e," giving it an "ay" sound) in French.



What evidence, if any, do you have to support the contention that Careme invented "browning?"

 

BDL

post #17 of 17

Nevermind.  See Mudbug's post from 2005.  

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