Vinidarius, a Goth, of noble birth or a scientist, living in Italy. Vinithatharjis is the native name. Of his time and life very little is known. It appears that he was a student of Apicius and that he made certain excerpts from that book which are preserved in the uncial codex of Salmasius, saec. VIII, Paris, lat. 10318.
Vollmer in his Apicius commentary says that Salmasius and his predecessors have accepted them as genuine. Schuch incorporated these recipes in the Apicius text of his editions, in appropriate places, as he thought. This course cannot be recommended, although the recipes should form an integral part of any Apicius edition.
M. Ihm, who faithfully reprinted the excerpta in the Archiv f. lat. Lex. XV, 64 ff. says distinctly: "These excerpts have nothing to do with the ten books of Apicius, even if some recipes resemble each other . . ." and other researchers have expressed the same opinion. Vollmer, however, does not share this view.
If I may be permitted to concur with Vollmer, I would say that the excerpts are quite Apician in character, and that in a sense they fill certain gaps in the Apicius text, although the language is strongly vulgarized which may be readily expected to be the case in the age of Vinidarius.
The recipes of Anthimus, written around A.D. 511 also confirm the close relation existing between Vinidarius and Apicius. Anthimus was the Greek physician to Theodoric I (The Great), Frankish king living in Italy. He was not acquainted with Apicius.
which should be in the house on hand so that there may be nothing wanting in the line of condiments: saffron, pepper, ginger, laser, leaves laurel-bay-nard, myrtle berries, costmary, chervil,2 Indian spikenard, addena,3 cardamon, spikenard.
1 Pigmentorum — specierum — spices. The old pigmentum is really any coloring matter; the word, corrupted to pimento and pimiento is now used for sweet red pepper and also for allspice.
3 Not identified.
Poppy seed, rue seed, rue berries, laurel berries, anise seed, celery seed, seed, lovage seed, rocket seed, coriander seed, cumin, dill, parsley seed, seed, sesam.
Laser root, mint, catnip, sage, cypress, origany, juniper, shallots, bacas timmi,1 coriander, Spanish camomile, citron, parsnips, Ascalonian shallots, bull rush roots, dill, fleabane, Cyprian rush, garlic, legumes,2 marjoram,3 innula,4 silphium, cardamom.
1 Not identified. Perhaps the seed of thyme, though the word bacas would be out of place here.
2 Ospera, i.e., Osperios.
3 Samsucu, i.e., sampsuchum Elderberries?
4 Not identified; perhaps laurus innubus, dried virgin laurel leaves.
Honey, reduced must, reduced wine, apiperium,1 raisin wine.
1 Not identified. We take it to be honey mead, or some other honey preparation, member, piperatum, pepper sauce.
Damascus prunes, dates, raisins, pomegranates.
All of these things store in a dry place so that they may lose neither flavor nor other virtues.
|I||Casserole of Vegetables and Chicken||Caccabina minore|
|II||Stuffed Chartreuse||Caccabina fusile|
|III||Braised Cutlets||Ofellas garatas|
|IV||Roast Meat Balls||Ofellas assas|
|V||Glazed Cutlets||Aliter ofellas|
|VI||Meat Balls with Laser||Ofellas graton|
|VII||Sea Scorpion with Turnips||Pisces soces rapulatas|
|VIII||Any Kind of Fish, Fried||Pisces frixos cuiuscumque generis|
|IX||Fried Fish||Item pisces frixos|
|X||Roast Grilled Fish||Pisces assos|
|XI||Fried Fish and Wine Sauce||Pisces inotogonon|
|XII||Sardines, Baby Tunny, Whiting||Sardas|
|XIII||Fish Stewed in Wine||Item pisces inotogonon|
|XIV||Stewed Mullet with Dull||Mullos anetatos|
|XV||Mullet, Different Style||Aliter mullos|
|XVI||Murena and Eel||Murenas et anguillas|
|XVII||Spiny Lobster and Squill||Lucustas et isquillas|
|XVIII||Boiled Fish||Pisces elixos|
|XIX||A Dish of Sole and Eggs||Patinas oborum|
|XX||Suckling Pig, Coriander Sauce||Porcello coriandratu|
|XXI||Suckling Pig, Wine Sauce||Porcello in occuctu|
|XXII||Pork, Pan Gravy||Porcello eo iure|
|XXIII||Pork Sprinkled with Thyme||Porcello tymmo crapsu|
|XXIV||Pickled Pork||Porcellu exozome|
|XXV||Laser sauce for Pork||Porcellu lasaratu|
|XXVI||Sauce for Pork||Porcellu iuscellu|
|p238 XXVII||Plain Lamb||Agnu simplice|
|XXVIII||Kid and Laser||Hedu Lasaratu|
|XXIX||Thrush, Health Style||Turdos apontomenus|
|XXXI||Sauce for Partridge||Ius in perdices|
1 Brevis cyboru could be nicely and appropriately rendered with "Menu," — something minute, short, — but this list is not a menu in our modern sense. It is an enumeration of recipe names, a summary of dishes contained in the excerpts.
There is considerable variation in the spelling of the names here and in the following. Syllables ending with "u" are invariably abbreviations of "um".
Arrange different kinds of cooked vegetables in a casserole with cooked chicken interspersed, if you like; season with broth and oil, set to boil. Next crush a little pepper and leaves, and mix an egg in with the dressing add this to the vegetables press into the casserole, eliminating the juice.2
1 The dish resembles a chartreuse.
2 Juice should be extracted before the addition of the egg, if the dish is to be unmoulded.
Crush whatever quantity of leaves is required with chervil and one and a quarter part of laurel berries, a medium-sized boiled cabbage, coriander leaves, dissolve with its own juice, steam in the hot ashes, but first place in a mould when stiff unmould on a platter decorate, pour under a well-seasoned sauce, and so serve.1
1 Either the vegetables and chicken of ℞ No. 468 are combined with this dressing or a purée of the above cabbage, etc., is made, which will make this an integral dish. The instructions are vague enough to leave room for this choice; p239but there can be no doubt but what we have here a formula for a vegetable purée or a pudding, a genuine "Chartreuse," such as were prepared in the fancy moulds so popular in old Rome. The "Chartreuse," then, is not original with the vegetarian monks of the monastery by that name, the Carthusians.
Take cooked mallows, leeks, beets, or cooked cabbage sprouts shoots or tender strunks thrushes roast and quenelles of chicken, tidbits of pork or squab chicken and other similar shreds of fine meats that may be available; arrange everything alternately in layers in a mould or in a casserole. Crush pepper and lovage with 2 parts of old wine, 1 part broth, 1 part honey and a little oil. Taste it; and when well mixed and in due proportions put in a sauce pan and allow to heat moderately; when boiling add a pint of milk in which about eight eggs have been dissolved; next pour this spiced custard over the layers of vegetables and meats, heat slowly without allowing to boil and when congealed serve either in the casserole, or carefully unmould the dish on a service platter.2
1 It is interesting to note how the generic terms, salacaccabia and caccabina have degenerated here. In these formulas the terms have lost all resemblance to the former meaning, the original "salt meat boiled in a pot." Such changes are very often observed in the terminology of our modern kitchens, in every language. They make the definition of terms and the classification of subjects extremely difficult. They add much to the confusion among cooks and guests in public dining places and create misunderstandings that only an expert can explain.
2 This dish affords an opportunity for a decorative scheme by the arrangement of the various vegetables and meats in a pleasing and artistic manner, utilizing the various colors and shapes of the bits of food as one would use pieces of stone in a mosaic. Of course, such a design cab be appreciated only if the chartreuse is served unmoulded, i.e. if the cook success in unmoulding it without damaging the structure.
1 Derived from the garum or oenogarum, the wine sauce. These are supposed to be meat balls or cutlets prepared with garum, but the garum is not mentioned in the formula. This also illustrates the interesting etymology of the word. It is not recognized in every-day language because it is a typical technical term, the much complained‑of lingua culinaria. We find, therefore, that — at least in this instance — garum no longer stands for a sauce made from the fish, garus, but that garum has become a generic term for certain kinds of sauces. Danneil renders garatus with lasaratus, which is clearly out of place.
3 The original: et sic frigis. — Frigo is equivalent to frying, drying, parching; the word here has taken on a broader meaning, because the "frying" process is clearly out of question here. It appears that the terminology of frigo and that of asso in the next formula, has not been clearly defined. As a matter of fact, not many modern cooks today are able to give a clear definition of such terms as frying, broiling, roasting, braising, baking, which are thus subject to various interpretations.
Meatballs previously sauté, carefully prepared, arrange in a shallow stew pan and braise them in wine sauce; afterwards serve them in the same sauce or gravy, sprinkled with pepper.
3 Dann. oil; G.‑V. melle — honey. It is quite common to use honey for glazing foods. Today we sprinkle meats (ham) with sugar, exposing it to the open heat to melt it; the sugar thus forms a glaze or crust.
Laser, ginger, cardamom, and a dash of broth; crush this all, mix well, and cook the meat ball therein.2
2 Dann. adds cumin, due perhaps to the faulty reading of the sentence, misces cum his omnibus tritis, etc.
Cook the fish in broth and oil, retire when half done: soak boiled turnips, chop very fine and squeeze them in your hands so that they have no more moisture in them; then combine them with the fish and let them simmer with plenty of oil: and while this cooks, crush cumin, half of that amount of laurel berries, and, because of the color, add saffron; bind with rice flour to give it the right consistency. Add a dash of vinegar and serve.
1 rapa, rapum: white turnip, rape. "turniped."
Crush pepper, coriander seed, laser root, origany, rue, figdates, moisten with vinegar, oil, broth, adding reduced must, all this prepare and mix carefully, place in small casserole to heat. When thoroughly heated, pour over the fried fish, sprinkle with pepper and serve.
Crush pepper, lovage, satury, dry onions, moisten with vinegar, add figdates, dill, yolks of egg, honey, vinegar, broth, oil, reduced must; all this mix thoroughly and underlay the fish with it.
1 The fish was probably broiled on the craticula (see our illustration).
The nature of this sauce is not quite clear. If properly handled, it might turn out to be a highly seasoned mayonnaise, or a vinaigrette, depending on the mode of manipulation; either would be suitable for fried or broiled fish.
Fry the fish; crush pepper, lovage, rue, green herbs, dry onions, add oil wine broth and serve.
1 Ihn and G.‑V. oenoteganon; inotogono and in the Summary of Dishes inotogonon; Sch. eleogaro. Rather an obscure term, owing to the diversity of spelling. We would call it a dish stewed in or prepared with wine, although wine is absent in the present formula. However, it is given in XIII, which bears the same name.
Dann. is obviously mistaken in styling this preparation "oil broth."
Crush pepper, lovage seed, origany, dry onions, hard boiled yolks, vinegar, oil; this must be combined into one2 and underlaid.
1 A kind of small tunny, which, like our herring, used to be pickled or salt, corresponding to the anchovy. A "sardine," from the island of Sardinia; Sardus, the inhabitant of Sardinia.
2 The absence of detailed instructions as to the manipulation of the yolks, oil and vinegar is regrettable; upon them depends the certainty or uncertainty of whether the ancients had our modern mayonnaise.
Raw fish any kind you prefer, wash prepare, cut into handy size arrange in a sauce pan; add oil, broth, vinegar, a bunch of leeks and fresh coriander, and cook: Meanwhile crush pepper, origany, lovage with the bunches of leeks and coriander which you have cooked with the fish and pour this preparation into the sauce pan. When the fish is done, retire it and arrange the pieces in the serving dish, casserole, bowl or platter bring the residue in the sauce pan to a boiling point, allow it to reduce slowly to the right consistency Strain the sauce of the fish sprinkle with pepper and serve.
1 Cf. note to XI. This oenoteganon resembles the Bouillabaisse, the famous Marseilles fish chowder. In addition to the above manner it is flavored with saffron. An excellent dish, especially with the judicious addition of onions, parsley, a suspicion of garlic and small sippets of toasted bread.
Prepare the fish clean, wash, trim cut into pieces and place in a sauce pan, adding oil, broth, wine, bunches of leeks, fresh coriander, fresh dill; place on fire to cook. Meanwhile put pepper in the mortar, pound it, add oil, and one part of vinegar and raisin wine to taste. this preparation transfer into a sauce pan, place on the fire to heat, tie with roux, add to the fish in the sauce pan. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.
1 From anethus — dill — which is omitted in formula. Sch. anecatos, i.e. submersos, because the original fails to state the dill in the formula. Such conjecture is not justified.
Scrape, wash, place the fish in a sauce pan, add oil, broth, wine and a bunch of leeks and fresh coriander to the mess, set on the fire to cook. Crush pepper, lovage, origany, moisten with some of the p244fish's own liquor from the sauce pan add raisin wine to taste, put it into a pot and on the fire to heat; tie with roux and presently add it to the contents in the sauce pan1 sprinkle with pepper and serve.
1 It appears that the patina mentioned in this and in the foregoing formula is either a finely wrought metal sauce pan or chafing dish, or a plainer cumana, an earthenware casserole; either of which may be used for service at the table.
It may be noticed how this manner of preparing fish has a tendency to preserve all the savory flavors and juices of the fish, a process in this respect both rational and economical.
Clean the fish and carefully place in a sauce pan. In the mortar put pepper, lovage, origany, mint, dry onions, crush, moisten with a small glass of wine, half of that of broth, and of honey one third part, and a moderate amount of reduced must, say a spoonful. It is necessary that the fish be entirely covered by this liquor so that there may be sufficient juice during the cooking.
1 The ancients considered the murena one of the finest of fish; the best were brought from the straits of Sicily. Rich Romans kept them alive in their fish ponds, often large and elaborate marble basins called piscina, fattened the fish, kept it ready for use. Pollio fattened murenas on human flesh, killing a slave on the slightest provocation and throwing the body into the fish pond; he would eat only the liver of such murenas. This is the only case of such cruelty on record, and it has often been cited and exaggerated.
2 Perhaps the sea-eel, or conger, according to Dann. Also very much esteemed. The witty Plautus names a cook in one of his comedies "Congrio," because the fellow was "slippery."
Crush pepper, lovage, celery seed, pour in vinegar, broth, yolks of hard boiled eggs, mix well together2 p245and dress the boiled shellfish meat with it and serve.
2 Another of Apicii hasty and laconic formulae. No indication as to how to use the ingredients named. According to our notion of eating, there is only one way: The shellfish is boiled in aromatic water, allowed to cool off; the meat is then taken out of the shells; the above named ingredients are combined in a manner of a mayonnaise or a vinaigrette, although the necessary oil is not mentioned here. The dressing is poured over the shellfish meat, and the result is a sort of salad or "cocktail" as we have today.
Crush pepper, lovage, celery seed, origany which moisten with vinegar; add pine nuts, figdates1 in sufficient quantity, honey, vinegar, broth, mustard, mix and combine properly and bring forth.
1 Dann. is undecided as to whether this is dates or date wine; Goll. thinks it is mustard seed, which is not so bad gastronomically; but the original leaves no room for any doubt.
Scale skin clean the soles, place in a shallow sauce pan, add broth, oil, white wine, a bunch of leeks and coriander seed, place on fire to cook, grind a little pepper, origany, moisten with the fish liquor from the sauce pan. Take 10 raw eggs, beat them and mix with the remaining liquor; put it all back over the fish, and on a slow fire allow to heat without boiling and thicken to the right consistency; sprinkle with pepper.1
Roast the pig carefully; make thus a mortar mixture: pound pepper, dill, origany, green coriander, p246moisten with honey, wine, broth, oil, vinegar, reduced must. All of this when hot pour over the roast sprinkle raisins, pine nuts and chopped onions over and so serve.
Take the pig, garnish with a marinade of herbs, etc. cook roast it with oil and broth. When done, put in the mortar pepper, rue, laurel berries, broth, raisin wine or reduced wine, old wine, crush all, mix and prepare to a point; dress the pig on a showy service2 platter and serve.
1 i.e. oenococtum, cooked or prepared in wine sauce.
2 Dann. is of the opinion that the pig is cooked in a copper vessel, because the instructions are to serve it in patinam aheneam.
Thayer's Note: Danneil must surely have thought the pig was cooked in a bronze vessel because that's what the recipe is titled: aenococtum, "cooked in bronze". From in patinam aheneam, on the other hand — if anything can be deduced from the bad Latin that characterizes the whole book — my conclusion would be exactly the reverse. In + accusative (aheneam) marks motion; the instruction at the end is therefore to put it into a bronze platter: if the pig were cooked in such a platter and left there, one would expect the ablative ahenea.
On balance, without being overly affirmative, I'd plump for oenococtum and a copyist distracted by the aheneam at the end: dressed with a wine glaze and nicely set off on a decorative bronze platter.
Roast the pig in its own juice; when done retire; bind the gravy with roux; strain put in a sauce boat and serve.
Milk-fed pig, killed on the previous day, boil with salt and dill; transfer it into cold water, carefully keeping it submerged, to preserve its whiteness. Thereupon make a cold dressing of the following green savory herbs, fresh thyme, a little fleabane, hard boiled eggs, onions, everything chopped fine, sprinkle everything over the pig which has been taken out of the water and allowed to drip off and season with a pint of broth, one measure of oil, one of raisin wine, and so present it.1
1 We would first mix the liquid components of this dressing with the chopped ingredients and then spread the finished dressing over the pig. Our author, no doubt, had this very process in mind.
Garnish prepare and marinate the pig correctly and place it in a liquor prepared as follows: put in the mortar 50 grains of pepper, as much honey2 as is required, 3 dry onions, a little green or dry coriander, a pint of broth, 1 sextarius of oil, 1 pint of water; all this put in a stew pan [braisière] place the pig in it; when it commences to boil, stir the gravy quite frequently3 so as to thicken it. Should the broth thus be reduced by evaporation add another pint of water. In this manner cook [braise] the pig to perfection and serve it.
1 exodionum, and in the Summary of Dishes, exozome, i.e. oxyzomum. It is curious to note the various spellings and meanings of oxyzomum. This is supposed to be a sour sauce or an acid preparation of some kind, yet this recipe does not mention acids. In fact, the presence of honey would make it a sweet preparation. We take it, the "garnish" contains the necessary vinegar or other acids such as lemon juice, wine, etc. Oxyzomum is properly rendered "pickle."
2 Dann. oil, occurring twice in his version.
3 saepius; Dann. confusing saepe with caepa, renders this "onions sauce." The same occurs to him in XXVII.
In the mortar pound pepper, lovage, caraway, a little cumin, live laser, laser root, moisten with vinegar, add pine nuts, figdates, honey, vinegar, broth, prepared mustard, finish with oil to taste, and pour over the roast pig.
In the mortar put pepper, lovage, or anise, coriander, rue, a laurel berry, pound all, moistening with broth, add leeks, raisin wine, or a little honey, a little wine, and a like amount of oil. When this has been cooked tie with roux.
Of the skinned lamb make small cutlets which wash carefully and arrange in a sauce pan, add oil, broth, wine, leeks, coriander cut with the knife; when it commences to boil, stir very frequently2 and serve.
1 Unquestionably the ancient equivalent for "Irish Stew."
The well-cleaned guts of a kid fill with a preparation of pepper, broth, laser, oil,1 and put them back into the carcass which sew tightly and thus cook [roast] the kid whole. When done put in the mortar rue, laurel berries, and then serve the kid which meanwhile has been retired from the pot with its own drippings or gravy.
1 There being only liquids for this filling of the guts, a more solid substance, such as pork forcemeat, eggs, or cereals would be required to make an acceptable filling for the casings of the kid. Furthermore sausage, for such is this in fact, must be thoroughly cooked before it can be used for the filling of the carcass, as not suplift heat would penetrate the interior during the roasting to cook any raw dressing.
Crush pepper, laser, laurel berry, mix in cumin2 garum and stuff the thrush with this preparation3 through the throat,4 tying them with a string. Thereupon make this preparation in which they are cooked: consisting of oil, salt water,5 dill and heads of leeks.
1 Cf. Summary of Dishes; term not identified, derived from Greek, meaning to drive away all stomach ills.
2 We use juniper berries today instead of cumin.
p249 4 Thrush and other game birds of such small size are not emptied in the usual way: they are cooked with the entrails, or, the intestines are taken out, seasoned, sauté, and are either put back into the carcasses, or are served separately on bread croutons. In this instance, the necessary seasoning is introduced through the throat, a most ingenious idea that can only occur to Apicius.
5 In other instances we have pointed out where a small amount of water was used to clarify the oil used for frying foods. The presence here of water leads us to believe that the thrush were not "cooked," i.e. "boiled" but that they were fried in a generous amount of oil; this would make the ancient process remarkably similar to the present European way of preparing thrush or fieldfare, or similar game birds.
For water used to clarify oil see note 3 to ℞ No. 250.
Open them, prepare [marinate] carefully; crush pepper, laser, a little broth, immerse the doves in this preparation so that it will be absorbed by them, and thus roast them.
Crush in the mortar pepper, celery, mint, and rue; moisten with vinegar, add figdate wine, honey, vinegar, broth, oil; let it boil likewise and serve.
1 This formula evidently is a fragment.
End of the Summary of Dishes of the Excerpts of Vinidarius
Explicit brevis ciborum.
a While inlustris (illustris) does mean "illustrious", during the waning years of the Roman Empire the word was also, and chiefly, a specific title. For details, see Hodgkin, Italy and Her Invaders1, p209 or Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, Vol. I, p19.
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: 6 Jul 12