Sunday, January 14, 2007

Chatta

Peppers are on my short list of favorite foods, and Solanaceæ is almost certainly the favorite food family.  (So there, Bovidæ lovers!)  When visiting markets of any sort, I am always on the lookout for hot pepper sauces.  It can be tricky finding the hot ones, since even the same kind will almost always vary in hotness from brand to brand, just like Southwestern American hot sauces do.  (We usually have to ask the proprietor, who sometimes doesn't remember.)

Some time ago, on one of the first trips to a local Lebanese grocery store, in the jars of pepper sauces from Syria and Lebanon were some labeled "Chatta."  This gave a moment's pause, until a jar was turned around to reveal شطّة shatta.  Transliteration works just as well into French as English.  This is an Arabic word for peppers and for a hot sauce made from them.  And I have since found that chatta is a quite common spelling even among Lebanese-Americans to refer to the latter.

The purpose of this short post is to call attention to the very comprehensive Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages (it's over there on the right under Tools).  When I first encountered it, again a while ago, I naturally went to its Chile page, like at a market, where near the top of a list that even includes Georgian წიწაკა cicaka is Arabic شَطَّة shatta.  Remembering chatta, I checked the German version of the page, but no, it doesn't switch transliteration schemes to schatte.

I now see that Katzer's Coconut page has a list which overlaps (with some variation) with one I had in an earlier post here.  It lists two Tamil words, which I didn't until a comment pointed out my confusion.  As I said, I already had the site bookmarked, though I hadn't honestly thought of coconut as a spice; but it's right there at the top when I Google for "தேங்காய் coconut" to double check my update.  Furthermore, it mentions نارگیله nārgileh 'water pipe,' as LanguageHat suggested in his comment on the post.  My mistake.

Peppers will probably be the subject of longer posts, when I come up with more interesting things to say.

0 comments: