Short URL for this page:
|Chap. I||Pulse, Meal Mush, Porridge, etc.|
|Chap. IV||Beans or Peas in the Pod.|
|Chap. V||Barley Broth.|
|Chap. VI||Green Beans, Baiaean Beans.|
|Chap. VIII||Green String Beans and Chick-Peas.|
1 List. Osprios; G.‑V. Ospreon — cookery of leguminous plants.
Julian pulses are cooked thus: soak well-cleaned spelt, put it on the fire; when cooked, add oil. If it threatens to become thick, carefully thin it down. Take two cooked brains and half a pound of meat ground as for forcemeat, crush this with the brains and put in a pot. Crush pepper, lovage and fennel seed, moistened with broth, a little p126 wine and put it on top of the brain and meat. When this forcemeat is heated sufficiently, mix it with the spelt, finish boiling; transfer into service dish, thinned. This must have the consistency of a heavy juice.3
1 Puls — formerly a simple porridge of various kinds of cereals or legumes, eaten by the Romans before bread came into use. Puls remained in use after the introduction of bread only as a food of the poor. It was also used at sacrifices. The pultes and pulticulae given by Apicius are illustrations of the ever-present desire to improve — to glorify, as it were, a thing which once was or still is of vital importance in the daily life of humans. The nouveaux-riches of the ancient and the modern world cannot find it easy to separate themselves from their traditions nor are they wont to put up with their plainness, hence the fancy trimmings. The development of the American pie is a curious analogy in this respect. We see in this the intricate working of human culture, its eternal strife for perfection. And perfection is synonymous with decay. The fare of the Carthusian monks, professed, stern vegetarians, underwent the same tortuous evolution.
2 Named for Didius Julianus, the emperor who was a vegetarian. Of course, his majesty could not live on plain porridge, hence the Apician artistry. The pultes were popular with the many professed vegetarians though the obliging cooks mixed finely ground meat in this and other porridges.
Our various cream soups and legume purées — those most salubrious creations of modern cookery are no doubt lineal descendants from the Apician pultes. They are so scarce comparatively because they require all the ingenuity and resourcefulness of a gifted cook to be perfect.
3 Dann. remarks that this formula is wanting in List. Both Lister's first and second editions have it.
1 Tac. inulam; Tor. mulam — misreading.
2 Tor.; List. apponis.
a Thayer: This may well be similar to the previous recipe, but Vehling has fallen into a confusion. Similem, the accusative of similis, would have meant "similar"; but the text, if it does not read inulam with Tac., has similam, accusative of simila, meaning "fine sifted [flour, grain]". This is probably something like semolina gnocchi or maybe couscous.
1 Tor. pulticula tractogala.
2 List. tres orbiculos tractae; Tor. teres sorbiculos tractae.
Tractum is a piece of pastry, a round bread or roll in this case, stale, best suited for this purpose.
3 The text continues without interruption.
Honey and mead are treated similarly, mixed with milk, with the addition of salt and a little oil.
Put the lentils in a clean sauce pan and cook with salt. In the mortar crush pepper, cumin, coriander seed, mint, rue, and flea-bane, moistened with vinegar, add honey and broth and reduced must, vinegar to taste and put this in a sauce pan. The cooked cow-parsnips crush, heat mix with the lentils. When thoroughly cooked, tie, add green (fresh olive) oil and serve in an appropriate dish.3
1 Tor. De Lenticula et Castaneis.
3 Boletar — a "mushroom" dish. G.‑V. in boletari; Tac. insuper oleum uiridem mittis; Tor. involutari — unidentified.
Take a new sauce pan, place therein the chestnuts carefully cleaned,3 add water and a little soda and place on the fire to be cooked. This done, crush in the mortar pepper, cumin, coriander seed, mint, rue, laser root and flea-bane moistened with vinegar, honey and broth; add vinegar to taste and pour this over the cooked chestnuts, add oil and allow to boil. When done crush it in the mortar.4 Taste to see if something is missing and if so, put it in, and at last add green fresh virgin oil.
1 Lentils are omitted in this formula; therefore see the following formula.
2 Thus G.‑V.; Tor. Chestnuts.
3 i.e. peeled and skinned. To do this easily, boil the chestnuts with the skin, whereupon the outer brown shell and the inner membrane are easily removed.
4 To make a purée of the chestnuts which strain through the colander.
Cook the lentils, skim them, strain, add leeks, green coriander; crush coriander seed, flea-bane, laser root, mint seed and rue seed moistened with vinegar; add honey, broth, vinegar, reduced must to taste, then oil, stirring the purée until it is done, bind with roux, add green oil, sprinkle with pepper and serve.
1 It is evident that ℞ No. 184 and the above are really one formula, the former dealing with the cooking of the maroons, the latter describing the lentils. Presumably the two purées are to be mixed, or to be served as integral parts of one dish.
Cook the peas; when skimmed, lay leeks, coriander and cumin on top. Crush pepper, lovage, cumin, dill and green basilica,º wine and broth to taste, make it boil; when done stir well, put in what perchance should be missing and serve.1
1 This reminds us of Petits Pois à la Française, namely green peas (often p129 very young ones with the pods) cooked in broth, or bouillon, with shredded bacon, lettuce, parsley, onions (or leeks, as above), fresh mint, pepper, salt and other fresh herbs such as chervil. Which is a very delectable way of preparing the tender pea. Some of its refreshing green color is sacrificed by this process, but this loss is amply offset by the savour of the dish.
Cook the peas with oil and a piece of sow's belly.2 Put in a sauce pan a broth, leek heads (the lower white part), green coriander and put on the fire to be cooked. Of tid-bits3 cut little dice. Similarly cook thrushes or other small game birds, or take sliced chicken and diced brain, properly cooked. Further cook, in the available liquor or broth, Lucanian sausage and bacon; cook leeks in water; crush a pint of toasted pignolia nuts; also crush pepper, lovage, origany, and ginger, dilute with the broth of pork, tie.4 Take a square baking dish suitable for turning over, which oil well and line with caul.5 Sprinkle on the bottom a layer of crushed nuts upon which put some peas, fully covering the bottom of the squashº dish; on top of this arrange slices of the bacon,6 leeks and sliced Lucanian sausage; again cover with a layer of peas and alternate all the rest of the available edibles in the manner described until the dish is filled, concluding at last with a layer of peas, utilizing everything. Bake this dish in the oven, or put it into a slow fire covering it with live coal so that it may be baked thoroughly. Next make a sauce of the following: put yolks of hard boiled eggs in the mortar with white pepper, nuts, honey, white wine and a little broth; mix and put it into a sauce pan to be cooked; when the sauce is done, turn out the peas into a large silver dish and mask them with this sauce which is called white sauce.7
1 List. Pisa farsilis; Tor. p. farsilia; Tac., G.‑V. pisam farsilem — same as fartilis, from farcio — fattened, stuffed, or crammed, or as full as it can hold, metaphorically perhaps "supreme style," "most sumptuous," etc.
2 This meat being fat enough, the oil seems superfluous.
3 isicia, formerly called Greek hysitia — any fine forcemeats, cut into or cooked in tiny dumplings.
5 Tor. makes no mention of the square dish and its caul lining. Caul is the abdominal membrane.
6 petasonis pulpas; Dann. ham, which is not quite correct. The petaso is the shoulder part of the pork, either cured or fresh, generally fresh. The cooked pork shoulder here is cut into small pieces. Nothing is said about the utilization of the sow's belly mentioned at the opening of the formula. We assume that the petaso can take its place in the dish.
7 There is nothing just like this dish in the history of gastronomy, considering both the comparatively cheap materials and the refinement of the gastronomic idea which it embodies. The chartreuses of Carême are the nearest thing to it. Lister waxes enthusiastic about it.
Cook peas; when skimmed, put in the sauce pan finely chopped leeks and coriander to be cooked with the peas. Take small cuttle fish, most desirable because of the black liquor and cook them also. Add oil, broth and wine, a bunch of leek and green coriander and make it boil. When done, crush pepper, lovage, origany, a little wild cumin2 moisten with the juice of the peas add wine and raisin wine to taste; mince the fish very fine, incorporate it with the peas, and sprinkle with pepper.3
1 Tor. pisum Indicum.
2 Tor., Tac. casei modicum; other texts, carei.
Cook the peas, work well to make a purée; place in the cold, stirring until they have cooled off. Finely chop onions and the whites of hard boiled eggs, season with salt and a little vinegar; the yolks press through a colander into an entrée dish, season with fresh oil and serve.1
1 The texts fail to state that the whites, yolks, onions, vinegar and oil must eventually be combined into a dressing very similar to our own modern vinaigrette; for decorative and other gastronomic reasons the separate treatment of the whites and the yolks is both ingenious and excellent, and is very often practised in good kitchens today.
Peas or beans with yolks are made thus:2 cook the peas, smoothen3 them; crush pepper, lovage, ginger, and on the condiments put hard boiled yolks, 3 ounces of honey, also broth, wine and vinegar; mix and place all in a sauce pan; the finely chopped condiments with oil added, put on the stove to be cooked; with this flavor the peas which must be smooth; and if they be too harsh in taste add honey and serve.4
1 List. Pisa Vitelliana — named for Vitellius, ninth Roman emperor, notorious glutton, according to Hum. who says that V. invented this dish: ab auctore Vitellio Imperatore luxui deditissimo. But Tor. differs; his pisum vitellinum stands for peas with yolks — vitellum — yolk, (also calf) dim. vitellinum; Tac. v–am. Cf. ℞ No. 193.
Thayer's Note: Vitellius was the eighth emperor, not the ninth. Vehling counted Julius Caesar, as people often do; who was not an emperor, however.
I haven't seen Humelbergius' edition of Apicius, but if all he said is what is quoted above, it doesn't mean Vitellius invented the dish, merely that it was named after him. The gluttony of Vitellius is the subject of a picturesque passage in Suetonius, Vit. 13.
2 Tor. sentence wanting in other texts.
3 lias — to make a purée by crushing and straining. Tor. laevigabis, from levigo — meaning the same.
4 If Vitellius never invented any other dish than this one, his gluttony was overrated. As a gastronomer he may be safely relegated to the vast multitude of ill-advised people whose craving for carbohydrates (which is perhaps pathological) causes them to accumulate a surplus of fat. This was fatal to Vitellius and his faithful court baker who is said to have stuck to his master to the last. The poor emperor's embonpoint proved cumbersome when he fled the infuriated mob. Had he been leaner he might have effected a "getaway." He was dragged through the streets and murdered, Dec. 21 or 22, A.D. 69.
Thayer's Note: Vitellius' final day, complete with baker and cook, can also be read in Suetonius, of course: Vit. 16.
When the peas or beans are skimmed flavor them with crushed Persian1 laser, broth and must; pour a little oil over and serve.
1 Parthian, from Parthia, a country of Asia.
This adroit, tempting dish of peas is prepared in this manner:2 cook peas; brains or small birds, or boned thrushes, Lucanian sausage, chicken livers and giblets — all of which are put in a sauce pan; broth, oil and a bunch of leeks, green coriander finely chopped, cook with the brains; crush pepper, lovage and broth.3
1 Sch., Dann. crafty, i.e. not genuine. Adulteram cannot here be used in its most accepted sense, because the peas are genuine, and no attempt is made to adulterate or "fake" this dish in any way, shape or form. Never before have we applied the term "seductive" to any dish, but this is just what adultera means. "Tempting" of course is quite common.
2 Tor. sentence wanting in other texts.
3 This formula is incomplete or mutilated, the last sentence breaks off in the middle — very likely a description of the sauce or condiments belonging to the peas.
Each and every component of this (really tempting) dish must be cooked separately; they are then composed in a dish, nicely arranged, with the peas in the center, surrounded by the several morsels, with an appropriate gravy made from the natural liquor or juices of the component parts poured over the dish.
Peas or beans in the style of Vitellius prepare thus:2 The peas or beans are cooked, when carefully skimmed, add leeks, coriander and mallow flowers:3 when done, crush pepper, lovage, origany, and fennel seed moistened with broth and put it into a sauce pan with wine,4 adding oil, heat thoroughly and when boiling stir well; put green oil on top and serve.
2 Tor. sentence wanting in other texts.
3 Wanting in Dann.
Cook the beans;2 meanwhile crush pepper, lovage, cumin, green coriander, moistened with broth and wine, and add more broth to taste, put into the sauce pan with the beans adding oil; heat on a slow fire and serve.
1 Tor. Concicla — conchis — conchicula — young, immature beans, string or wax, boiled in the shell or pod.
2 conchiclam cum faba — young string beans and (dry, white or kidney) beans, cooked separately of course and mixed when done, ready for service.
For peas in the pod1 Apician style take:2 a clean earthen pot in which to cook the peas; to the peas add finely cut Lucanian sausage, little pork cakes,3 pieces of meat4 and pork shoulder.5 Crush pepper, lovage, origany, dill, dry onions6 green coriander moistened with broth, wine, and add more broth to taste; unite this with the peas in the earthen pot to which add oil in sufficient quantity to be absorbed by the peas; finish on a slow fire to give it live heat and serve.
1 Peas in the pod are likewise called conchicla; hence perhaps any legumes cooked in the shells.
2 Tor. sentence wanting in other texts.
3 isiciola porcina.
4 pulpas — in this case no specific meat.
5 petaso; Dann. pieces of ham.
6 cepam siccam — ordinary dry onions, not shallots.
Cook the peas in the pods when skimmed add a bunch2 of leeks and green coriander. While being cooked crush pepper, lovage, origany, and the above bunch of herbs.3 Moisten with its own juice, p134 wine4 enough to suit your taste, then add oil and finish on a slow fire.5
1 Thus G.‑V.; Tor. Concicla Pisorum.
2 Sch. feniculum instead of fasciculum.
3 G.‑V. de suo sibi fricabis; Tor. seorsim f.
4 G.‑V. wine wanting in Tor.
Make peas Commodian style thus;2 cook the peas, when skimmed, crush pepper, lovage, dill, shallots moistened with broth; add wine and broth to taste: stir in a sauce pan with the peas to combine; for each sextarius of peas beat 4 eggs, and combine them with the peas, place on the fire to thicken avoiding ebullition and serve.
1 Hum. Named for Commodus, the emperor; List. for Commodus Antonius, son of the philosopher Marcus. [Thayer: this is the same person.]
2 Tor. sentence wanting in other texts.
Cut raw chicken into small pieces, add broth, oil and wine, and stew it. Chop onions and coriander fine and add brains (calf's or pork, parboiled, the skin and nerves removed), to the chicken. When this is cooked take the chicken out and bone it. The peas cook separately, without seasoning, only using chopped onions and coriander and the broth of the chicken; strain part of the peas and arrange them alternately in a dish with the pieces of chicken, brains and the unstrained peas then crush pepper and cumin, moistened with chicken broth. In the mortar beat 2 eggs with broth to taste, pour this over the chicken and peas, finish on a slow fire,1 dish out on a heap of peas, garnish with pine nuts and serve.
1 By congealing in a mould, which is unmoulded on a heap of peas. Danneil directs to stuff the whole chicken with the pea preparation, brains, etc., and to poach it in a square pan.
Bone either chicken or suckling pig from the chicken remove the breast bone and the upper joint bones of the legs; hold it together by means of wooden skewers, and meanwhile2 prepare the following dressing in this manner: alternate inside of the chicken or pig peas with the pods washed and cooked, brains, Lucanian sausage, etc. Now crush pepper, lovage, origany and ginger, moistened with broth, raisin wine and wine to taste, make it boil, when done, use it moderately for seasoning and alternately with the other dressing; wrap the chicken, or pig in caul, place it in a baking dish and put it in the oven to be cooked slowly, and serve.
Crush well washed barley, soaked the day before, place on the fire to be cooked. When hot add plenty of it, a small bunch of dill, dry onion, satury and colocasium, to be cooked together because this gives a better juice; add green coriander and a little salt; bring it to a boiling point. When well heated take out the bunch dill and transfer the barley into another vessel to avoid burning on the bottom of the pot; thin it out with water, broth, milk and strain into a pot, covering the tips of the colocasia.3 Next crush pepper, lovage, a little dry flea-bane, cumin and sylphium, stir well, add vinegar, reduced must and broth; put it back in the pot; the remaining colocasia finish on a gentle fire.
2 [The printed edition marks a note in the text, but there is no corresponding note in the footnotes.]
Soak chick-peas, lentils and peas, crush barley and cook with the legumes, when well cooked add plenty of oil. Now cut greens, leeks, coriander, dill, fennel, beets, mallows, cabbage strunks, all soft and green and very finely cut, and put in a pot. The cabbage cook separately; also crush fennel seed, plenty of it, origany, silphium, and lovage, and when ground, add broth to taste, pour this over the porridge, stir, and use some finely chopped cabbage stems to sprinkle on top.
Green beans are cooked in broth, with oil, green coriander, cumin and chopped leeks, and served.
1 Beans grown in Baiae, also called bajanas or bacanas; beans without skin or pods.
Fried beans are served in broth.
The beans previously cooked are seasoned with crushed mustard seed, honey, nuts, rue, cumin, and served with vinegar.
2 Wanting in Tor.
p137 3 These apparently outlandish ways of cooking beans compel us to draw a modern parallel in a cookery book, specializing in Jewish dishes. To prove that Apicius is not dead "by a long shot," we shall quote from Wolf, Rebekka: Kochbuch für Israelitische Frauen, Frankfurt, 1896, 11th edition. As a matter of fact, Rebekka Wolf is outdoing Apicius in strangeness — a case of Apicium in ipso Apicio, as Lister sarcastically remarks of Torinus.
Rebekka Wolf: ℞ No. 211 — wash and boil the young beans in fat bouillon (Apicius: oleum et liquamen) adding a handful of chopped pepperwort (A.: piper, ligusticum) and later chopped parsley (A.: petroselinum) some sugar (A.: mel pavoº — little honey) and pepper. Beans later in the season are cooked with potatoes. The young beans are tied with flour dissolved in water, or with roux.
Id. ibid., ℞ No. 212, Beans Sweet-Sour. Boil in water, fat, salt, add vinegar, sugar or syrup, "English aromatics" and spices, lemon peel, and a little pepper; bind with roux.
Id. ibid., ℞ No. 213, Cut Pickled Beans (Schneidebohnen) prepare as ℞ No. 212, but if you would have them more delicious, take instead of the roux grated chocolate, sugar, cinnamon, lemon peel and lemon juice, and some claret. If not sour enough, add vinegar, but right here you must add more fat; you may lay on top of this a bouquet of sliced apples.
Id. ibid., ℞ No. 214, Beans and Pears. Take cut and pickled beans and prepare as above. To this add peeled fresh pears, cut into quarters; then sugar, lemon peel cut thin, cinnamon, "English" mixed spices, and at last the roux, thinned with broth. This dish must be sweet and very fat.
As for exotic combinations, Apicius surely survives here, is even surpassed by this Jewish cookery book where, no doubt, very ancient traditions have been stored away.
Fenugreek is prepared in broth, oil and wine.
1 Tor. or fenum; G.‑V. Faenum.
Are served with salt, cumin, oil, and a little pure wine.
1 Tor. Faseolus, the bean with a long, sabre-like pod; a phasel, kidney bean, when ripened.
1 Dann. and Goll.: "roasted" beans.
And cook the beans, in a rich manner, remove the seeds and serve as a Salad,2 with hard eggs, green fennel, pepper, broth, a little reduced wine and a little salt, or serve them in simpler ways, as you may see fit.
1 The original continues with the preceding formula.
2 For a salad we would add finely chopped onion, pepper, and some lemon juice.
The purpose of removing the seeds is obscure. G.‑V. reads semine cum ovis; Tac. semie; Hum. s. cum lobis. The passage may mean to sprinkle (sow) with hard boiled (and finely chopped) eggs, which is often done on a salad and other dishes.
End of Book V
Explicit Apicii osprion liber quintus [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