Sesame may be the oldest spice in the world as there are references to its use in Indian mythology, in which it is considered a symbol of immortality.
It’s also one of the oldest cultivated crops. A drawing of a baker sprinkling sesame on a loaf of bread has been found on an ancient Egyptian tomb.
Sesame originated in India and from there spread through the Middle East, arriving in Europe and North America in the 17th century.
Today it’s used mainly in breads and for sprinkling on pies or salads; it’s also used instead of breadcrumbs in some recipes for fried shrimp, chicken, or cheese.
Two popular Greek foods, tahini and halva, are made with sesame.