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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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musk a glandular secretion of the musk deer and certain other animals, has a strong smell; so strong that ‘the beautiful Hagia Sophia in Istanbul still smells of the musk which was mixed with the mortar when it was built more than a thousand years ago’ (Stobart, 1980). In appropriately discreet quantity or diluted form, musk was formerly used in the kitchen with rosewater to flavour such things as pies but this practice seems to have died out during the 17th century in France and a little later in England. It may be that its fall from grace as a flavouring (together with ambergris and civet) is linked to its passing as a body perfume in favour of floral scents (Corbin 1986).