|Chap. I||Sow's Womb, Cracklings, Bacon, Tenderloin, Tails and Feet.|
|Chap. II||Sow's Belly.|
|Chap. III||Fig-fed Pork.|
|Chap. IV||Tid-bits, Chops, Steaks.|
|Chap. VI||Boiled and Stewed Meats.|
|Chap. VIII||Loins and Kidneys.|
|Chap. IX||Pork Shoulder.|
|Chap. X||Livers and Lungs.|
|Chap. XI||Home-made Sweets.|
|Chap. XII||Bulbs, Tubers.|
|Chap. XV||Taros, Dasheens.|
[In addition to the above chapters two more are inserted in the text of Book VII, namely Chap. X, Fresh Ham and Chap. XI, To Cook Salt Pork; these being inserted after Chap. IX, Pork Shoulder, making a total of XIX Chapters.]
Sterile sow's womb (also udder and belly) is prepared in this manner: take2 laser from Cyrene or Parthia, vinegar and broth.
1 The vulva of a sow was a favorite dish with the ancients, considered a great delicacy. Sows were slaughtered before they had a litter, or were spayed for the purpose of obtaining the sterile womb.
2 2 Tor. sentence wanting in other texts.
Take pepper, celery seed, dry mint, laser root, honey, vinegar and broth.
With pepper, broth and Parthian laser.
With pepper, lovage1 and broth and a little condiment.
1 Wanting in Lister.
Serve with pepper, broth and laser (which the Greeks call "silphion").2
Envelope in bran, afterwards1 put in brine and then cook it.
1 We would reverse the process: first pickle the vulva, then coat it with bran (or with bread crumbs) and fry.
Sow's udder or belly with the paps on it is prepared in this manner:1 the belly boil, tie it together with reeds, sprinkle with salt and place it in the oven, or, start roasting on the gridiron. Crush pepper, lovage, with broth, pure wine, adding raisin wine to taste, thicken the sauce with roux and pour it over the roast.
1 Tor. sentence wanting in other texts.
1 Tor. De Sycoto, id est, Ficato.
1 Tor. Ficatum, iecur suillum.
2 Tor. sentence wanting in other texts.
3 Reinsenius, ficatum [or sicatum] .
According to the invention of Marcus Apicius, pigs were starved, and the hungry pigs were crammed with dry figs and then suddenly given all the mead they wanted to drink. The violent expansion of the figs in the stomachs, or the fermentation caused acute indigestion which killed the pigs. The livers were very much enlarged, similar to the cramming of geese for the sake of obtaining abnormally large livers. This latter method prevailed in the Strassburg District until recently when it was prohibited by law.
Goll. Stick figs into the liver by making apertures with the knife or with a needle.
It is by no means clear that the liver is meant.
1 G.‑V. Ofellae; apparently the old Roman "Hamburger Steak." The term covers different small meat pieces, chops, steaks, etc.
Prepare the meat in this manner2 Clean the meat of bones, sinews, etc. Scrape it as thin as a skin and shape it. Crush pepper, lovage, cumin, carraway, silphium, one laurel berry, moistened with broth; in a square dish place the meat balls and the spices where they remain in pickling for two or three days, covered crosswise with twigs. Then place them in the oven to be roasted, when done take the finished meat balls out. Crush pepper, lovage, with the broth, add a little raisin wine to sweeten. Cook it, thicken with roux, immerse the balls in the sauce and serve.
1 Ostia, town at the mouth of the river Tiber, Rome's harbour.
2 Tor. sentence wanting in other texts.
Bone the meat for the (roulades — a pork loin — roll it, tie it) oven, shape round, cover with or wrap in rushes. Roast. When done, retire, allow to drip and dry on the gridiron but so that the meat does not harden. Crush pepper, lovage, rush,1 cumin, adding broth and raisin wine to taste. Place the roulades with this sauce together in a sauce pan; finish by braising. When done, retire the roulades and dry them. Serve without the gravy sprinkled with pepper. If too fat remove the outer skin.2
1 Cyperis, -os, -um, cypirus, variants for a sort of rush; probably "Cyprian Grass."
2 Dann. Dumplings; but this formula appears to deal with boneless pork chops, pork roulades or "filets mignons."
In the same manner you can make tidbits of sow's belly2 pork chops to be prepared in a manner to resemble wild boar are3 pickled in oil and broth and placed in spices. When the cutlets are done (marinated) the pickle is placed on the fire and boiled; the cutlets are put back into this gravy and are finished with crushed pepper, spices, honey, broth, and roux. When this is done serve the cutlets without the broth and oil, sprinkled with pepper.
1 G.‑V. Aprugineo; list Ofellae Aprugneae, i.e. wild boar chops or cutlets. Vat. MS. aprogneo more; Tor. pro genuino more; Tac. aprogeneo — from aprugnus, wild boar.
Mutton today is prepared in a similar way, marinated with spices, etc., to resemble venison, and is called Mouton à la Chasseur, hunter style.
2 This sentence, probably belonging to the preceding formula, carried over by Torinus.
3 This sentence only in Torinus.
The balls or cutlets are1 properly fried in the pan, nearly done. Next prepare the following: one whole2 glass broth, a glass of water, a glass of vinegar and a glass of oil, properly mixed; put this in an earthen baking dish, immerse meat pieces, finish on the fire and serve.
1 Tor. sentence wanting in other texts.
2 The texts have two formulae; by the transposition of the two sentences p164 the formula appears as a whole and one that is intelligible from a culinary point of view.
3 The texts have: in aqua recte friguntur the presumably belongs to the cumin pickle. To fry in water is not possible.
1 Tor. De assaturae exquisitae apparatu.
Simply put the meats to be roasted in the oven, generously sprinkled with salt, and serve it glazed with honey.2
1 Brandt adds "plain."
2 Corresponding to our present method of roasting; fresh and processed ham is glazed with sugar.
Roasting in the oven is not as desirable as roasting on the spit, universally practised during the middle ages. The spit seems to have been unknown to the Romans. It is seldom used today, although we have improved it by turning it with electrical machinery.
Take 6 scruples of parsley, of laser1 just as many, 6 of ginger, 5 laurel berries, 6 scruples of preserved laser root, Cyprian rush 6, 6 of origany, a little costmary, 3 scruples of chamomile or pellitory, 6 scruples of celery seed, 12 scruples of pepper, and broth and oil as much as it will take up,2
1 G.‑V. asareos [?] Asarum, the herb foalbit, wild spikenard.
2 No directions are given for the making of this compound which are essential to insure success of this formula. Outwardly it resembles some of the commercial sauces made principally in England (, etc.), which are served with every roast.
Crush dry myrtle berries with cumin and pepper, adding honey also broth, reduced must and oil. Heat and bind with roux. Pour this over the roast that is medium done, with salt; sprinkle with pepper and serve.
6 scruples pepper, 6 scruples lovage, 6 scruples parsley, 6 scruples celery seed, 6 scruples dill, 6 scruples laser root, 6 scruples wild spikenard,1 6 scruples Cyprian rush, 6 scruples carraway, 6 scruples cumin, 6 scruples ginger, a pint of broth and a spoonful oil.
1 Tor. assareos; cf. note 1 to ℞ No. 267.
Put in a braisière2 and boil pepper, spices, honey, broth; and heat this with the meat in the oven. The neck piece itself, if you like, is also roasted with spices and the hot gravy is simply poured over at the moment of serving.3
1 A piece of meat from the neck of a food animal, beef, veal, pork; a muscular hard piece, requiring much care to make it palatable, a "pot roast."
2 A roasting pan especially adapted for braising tough meats, with close-fitting cover to hold the vapors.
3 Tor. combines this and the foregoing formula. G.‑V. siccum calidum, for hot gravy. Perhaps a typographical error for succum.
Pepper, lovage, origany, rue, silphium, dry onion, wine, reduced wine, honey, vinegar, a little oil, boiled down, strained through a cloth and poured under the hot cooked meats.1
1 A very complicated sauce for boiled viands. Most of the ingredients are found in the Worcestershire sauce.
Make it thus: [Tor.] pepper, parsley, broth, vinegar, fig-dates, onions, little oil, poured under very hot.
Crush pepper, dry rue, fennel seed, onion, fig-dates, with broth and oil.
White sauce he says boiled dishes is made thus:2 pepper, broth, wine, rue, onions, nuts, a little spice, bread soaked to the saturation point, oil, which is cooked and spread under the meat.
1 Our present bread sauce, somewhat simpler, but essentially the same as the Apician sauce, is very popular with roast partridge, pheasant and other game in England.
2 Tor. sentence wanting in other texts.
Another white sauce for boiled dishes contains: pepper, carraway, lovage, thyme, origany, shallots, dates, honey, vinegar, broth and oil.
1 Lacking definite description of the copadia it is hard to differentiate between them and the offellae. — Cupedia (Plaut. and Gell.), nice dainty dishes, from cupiditas, appetite, desire for dainty fare. Hence Cupedinarius (Terent.) and Cupediarius (Lamprid.) a seller or maker of dainties, a confectioner.
2 Damascena they correspond apparently to our present stewed (dried) prunes. It is inconceivable how this sauce can be white in color, but, as a condiment and if taken in small quantity, it has our full approval.
3 G.‑V. agitabis, i.e. stir the sauce with a whip of thyme and origany twigs. Cf. note to following.
2 G.‑V., rue wanting.
3 An ingenious way to impart a very subtle flavor. The sporadic discoveries of such very subtle and refined methods (cf. notes to ℞ No. 15) should dispell once and for all time the old theories that the ancients were using spices to excess. They simply used a greater variety of flavors and aromas than we do today, but there is no proof that spices were used excessively. The great variety of flavors at the disposal of the ancients speaks well for the refinement of the olfactory sense and the desire to bring variety into their fare. Cf. ℞ Nos. 345, 369 and 385.
1 Tor. [sic!] spicam nardi — sentence wanting in other texts. G.‑V. nardostachyam, spikenard.
2 A fagot of Satury and leeks. Cf. notes to ℞ Nos. 276 and 277.
Pepper, celery seed, carraway, satury, saffron, shallots, toasted almonds, figdates, broth, oil and a little mustard; color with reduced must.
Pepper, lovage, parsley, shallots, toasted almonds, dates, honey, vinegar, broth, reduced must and oil.
Chop hard eggs, pepper, cumin, parsley, cooked leeks, myrtle berries, somewhat more honey, vinegar, broth and oil.
Pepper, dill seed, dry mint, laser root, pour under: vinegar, date wine, honey, broth, and a little mustard, reduced must and oil to taste; and serve it with roast pork shoulder.
Pepper, lovage, carraway, celery seed, thyme, shallots, dates, fish brine,1 strained honey, and wine to taste; sprinkle with chopped green celery and oil and serve.
1 G.‑V. allecem; Tor. Halecem.
Clean the paunch of a suckling pig well with salt and vinegar and presently wash with water. Then fill it with the following dressing: pieces of pork pounded in the mortar, three brains — the nerves removed — mix with raw eggs, add nuts, whole pepper, and sauce to taste. Crush pepper, lovage, silphium, anise, ginger, a little rue; fill the paunch with it, not too much, though, leaving plenty of room for expansion lest it bursts while being cooked. Put it in a pot with boiling water, retire and prick with a needle so that it does not burst. When half done, take it out and hang it into the smoke to take on color; now boil it over again and finish it leisurely. Next take the broth, some pure wine and a little oil, open the paunch with a small knife. Sprinkle with the broth and lovage; place the pig near the fire to heat it, turn it around in bran or bread crumbs immerse in sprinkle with brine and finish the outer crust to a golden brown.1
1 The good old English way of finishing a roast joint called dredging.
Lister has this formula divided into two; Danneil and Schuch make three different formulas out of it.
Split them into two parts so that they are spread out1 sprinkle the opening with crushed pepper and ditto nuts, finely chopped coriander and crushed fennel seed. The tenderloins are then rolled up to be roasted; tie together, wrap in caul, parboil in oil2 and broth, and then roast in the oven or broil on the gridiron.
1 "Frenched," the meat here being pork tenderloin.
2 G.‑V. best broth and a little oil, which is more acceptable.
The ham should be braised with a good number of figs and some three laurel leaves; the skin is then pulled off and cut into square pieces; these are macerated with honey. Thereupon make dough crumbs of flour and oil1 lay the dough over or around the ham, stud the top with the pieces of the skin so that they will be baked with the dough bake slowly and when done, retire from the oven and serve.2
1 Ordinary pie or pastry dough, or perhaps a preparation similar to streusel, unsweetened.
2 Experimenting with this formula, we have adhered to the instructions as closely as possible, using regular pie dough to envelop the parboiled meat. The figs were retired from the sauce pan long before the meat was done and they were served around the ham as a garnish. At any consequence we partook of a grand dish that no inmate of Olympus would have sneezed at.
In Pompeii an inn-keeper had written the following on the wall of his establishment: Ubi perna cocta est si convivae apponitur non gustat pernam linguit ollam aut caccabum.
When we first beheld this message we took the inn-keeper for a humorist and a clever advertiser; but now we are convinced that he was in earnest when he said that his guests would lick the sauce pan in which his hams were cooked.
Ham simply cooked in water with figs is usually dressed on a platter baking pan sprinkled with crumbs and reduced wine, or, still better, with spiced wine and is glazed under the open flame, or with a shovel containing red-hot embers.
1 Perna is usually applied to shoulder of pork, fresh, also cured. Coxa is the hind leg, or haunch of pork, or fresh ham. Cf. note 1 to ℞ No.289.
A fresh ham is cooked with 2 pounds of barley and 25 figs. When done skin, glaze the surface with a fire shovel full of glowing coals, spread honey over it, or, what's better: put it in the oven covered with honey. When it has a nice color, put in a sauce pan raisin wine, pepper, a bunch of rue and pure wine to taste. When this sauce is done, pour half of it over the ham and in the other half soak specially made ginger bread3 The remnant of the sauce after most of it is thoroughly soaked into the bread, add to the ham.4
1 Musteus, fresh, young, new; vinum mustum, new wine, must. Properly perhaps, Petasonem ex mustaceis; cf. note 3.
2 Hum. verum petaso coxa cum crure [shank] esse dicitur. . . .
Plainly, we are dealing here with fresh, uncured ham.
3 A certain biscuit or cake made of must, spices and pepper, perhaps baked on laurel leaves. Mustaceus was a kind of cake, the flour of which had been kneaded with must, cheese, anise, etc., the cake was baked upon laurel leaves.
4 Tor. continues without interruption. He has the three foregoing formulae thrown into one.
Cover with water and cook with plenty of dill; sprinkle with a little oil and a trifle of salt.
1 Lister, at this point, has forgotten his explanation of laridum, and now accepts the word in its proper use. This rather than belated correction by Lister p171 confirms the correctness of our own earlier observations. Cf. note to ℞ Nos. 41 and 148.
Cook thus: make a mixture of water, mead, eggs and milk in which thoroughly soak the sliced liver. Stew the liver in wine sauce, sprinkle with pepper and serve.
1 G.‑V. Iecinera haedina.
Liver and lung are also cooked in this way:1 soak well in milk, strain it off if offensive in taste2 Break 2 eggs and add a little salt, mix in a spoonful honey and fill the lung with it, boil and slice.3
2 Lungs of slaughtered animals are little used nowadays. The soaking of livers in milk is quite common; it removes the offensive taste of the gall.
3 G.‑V. continue without interruption.
1 Edible intestines, livers, lung, kidney, etc., are thus named.
2 list, Tor., G.‑V., have both recipes in one. Dann. is in doubt whether to separate them or not.
Little home confections (which are called dulciaria) are made thus:2 little palms or (as they p172 are ordinarily called)3 dates are stuffed — after the seeds have been removed — with a nut or with nuts and ground pepper, sprinkled with salt on the outside and are candied in honey and served.4
1 Dulcia, sweetmeats, ; hence Dulciarius, a pastry cook or confectioner.
The fact that here attention is drawn to home-made sweet dishes may clear up the absence of regular baking and dessert formulae in Apicius. The trade of the Dulciarius was so highly developed at that time that the professional bakers and confectioners supplied the entire home market with their wares, making it convenient and unprofitable for the domestic cook to compete with their organized business, a condition which largely exists in our modern highly civilized centers of population today. Cf. "Cooks."
4 Still being done today in the same manner.
Grate scrape, peel some very best fresh aphros1 and immerse in milk. When saturated place in the oven to heat but not to dry out; when thoroughly hot retire from oven, pour over some honey, stipple the fruit so that the honey may penetrate, sprinkle with pepper2 and serve.
1 Tor., Tac., Lan. musteos aphros; Vat. MS., G.‑V. afros; list apios, i.e. celery, which is farthest from the mark. Goll. interprets this a "cider apple," reminiscent, probably, of musteos, which is fresh, new, young, and which has here nothing to do with cider.
Aphros is not identified. Perhaps the term stood for Apricots (Old English Aphricocks) or some other African fruit or plant; Lister's celery is to be rejected on gastronomical grounds.
The above treatment would correspond to that which is given apricots and peaches today. They are peeled, immersed in cream and sweetened with sugar. Apicius' heating of the fruit in milk is new to us; it sounds good, for it has a tendency to parboil any hard fruit, make it more digestible and reduce the fluid to a creamy consistency.
2 The "pepper" again, as pointed out in several other places, here is some spice of agreeable taste as are used in desserts today.
Break slice fine white bread, crust removed, into rather large pieces which soak in milk and beaten eggs fry in oil, cover with honey and serve.1
1 "French" Toast, indeed! — Sapienti sat!
1 G.‑V. Piperato mittis. Piperatum is a dish prepared with pepper, any spicy dish; the term may here be applied to the bowl in which the porridge is served. Tac. Dulcia piperata mittis.
2 Dann. Almonds.
Crush pepper, nuts, honey, rue, and raisin wine with milk, and cook the mixture1 with few eggs well worked in, cover with honey, sprinkle with crushed nuts, etc. and serve.
1 Tractam, probably with a starch added, or else it is a nut custard, practically a repetition of ℞ Nos. 128 and 142.
Take a preparation similar1 to the above and in the hot water bath or double boiler make a very hard porridge of it. Thereupon spread it out on a pan and when cool cut it into handy pieces like small cookies. Fry these in the best oil, take them out, dip into hot honey, sprinkle with pepper2 and serve.
1 This confirms the assumption that some flour or meal is used in ℞ No. 298 also without which this present preparation would not "stand up."
2 It is freely admitted that the word "pepper" not always stands for the spice that we know by this name. Cf. note 2 to ℞ No. 295 et al.
Is to prepare this with milk instead of water.
Estimate the amount of milk necessary for this dish and sweeten it with honey to taste; to a pint1 of fluid take 5 eggs; for half a pint2 dissolve 3 eggs in milk and beat well there is incorporate thoroughly, strain through a colander into an earthen dish and cook on a slow fire in p174 hot water bath in oven. When congealed sprinkle with pepper and serve.3
2 ad heminam.
3 Dann. calls this a cheese cake, which is far-fetched conclusion, although standard dictionaries say that the Tyropatina is a kind of cheese cake. It must be borne in mind, however, that the ancient definition of "custard" is "egg cheese," probably because of the similarity in appearance and texture.
Cf. ℞ Nos. 129 and 143.
Four eggs in half a pint of milk and an ounce of oil well beaten, to make a fluffy mixture; in a pan put a little oil, and carefully add the egg preparation, without letting it boil2 however. Place it in the oven to let it rise and when one side is done, turn it out into a service platter fold it pour over honey, sprinkle with pepper3 and serve.4
1 Dann. misled by the title, interprets this dish as "Floating Island"; he, the chef, has completely misunderstood the ancient formula.
2 Tor. sinas bullire — which is correct. list facies ut bulliat — which is monstrous.
4 Tor. continues without interruption.
Prepare cottage cheese either with honey and broth brine or with salt, oil and chopped coriander.2
1 G.‑V. Melca . . . stum; list mel castum, refined honey; Tac. Mel caseum; Tor. mel, caseum. Cf. ℞ No. 294.
2 To season cottage (fresh curd) cheese today we use salt, pepper, cream, carraway or chopped chives; sometimes a little sugar.
Serve with oil, broth and vinegar, with a little cumin sprinkled over.
Soak1 the bulbs and parboil them in water; thereupon fry them in oil. The dressing make thus: take thyme, flea-bane, pepper, origany, honey, vinegar, reduced wine, date wine, if you like2 broth and a little oil. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.
1 Tor. tundes; probably a typographical error, as this should read fundis, i.e. infundis. Wanting in the other texts.
Cook the bulbs into a thick purée1 and season with thyme, origany, honey, vinegar, reduced wine, date wine, broth and a little oil.
1 Tundes, i.e. mash. Practically a correction of ℞ No. 305, repeated by Tor.
Cooked in water they are conducive to love2 and are therefore also served at wedding feasts, but also seasoned with pignolia nut or with the juice of colewort, or mustard, and pepper.
1 The first instance in Apicius where the monotony and business-like recital of recipes is broken by some interesting quotation or remark.
Brandt is of the opinion that this remark was added by a posterior reader.
2 The texts: qui Veneris ostium quaerunt — "seeke the mouth of Venus."
This favourite superstition of the ancients leads many writers, as might be expected, into fanciful speculations. Humelberg, quoting Martial, says: Venerem mirè stimulant, unde et salaces à Martiali vocantur. I.xiii, Ep. 34:
Cum sit anus conjunx, cum sint tibi mortua membra
Nil aliud, bulbis quam Satur esse potes.
We fail to find this quotation from Varro in his works, M. Teren. Varro's De Re Rustica, Lugduni, 1541, but we read in Columella and Pliny that the buds or shoots of reeds were called by some "bulbs," by others "eyes," and, remembering that these shoots make very desirable vegetables when properly cooked, we feel inclined to include these among the term "bulbs." Platina also adds the squill or sea onion to this category. Nonnus, p84, Diaeteticon, Antwerp, 1645, quotes Columella as saying: Jam Magaris veniant genitalia semina Bulbi.
Are served with wine sauce [Oenogarum].
1 It is noteworthy that the term spongiolus which creates so much misunderstanding in Book II is not used here in connection with mushrooms. Cf. ℞ No. 115.
Morels are cooked quickly in garum and pepper, taken out, allowed to drip; also broth with crush pepper may be used to cook the mushrooms in.
Pepper, reduced wine, vinegar and oil.
In salt water, with oil, pure wine, and serve with chopped coriander.
Fresh mushrooms are stewed1 in reduced wine with a bunch of green coriander, which remove before serving.
Mushroom stems or buds, very small mushrooms are cooked in broth. Serve sprinkled with salt.
1 Tor. Boletorum coliculi; G.‑V. calyculos.
Scrape [brush] the truffles, parboil, sprinkle with salt, put several of them on a skewer, half fry them; then place them in a sauce pan with oil, broth, reduced wine, wine, pepper, and honey. When done retire the truffles bind the liquor with roux, decorate the truffles nicely and serve.1
1 This formula clearly shows up the master Apicius. Truffles, among all earthly things, are the most delicate and most subtle in flavor. Only a master cook is privileged to handle them and to do them justice.
Today, whenever we are fortunate enough to obtain the best fresh truffles, we are pursuing almost the same methods of preparation as described by Apicius.
The commercially canned truffles bear not even a resemblance of their former selves.
Parboil the truffles, sprinkle with salt and fasten them on skewers, half fry them and then place them in a sauce pan with broth, virgin oil, reduced wine, a little pure wine1 crushed pepper and a little honey; allow them to finish gently and well covered when done, bind the liquor with roux, prick the truffles so they may become saturated with the juice, dress them nicely, and when real hot, serve.
1 Preferably Sherry or Madeira.
If you wish you may also wrap the truffles in caul of pork, braise and so serve them.
Stew the truffles in wine sauce, with pepper, lovage, coriander, rue, broth, honey, wine, and a little oil.
Braise the truffles with pepper, mint, rue, honey, oil, and a little wine. Heat and serve.
Pepper, cumin, silphium, mint, celery, rue, honey, vinegar, or wine, salt or broth, a little oil.
1 Wanting in G.‑V.
Cook the truffles with leeks, salt, pepper, chopped coriander, the very best wine and a little oil.
1 Wanting in Tor.
This, to our notion of eating truffles, is the best formula, save ℞ Nos. 315 and 316.
For the colocasium (which is really the colocasia plant, also called "Egyptian bean" use)2 pepper, cumin, rue, honey, or broth, and a little oil; when done bind with roux3 Colocasium is the root of the Egyptian bean which is used exclusively.4
1 Cf. notes to ℞ Nos. 74, 172, 216, 244; also the copious explanations by Humelberg, fol. 111.
2 Tor. who is trying hard to explain the colocasium. His name, "Egyptian Bean" may be due to the mealiness and bean-like texture of the colocasium tuber; otherwise there is no resemblance to a bean, except, perhaps, the seed pod which is not used for food. This simile has led other commentators to believe that the colocasium in reality was a bean.
The U. S. Department of Agriculture has in recent years imported various specimens of that taro species (belonging to the colocasia), and the plants are now successfully being farmed in the southern parts of the United States, with fair p179 prospects of becoming an important article of daily diet. The Department has favored us repeatedly with samples of the taro, or dasheen, (Colocasium Antiquorum) and we have made many different experiments with this agreeable, delightful and important "new" vegetable. It can be prepared in every way like a potato, and possesses advantages over the potato as far as value of nutrition, flavor, culture and keeping qualities are concerned. As a commercial article, it is not any more expensive than any good kind of potato. It grows where the potato will not thrive, and vice versa. It thus saves much in freight to parts where the potato does not grow.
The ancient colocasium is no doubt a close relative of the modern dasheen or taro. The Apician colocasium was perhaps very similar to the ordinary Elephant-Ear, colocasium Antiquorum Schott, often called caladium esculentum, or tanyah, more recently called the "Dasheen" which is a orion of the French "de Chine" — from China — indicating the supposed origin of this variety of taro. The dasheen is a broad-leaved member of the arum family. The name dasheen originated in the West Indies whence it was imported into the United States around 1910, and the name is now officially adopted.
Mark Catesby, in his Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, London, 1781, describes briefly under the name of arum maximum Aegypticum a plant which was doubtless one of the tanyahs or taros. He says: "This was a welcome improvement among the negroes and was esteemed a blessing; they being delighted with all their African food, particularly this, which a great part of Africa subsists much on."
Torinus, groping for the right name, calls it variously colosium, coledium, coloesium, till he finally gets it right, colocasium.
3 The root or tubers of this plant was used by the ancients as a vegetable. They probably boiled and then peeled and sliced the tubers, seasoning the pieces with the above ingredients, and heated them in bouillon stock and thickened the gravy in the usual way. Since the tuber is very starchy, little roux is required for binding.
4 Afterthought by Tor. printed in italics on the margin of his book.
Take snails and sponge them; pull them out of the shells by the membrane and place them for a day in a vessel with milk and salt.1 Renew the milk daily. Hourly2 clean the snails of all refuse, and when they are so fat that they can no longer retire to their shells fry them in oil and serve p180 them with wine sauce. In a similar way they may be fed on a milk porridge.3
1 Just enough so they do not drown.
2 Wanting in Tor.
3 The Romans raised snails for the table in special places called cochlearia. Fulviusa Hirpinus is credited with having popularized the snail in Rome a little before the civil wars between Caesar and Pompey. If we could believe Varro, snails grew to enormous proportions. A supper of the younger Pliny consisted of a head of lettuce, three snails, two eggs, a barley-cake, sweet wine, refrigerated in snow.
Snails as a food are not sufficiently appreciated by the Germanic races who do not hesitate to eat similar animals and are very fond of such food as oysters, clams, mussels, Cocles, etc., much of which they even eat in the raw state.
The are fried with pure salt and oil and a sauce of laser, broth, pepper and oil is underlaid; or the fried snails are fully covered with broth, pepper and cumin.
Tor. divides this into three articles.
The live snails are sprinkled with milk mixed with the finest wheat flour, when fat and nice and plump they are cooked.
Fried eggs are finished in wine sauce.
Are seasoned with broth, oil, pure wine, or are served with broth, pepper and laser.
Serve pepper, lovage, soaked nuts, honey, vinegar and broth.
End of Book VII
Explicit Apicii polyteles: Liber septimus [Tac.]
a Vehling writes "Fluvius Hirpinus"; a mistake (repeated in Book VIII) that I'd usually just correct and mark with one of my little bullets,º were it not that book after book has picked it up and repeated it: poor scholarship doesn't go back to the original. . . .
The man's name was Fulvius or just maybe Flavius (less likely because it was commoner much later in Rome's history): both are common man's names and both mean "blond". Fluvius is not a personal name, and means "river".
As to his last name, or more properly his nomen, the manuscripts disagree. Mayhoff, the editor of Pliny, believes Lippinus to be the correct reading: H.N. VIII.211; the man is mentioned again in a similar connection at VIII.211.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
if its URL has a total of one *asterisk.
If the URL has two **asterisks,
the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use.
If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 27 Nov 16