As far as can be determined, sesame is the world's oldest oil-producing plant. Except for Africa and Asia, where sesame is eaten more like a grain, people throughout the world value sesame primarily for the oil pressed from it. This oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, also known as one of the “healthy fats” Thus, it makes a good choice for cooking oil or salad dressings. African slaves brought sesame seeds to this country because they were considered good luck. In Africa they are known as "benne" seeds, which you might see called for in Southern cookbooks.