Short URL for this page:
|Chap. I||To Boil All Vegetables Green.|
|Chap. II||Vegetable Dinner, Easily Digested.|
|Chap. IV||Pumpkin, Squash.|
|Chap. V||Citrus Fruit, Citron.|
|Chap. VII||Melon Gourd, Melon.|
|Chap. IX||Young Cabbage, Sprouts, Cauliflower.|
|Chap. XII||Pot Herbs.|
|Chap. XIII||Turnips, Navews.|
|Chap. XIV||Horseradish and Radishes.|
|Chap. XV||Soft Cabbage.|
|Chap. XVI||Field Herbs.|
|Chap. XVIII||Endive and Lettuce.|
|Chap. XXI||Carrots and Parsnips.|
To keep all vegetables green.
Ut omne holus smaragdinum fiat.
All vegetables will remain green if boiled with cooking soda.1
1 Nitrium. Method still in use today, considered injurious to health if copper vessel is used, but the amount of copper actually absorbed by the vegetables is infinitesimal, imperceptible even by the taste. Copper, to be actually harmful would have to be present in such quantity as to make enjoyment impossible.
All green vegetables are suited for this purpose.2 Very young3 beets and well matured leeks are parboiled; arrange them in a baking dish, grind pepper and cumin, add broth and condensed must, or anything else to sweeten them a little, heat and finish them on a slow fire, and serve.
1 V. Ad ventrem, "for the belly," simple home laxative.
2 V. This sentence in Torinus only. Possibly a contraction of the foregoing formula, No. 66.
3 V. minutas, "small," i.e., young.
1 V. Roots of the fern herb.
2 Although these instructions for vegetable dinners are rather vague, they resemble primitive chartreuses — fancy vegetable dishes developed by the Carthusian monks to whom flesh eating was forbidden. Elsewhere in Apicius we shall find the chartreuse developed to a remarkable degree.
Scrub and wash bundles of beets by rubbing them with a little soda.2 Tie them in individual bundles, put into water to be cooked, when done season with reduced must or raisin wine and cumin, p75 sprinkle with pepper, add a little oil, and when hot, crush polypody and nuts with broth, add this to the red-hot pan, incorporating it with the beets, take off the fire quickly and serve.
1 This formula wanting in Tor.
2 V. Ingenious method to skin tender root vegetables, still in vogue today. We remove the skin of tender young root vegetables, carrots, beets, etc., by placing them in a towel, sprinkling them with rock salt and shaking them energetically. The modern power vegetable peeler is really built on the same principle, only instead of salt (which soon melts) carborundum or rough concrete surfaces are used, against which surfaces the vegetables are hurled by the rotary motion; often enough, too much of the skin is removed, however.
Varro beets, that is, black ones2 of which the roots must be cleaned well, cook them with mead and a little salt and oil; boil them down in this liquor so that the roots are saturated thereby; the liquid itself is good drinking. It is also nice to cook a chicken in with them.
1 G.‑V. Betacios; their B. Varrones. Probably named for Varro, the writer on agriculture.
2 Roots on the order of parsnips, salsify, oysterplant.
Another vegetable dish, promoting good health; wash celery, greens and roots, and dry it in the sun: then also cook the tender part and head of leeks in a new1 pot, allowing the water to boil down one third of its volume. Thereupon grind pepper with broth and honey in equal amounts properly measured, mix it in the mortar with the water of the cooked celery, strain, boil again and use it to mask the cooked celery with. If desired, add the sliced root of the celery to it.2
1 1 V. "new," i.e., cook leeks in a separate sauce pan; not together with the celery, which, as the original takes for granted, must be cooked also.
2 V. We would leave the honey out, make a cream sauce from the stock, or, adding bouillon, tie same with a little flour and butter, and would call the dish Stewed Celery and Leeks. The ancient method is entirely rational because the mineral salts of the vegetables are preserved and utilized (invariably observed p76 by Apicius) which today are often wasted by inexperienced cooks who discard these precious elements with the water in which the vegetables are boiled.
1 V. Must be dried before boiling because the cold water clinging to the stalks is likely to chill the boiling water too much in which the asparagus is to be cooked. Apicius here reveals himself as the consummate cook who is familiar with the finest detail of physical and chemical changes which food undergoes at varying temperatures.
The varying editions all agree: asparagos siccabis; Schuch, however, says: "For the insane siciabis I substitute siciabis, isiciabis, prepare with sicio [?] and cook." He even goes on to interpret it cucabis from the Greek kouki, cocoanut milk, and infers that the asparagus was first cooked in cocoanut milk and then put back into water, a method we are tempted to pronounce insane.
2 V. Backwards! G.‑V. rursum in calidam; Tac. rursus in aquam calidam; Tor. ac rursus. . .
This word has caused us some reflection, but the ensuing discovery made it worth while. Rursus has escaped the attention of the other commentators. In this case rursus means backwards, being a contraction from revorsum, h.e. reversum. The word is important enough to be observed.
Apicius evidently has the right way of cooking the fine asparagus. The stalks, after being peeled and washed must be bunched together and tied according to sizes, and the bunches must be set into the boiling water "backwards," that is, they must stand upright with the heads protruding from the water. The heads will be made tender above the water line by rising steam and will be done simultaneously with the harder part of the stalks. We admit, we have never seen a modern cook observe this method. They usually boil the tender heads to death while the lower stalks are still hard.
Though this formula is incomplete (it fails to state the sauce to be served, also that the asparagus must be peeled and bunched, that the water must contain salt, etc.) it is one of the neatest formulae in Apicius. It is amusing to note how the author herein unconsciously reveals what a poor litérateur but what a fine cook he is. This is characteristic of most good practitioners. One may perfectly master the vast subject of cookery, yet one may not be able to give a definition of even a single term, let alone the ability to exactly describe one of the many processes of cookery. Real poets often are in the same predicament; none of them ever explained the art satisfactorily.
3 G.‑V. add to the formula callosiores reddes — give back [eliminate] the p77 harder ones. This sentence blessings to the next article. And Torinus, similar to Humelbergius, renders this sentence ut reddas ad gustum calliores — to render the harder ones palatable — the squash and pumpkin namely — and we are inclined to agree with him.
To have the harder ones palatable, do this:1 Cut the fruit into pieces, boil and squeeze the water out of the boiled fruit and arrange the pieces in a baking dish. Put in the mortar pepper, cumin and silphium, that is, a very little of the laser root and a little rue, season this with stock, measure a little vinegar and mix in a little condensed wine, so that it can be strained2 and pour this liquid over the fruit in the baking dish; let it boil three times, retire from the fire and sprinkle with very little ground pepper.
a A reminder that "pumpkin" and "squash", here and thruout, are approximations. Both are New World plants, and some other type of gourd was meant.
Boil the pumpkin in water like colocasia; grind pepper, cumin and rue, add vinegar and measure out the broth in a saucepan. The pumpkin pieces nicely cut water pressed out are arranged in a saucepan with the broth and are finished on the fire while the juice is being tied with a little roux. Before serving sprinkle with pepper.2
1 1 V. Colocasia Antiquorum belonging to the dasheen or taro family, a valuable tuber, again mentioned in No. 172, 216, 244 and 322. Cf. various notes, principally that to No. 322. Also see U. S. Dept. of Agr. Farmer's Bulletin No. 136, p2. This is a "new" and commercially and gastronomically important root vegetable, the flavor reminding of a combination of chestnuts and potatoes, popularilyº known as "Chinese potatoes" which has been recently introduced by the United States Government from the West Indies where it received the name, Dasheen, derived from de Chine — from China.
2 Tor. continues without interruption into the next formula.
Press the water out of the boiled pumpkin, place in a baking dish, sprinkle with salt, ground pepper, cumin, coriander seed, green mint and a little laser root; season with vinegar. Now add date winea and pignolia nuts ground with honey, vinegar and broth, measure out condensed wine and oil, pour this over the pumpkin and finish in this liquor and serve, sprinkle with pepper before serving.
a The text is usually made to read cariotam, not date wine but just plain date: which to me makes more sense in the context: dates and nuts ground together, with liquids to moisten them.
Boiled Pumpkin stewed in broth with pure oil.
Fried pumpkin served with simple wine sauce and pepper.
Boiled pumpkin fried is placed in a baking pan. Season with cumin wine, add a little oil; finish on the fire and serve.
Fried1 pumpkin, seasoned with pepper, lovage, cumin, origany, onion, wine broth and oil: stew the pumpkin in this in a baking dish, tie the liquid with roux mash and serve in the dish.
1 V. Baking the fruit reduces the water contents, renders the purée more substantial. G.‑V. Tritas — mashed. Tor. connects tritas up with pepper, hence it is doubtful whether this dish of pumpkin is mashed pumpkin.
Stew the pumpkin with a hen, garnish with hard-skinned peaches, truffles; pepper, caraway, and cumin, silphium p79 and green herbs, such as mint, celery, coriander, pennyroyal, cress, wine1 oil and vinegar.
1 Tor. Vinum vel oleum; List. vinum, mel, oleum.
For the preparation of citron fruit we take siler2 from the mountains, silphium, dry mint, vinegar and broth.
1 List. Citrini — a lemon or cucumber squash.
2 Tor. Silerem; List. sil, which is hartwort, a kind of cumin or mountain fennel.
Stew the peeled cucumbers either in broth1 or in a wine sauce; and you will find them to be tender and not causing indigestion.
1 Usually cucumbers are parboiled in water and then finished in broth; most often after being parboiled they are stuffed with forcemeat and then finished in broth.
Peeled cucumbers are stewed with boiled brains, cumin and a little honey. Add some celery seed, stock and oil, bind the gravy with eggs1 sprinkle with pepper and serve.
1 1 Tor. bis obligabis — tie twice — for which there is no reason, except in case the sauce should curdle. List. oleo elixabis — fry in oil — obviously wrong, as the materials for this stew are already cooked. Sch. ovis obligabis — bind with eggs — which is the thing to do in this case.
Cucumbers, pepper, pennyroyal, honey or condensed must, broth and vinegar; once in a while one adds silphium.
Pepper, pennyroyal, honey or condensed must, broth and vinegar; once in a while one adds silphium.
1 Tor. Garum; List. Oenogarum.
2 Liquamen — depending upon the mode of serving the mallows, hot or cold.
2 List. Cimae & Coliculi. Nunc crudi cum condimentis nunc elixati inferentur. Served sometimes raw with dressing, sometimes boiled.
3 Cumin or carraway seed is still used today in the preparation of the delicious "Bavarian" cabbage which also includes wine and other spices.
Cut the stalks in half and boil them. The leaves are mashed and seasoned with coriander, onion, cumin, pepper, raisin wine, or condensed wine and a little oil.
1 Tor. Coliculi assati — sauté, fried; (Remember: Choux de Bruxelles sauté) List. elixati — boiled. G.‑V. Cauliculi elixati.
2 Tor. Superasperges; G.‑V. piper asperges.
Sounds like a salad of cooked cabbage. The original leaves us in doubt as to the temperature of the dish.
The vegetable, seasoned and prepared in the above way is stewed with parboiled leeks.
To the sprouts or stalks, seasoned and prepared as above, are added green olives which are heated likewise.
1 The nuts should not astonish us. The French today have a delicious dish, Choux de Bruxelles aux Marrons — Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts. Sprouts and chestnuts are, of course, cooked separately; the lightly boiled sprouts are sauté in butter; the chestnuts parboiled, peeled, and finished in stock with a little sugar or syrup, tossed in butter and served in the center of the sprouts.
The Apician formula with cereal and raisins added is too exotic to suit our modern taste, but without a question is a nutritious dish and complete from a dietetic point of view.
2 Tor. Superasperges; G.‑V. piper asperges.
1 Tor. Poros bene maturos; G.‑V. maturos fieri.
2 One of the rare instances where Apicius mentions salt in cookery, i.e., salt in a dry form. Pugnum salis — a fist of salt — he prescribes here. Usually it is liquamen — broth, brine — he uses.
3 Tor. is correct in finishing the sentence here. G.‑V. continue et eximes., which is the opening of the next sentence, and it makes a difference in the formula.
Wrap the leeks well in cabbage leaves, having first cooked them as directed above1 and then finish them in the above way.
1 Tor. in primis — first; List., G.‑V. in prunis — hot embers.
Cook the leeks with laurel berries,1 and otherwise treat them and serve as above.
1 Tor. Porros in bacca coctos; List. in cacabo — cooked in a casserole; Sch. bafa embama — steeped, marinated (in oil); G.‑V. in baca coctos. Another way to read this: baca et faba — with beans — is quite within reason. The following formula, 96, is perhaps only a variant of the above.
Brandt: with olives, referring to No. 91 as a precedent.
After having boiled the leeks in water, green string beans which have not yet been prepared otherwise, may be boiled in the leek water1 principally on account of the good taste they will acquire; and may then be served with the leeks.
1 Apicius needed no modern science of nutrition to remind him of the value of the mineral salts in vegetables.
To make a dish of beets that will appeal to your taste1 slice the beets2 with leeks and crush coriander and cumin; add raisin wine,3 boil all down to perfection: bind it, serve the beets separate from the broth, with oil and vinegar.
1 Sentence in Tor.; wanting in List. et al.
2 List. No mention of beets is made in this formula; therefore, it may belong to the foregoing leek recipes. V. This is not so. Here the noun is made subject to the first verb, as is practiced frequently. Moreover, the mode of preparation fits beets nicely, except for the flour to which we object in note 3, below. To cook beets with leeks, spices and wine and serve them (cold) with oil and vinegar is indeed a method that cannot be improved upon.
3 Tac., Tor., List., G.‑V. uvam passam, Farinam — raisins and flour — for which there is no reason. Sch. varianam — raisin wine of the Varianian variety; Bas. Phariam V. inclined to agree with Sch. and Bas.
Cook the beets with mustard seed and serve them well pickled in a little oil and vinegar.
V. Add bay leaves, cloves, pepper grains, sliced onion and a little sugar, and you have our modern pickled beets.
The greens tied in handy bundles, cooked and served with pure oil; also proper with fried fish.
1 Tac. Olisera; Tor. Olifera (sev mauis olyra) Tor. is mistaken. Hum., List. Olisatra; (old MS. note in our Hum. copy: "Alessandrina uulgò") from olusatrum — olus — pot herbs, cabbage, turnips. G.‑V. Holisera, from holus, i.e. olus and from olitor one who raises pot herbs.
1 i.e. Persian laser; List. laser, Parthicum; (the comma makes a difference!) Sch. particum — a part.
2 Tac., Tor., vel acetum; List. G.‑V. mel, acetum. Another comma; and "honey" instead of "or". V. We doubt this: the vinegar is an alternative, for it takes the place of the more expensive Persian laser (which was an essence of the laser root, often diluted with vinegar).
3 List., G.‑V., oleum modice: fervere; Tor. & oleum, quae modice fervere facias. Again note Lister's punctuation here and in the foregoing notes. The misplaced commas and colons raise havoc with the formulae everywhere. Torinus, who in his preface complains that his authority has no punctuation whatsoever and thereby indicates that it must have been a very ancient copy, (at least prior to the 1503 Tac. ed.) is generally not far from the mark. It is also doubtful that the variants are by him, as is claimed by List. In this instance, indeed, Tor. is again correct.
The turnips are boiled, served dressed with oil, to which, if desired, you may add vinegar.2
Pepper the radishes well; or, equally well: grate it with pepper and brine.
The cabbage is cooked with pot herbs in soda water; press the water out chop it very fine: now crush pepper, lovage, dry satury with dry onions, add stock, oil and wine.
Cook celery in soda water, squeeze water out, chop fine. In the mortar crush pepper, lovage, origany, onion and mix with wine and stock, adding some oil. p85 Cook this in the boiler1 and mix the celery with this preparation.
1 in pultario. The pultarius is a pot in which cereals were boiled; from puls — porridge, pap.
Cook the lettuce leaves with onion in soda water, squeeze the water out, chop very fine; in the mortar crush pepper, lovage, celery seed, dry mint, onion; add stock, oil and wine.
It will be required above all to clean the vegetables well, to cut off all decayed parts and to cover the cooked vegetables with wormwood water.
1 Tor. ne . . . exarescat, the difference in the meaning is immaterial.
1 Tor. ac sylvestres; V. German, Feldsalat.
2 Tor. parantur; wanting in other editions.
3 Liquamine, here interpreted as brine.
4 Tac., Sch., et al. a manu; Tor. vel manu — because eaten with the hand.
5 Tor. vel in patina.
1 Tac., List., Sch., et al. adversus aegritudinem.
Barthius: Quam aegritudinem? etc., etc.
Reinsenius: ad arcendum morbum, etc., etc.
p86 Hum. scilicet quamcunque hoc est . . . etc., etc., etc.
G.‑V. si voles.
V. This innocent little superstition about the curative qualities of the female nettle causes the savants to engage in various speculations.
Nettles are occasionally eaten as vegetables on the Continent.
a There's nothing astrological about this: the sun is in Aries in early spring; nettles are young and tender then.
1 Hum. pro lactucis uere Tor. p. l. ; G.‑V. p. l. vero (separated by period) — all indicating that endives are a substitute for lettuce when this is not available.
Dress it with vinegar dressing and a little brine stock; which helps digestion and is taken to counteract inflation.2
1 Tor. sic; Hum. agri l.; Tac. id.; Sch. and G.‑V. have acri as an adjective to vinegar, the last word in the preceding formula.
2 List. and Hum. continuing: "And this salad will not hurt you"; but Tor., Sch. and G.‑V. use this as a heading for the following formula.
And in order that the lettuce may not hurt you take (with it or after it) the following preparation)1 2 ounces of ginger, 1 ounce of green rue, 1 ounce of meaty dates, 12 scruples of ground pepper, 1 ounce of good honey, and 8 ounces of either Aethiopian or Syrian cumin. Make an infusion of this in vinegar, the cumin crushed, and strain. Of this liquor use a small spoonful; mix it with stock and a little vinegar: you may take a small spoonful after the meal.2
1 Tac. and Tor. Ne lactucae laedant [take it] cum zingiberis uncijs duabus, etc. Hum., List., G.‑V. cumini unc. II. They and Sch. read the cum of Tac. and Tor. for cumini, overlooking the fact that the recipe later calls for Aethiopian or p87 Syrian cumin as well. This shifts the weights of the various ingredients from the one to the other, completely upsetting the sense of the formula.
2 Goll. ignores this passage completely. V. This is another of the medical formulae that have suffered much by experimentation and interpretation through the ages. It seems to be an aromatic vinegar for a salad dressing, and, as such, a very interesting article, reminding of our present tarragon, etc., vinegars. To be used judiciously in salads. Again, as might be expected, the medicinal character of the formula inspires the medieval doctors to profound meditation and lively debate. Cf. ℞ Nos. 34 and 108.
Cardoons are eaten with a dressing of briny broth, oil, and chopped hard eggs.
1 Tac. and Tor. vel; List., Sch., G.‑V. mel — honey — which would spoil this fine vinaigrette or cold fines herbes dressing. However, even nowadays, sugar is quite frequently added to salad dressings.
2 Gollmer claims that this dressing is served with cooked cardoons, the recipe for which follows below. This is wanting in Tor.
Are served with pepper, cumin, broth and oil.
Cow-parsnips are fried and eaten with a simple wine sauce.
Boil the parsnips in salt water and season them with pure oil,1 chopped green coriander and whole pepper.
1 Tac. Oleo mero; Other editors: Oleo, mero. V. The comma is misplaced.
Prepare the boiled parsnips with the following sauce: celery seed, rue, honey, ground pepper, mixed with raisin wine, stock and a little oil; bind this with roux, bring to a boiling point, immerse parsnips, sprinkle with pepper and serve.
Mash the parsnips, add cumin, rue, stock, a little condensed wine, oil, green coriander and leeks and serve; goes well with salt pork.2
1 Again faulty punctuation obscures the text. Carefully compare the following: Tac. and Tor. Spondylos teres, cuminum, etc. Hum., List. and G.‑V. S. teres cuminum, i.e. crush the cumin. Sch. S. tores — dry, parch!
2 Inferes pro salso — serve with salt pork or bacon. or, instead of —. Salsum — salt pork. Dann. Well seasoned with salt! Sch. infares pro salsa. For further confirmation of salsum cf. ℞ Nos. 148‑152.
1 Tor. praeduratos; List. praedurabis. How can they be hardened? It may perhaps stand for "parboil." We agree with Tor. that the hard ones (praeduratos) must be cooked soft.
2 Tor. and Tac. Colabis — strain; List. and G.‑V. Colorabis — color. No necessity for coloring the gravy, but straining after the binding with roux is important which proves Tor. correct again. Cf. note 1 to ℞ No. 73 and note 2 to ℞ No. 55.
Finish [marinate] the parsnips in oil and broth, or fry them in oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.
1 Ex G.‑V. wanting in Tor., and List. Found in Sch. also. V. Procedure quite in accordance with modern practice. We envelope the p. in flour or frying batter.
Bruise the boiled parsnips, scallops, muscular part of shellfish, eliminate the hard strings; add boiled spelt and chopped hard eggs, stock and pepper. Make croquettes or sausage from this, adding pignolia nut and pepper, wrap in caul or fill in casings fry and serve them as an entrée dish in a wine sauce.
1 V. This formula is virtually a repetition of ℞ No. 46, all the more bewildering because of the divergence of the term (Cf. ℞ No. 114), which stands for "scallops" or the muscular part of any bivalve, at least in the above formula.
The Graeco-Latin word for cow-parsnip is spondylium, sphondylium, spondylion. It is almost certain that the preceding parsnips formulae are in the right place here. They are in direct line with the other vegetables here treated — the shellfish — spondylus — would be out of place in this chapter, Book III, The Gardener. All the recipes, with the exception of the above, fit a vegetable like parsnips. Even Lister's and Humelberg's interpretation of the term, who read spongioli — mushrooms — could be questioned under this heading, Book III.
It is barely possible that this entire series of formulae, Spondyli uel fonduli (℞ Nos. 114‑121) does belong to Book II among the scallop hysitia, though we are little inclined to accept this theory.
Cf. ℞ No. 122 which appears to be a confirmation of the view expressed above.
Carrots or parsnips are fried and served with a wine sauce.
V. Exactly like ℞ No. 115, which maybe a confirmation that spondyli stands for cow-parsnips.
The carrots are cooked salted and served with pure oil and vinegar.
V. As a salad. "Italian Salad" consists of a variety of such cooked vegetables, nicely dressed with oil and vinegar, or with mayonnaise. Cf. ℞ No. 102.
The carrots are boiled and sliced, stewed with cumin and a little oil and are served. At the same time1 here is your opportunity make a cumin sauce from the carrot juice for those who have the colic.2
1 Ex Tor. wanting elsewhere.
2 Tac. coliorum; Tor. cuminatum colicorum; List. c. coloratum — colored; G.‑V. c. colorium.
End of Book III
Explicit Apicii cepurica de oleribus liber tertius [Tac.]
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: 10 Nov 20