Sesame oil, which gives a warm zest to so many dishes in Asian cuisine, is said to have originated at least 3,000 years ago, though the debate exists as to whether it was first produced in Africa or in India. It is widely believed that as early as the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) families were processing it in their homes, and it was at first used as a household fuel. Sesame oil was also used for making exotic perfumes, dating back to the Babylonians, circa 2100 to 689 BCE. And the Chinese are said to have used the oil for their stick ink more than 5,000 years ago.
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