Sesame seeds are believed to be one of the first condiments as well as one of the first plants to be used for edible oil.
Sesame seed history
The English term sesame traces back to the Arabic simsim, Coptic semsem, and and early Egyptian semsent (the latter being listed in the Ebers Papyrus, a 65-feet-long scroll listing ancient herbs and spices discovered by the famous German Egyptologist, Ebers).
The earliest recorded use of a spice - sesame seed - comes from an Assyrian myth which claims that the gods drank sesame wine the night before they created the earth.
Sesamum indicum, (indicum meaning from India) is native to the East Indies. Usage dates back to 3000 B.C. Over 5,000 years ago, the Chinese burned sesame oil not only as a light source but also to make soot for their ink-blocks.
African slaves brought sesame seeds, which they called benné seeds, to America, where they became a popular ingredient in Southern dishes.
Through the ages, the seeds have been a source of food and oil. Sesame seed oil is still the main source of fat used in cooking in the Near and Far East.