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Book VI

This webpage reproduces a Book of the
De Re Coquinaria


published by Walter M. Hill, 1936

The text is in the public domain.

This text has not yet been proofread.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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De Re Coquinaria

 p159  Book VII. Sumptuous Dishes
Liber VII. Polyteles

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. V Roasts.
Chap. VI Boiled and Stewed Meats.
Chap. VII Paunch.
Chap. VIII Loins and Kidneys.
Chap. IX Pork Shoulder.
Chap. X Livers and Lungs.
Chap. XI Home-made Sweets.
Chap. XII Bulbs, Tubers.
Chap. XIII Mushrooms.
Chap. XIV Truffles.
Chap. XV Taros, Dasheens.
Chap. XVI Snails.
Chap. XVII Eggs.

[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.]

 p160  I
Sow's Womb, Cracklings, Udder, Tenderloin, Tails and Feet
Vulvae steriles, callum lumbelli coticulae et ungellae

251 Spayed Sow's Womb​1
Vulvae steriles

Sterile sow's womb (also udder and belly) is prepared in this manner: take​2 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.

252 Another Way

Take pepper, celery seed, dry mint, laser root, honey, vinegar and broth.

253 Spayed Sow's Womb
Vulvae steriles

With pepper, broth and Parthian laser.

254 Another Way

With pepper, lovage​1 and broth and a little condiment.

1 Wanting in Lister.

255 Cracklings, Pork Skin, Tenderloin, Tails and Feet
Callum, lumbelli,1 coticulae, ungellae

Serve with pepper, broth and laser (which the Greeks call "silphion").​2

1 Tor., G.‑V. libelli.

2 Tor. sentence wanting in other texts.

256 Grilled Sow's Womb
Vulvam ut tostam facias

Envelope in bran, afterwards​1 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.

 p161  II

257 Sow's Belly

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.

258 Stuffed Sow's Belly
Sumen plenum

Full​1 sow's belly is stuffed with​2 crushed pepper, carraway, salt mussels;º sew the belly tight and roast. Enjoy this with a brine sauce and mustard.

1 Full grown, also stuffed with forcemeat.

2 Tor. sentence wanting in other texts.

Fig-fed Pork

1 Tor. De Sycoto, id est, Ficato.

259 Wine Sauce for Fig-fed Pork
In ficato oenogarum​1

Fig-fed pork liver (that is, liver crammed with figs) is prepared in a wine sauce with​2 pepper, thyme, lovage, broth, a little wine and oil.​3

1 Tor. Ficatum, iecur suillum.

Thayer's Note: Ficatum is the origin of the words for liver in several Romance languages: Italian fegato, Spanish higado, French foie.

2 Tor. sentence wanting in other texts.

3 Reinsenius, ficatum [or sicatum] pro jecore.

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.

Thayer's Note: foie gras is still produced by cramming geese. The two main French regions producing it are the Southwest (especially Périgord) and Alsace. I've been unable so far to confirm that the cramming of either geese or pigs was prohibited at any time in "the Strassburg District" — i.e., Alsace: but when Vehling wrote, Alsace was not French but part of Germany (1870‑1945), and the Germans may well have prohibited the inhumane practice. If you have solid information, drop me a line, of course!

260 Another Way

Trim the liver; marinate in broth, with pepper, lovage,  p162 two laurel berries, wrap in caul, grill on the gridiron and serve.

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.


[image ALT: missingALT.]

Into the oven:

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Out of the oven:

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Sliced at the table:

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Photographs and commentary © Nickolas Urpí 2018, by kind permission.

Mr. Urpí writes:

As Apicius was not clear on the cooking instructions, I followed the advice of a butcher and had the liver butterflied and cooked to a temperature of 135° Fahrenheit [a bit less than 60C] to a medium rare. The herbs, pepper, thyme, lovage, I mixed with liquamen and a wine broth that resembled the one from the oxygarum for mushrooms, which I interpreted to be a type of stewing broth and rubbed in inside and outside the liver. I then stuffed the liver with figs. I added a dash of grape juice since my studies led me to conclude Roman wine was likely slightly sweet. I made the mistake of cooking it in a cast-iron pan, which cooked the bottom of the liver faster than the top. I would recommend covering it and keeping it in an elevated roasting pan so it steams and cooks evenly, remembering to baste it halfway through to keep it from getting dry. Use toothpicks to keep it closed and roast for 20 minutes at 350° [175C]. The result was delicious, however, as the flavor of the figs and of the liver were complementary.

Tid bits, Chops, Cutlets

1 G.‑V. Ofellae; apparently the old Roman "Hamburger Steak." The term covers different small meat pieces, chops, steaks, etc.

261 Ostian​1 Meat Balls
Offellae Ostienses

Prepare the meat in this manner​2 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.

Thayer's Note: The site of ruins only a little less spectacular than Pompeii's, far less hot and crowded, and a short hour's commuter train ride from downtown Rome. For a few casual photographs of my own, but also links to the most important websites on the town, see my orientation page.

2 Tor. sentence wanting in other texts.

262 Apician Roulades
Offellas Apicianas

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."

 p163  263 Pork Cutlet, Hunter Style
Offellae aprugneo​1 more

In the same manner you can make tidbits of sow's belly​2 pork chops to be prepared in a manner to resemble wild boar are​3 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.

264 Tidbits Another Way
Aliter Offellae

The balls or cutlets are​1 properly fried in the pan, nearly done. Next prepare the following: one whole​2 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.

2 Tor. Summi; list sumis, i.e. broth of the pork.

265 Tidbits in Another Style
Aliter Offellas

Also fry the cutlets this way:​1 in a pan with plenty of wine sauce, sprinkle with pepper and serve. Another way:2 the cutlets previously salt and pickled in a broth of cumin, are properly fried.​3

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 aqua presumably belongs to the cumin pickle. To fry in water is not possible.

Choice Roasts

1 Tor. De assaturae exquisitae apparatu.

266 Roasting, Plain
Assaturam simplicem​1

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.

Thayer's Note: It was also sometimes turned by Dogs; in the better households, we are told, by poodles and mastiffs (Souvenirs de la marquise de Créquy, Vol. I, ch. 1).

267 Another Style for Roasts
Aliter assaturas

Take 6 scruples of parsley, of laser​1 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 (Worcestershire, etc.), which are served with every roast.

Thayer's Note: To me, this looks less like a sauce and more like a marinade, or even a rub, slightly moistened to make it stick.

268 Another Condiment for Roast
Aliter assaturas

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.

 p165  269 Another Roast Sauce
Aliter assaturas

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.

270 Roast Neck​1
Assaturas in collari

Put in a braisière​2 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.


271 Sauce for All Boiled Dishes
Jus in elixam omnem

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.

272 Sauce for Boiled Viands
Jus in elixam

Make it thus: [Tor.] pepper, parsley, broth, vinegar, fig-dates, onions, little oil, poured under very hot.

 p166  273 Another
Jus in elixam

Crush pepper, dry rue, fennel seed, onion, fig-dates, with broth and oil.

274 White Bread1 Sauce for Boiled Viands
Jus candidum in elixam

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.

275 Another White Sauce for Boiled Viands
Aliter jus candidum in elixam

Another white sauce for boiled dishes contains: pepper, carraway, lovage, thyme, origany, shallots, dates, honey, vinegar, broth and oil.

276 White Sauce for Dainty Food
In copadis​1 jus album

Take cumin, lovage, rue seed, plums from Damascus​2 Soak in wine, add honey mead and vinegar, thyme and origany to taste.​3

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.

277 Another White Sauce for Appetizers
Aliter jus candidum in copadiis

Is made thus :1 pepper, thyme, cumin, celery seed, fennel, rue, mint,​2 myrtle berries, raisins, raisin  p167 wine, and mead to taste; stir it with a twig of satury.​3

1 Tor.

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.

278 Sauce for Tidbits
Jus in copadiis

Pepper, lovage, carraway, mint, leaves of spikenard (which the Greeks call "nardosachiom") [sic!]1 yolks, honey, mead, vinegar, broth and oil. Stir well with satury and leeks​2 and tie with roux.

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.

279 White Sauce for Tidbits
Jus album in copadiis

Is made thus:​1a pepper, lovage, cumin, celery seed, thyme, nuts, which soak and clean, honey, vinegar, broth and oil to be added.​1b

1a 1b First three and last three words in Tor.

280 Sauce for Tidbits
Jus in copadiis

Pepper, celery seed, carraway, satury, saffron, shallots, toasted almonds, figdates, broth, oil and a little mustard; color with reduced must.

281 Sauce for Tidbits
Jus in copadiis

Pepper, lovage, parsley, shallots, toasted almonds, dates, honey, vinegar, broth, reduced must and oil.

282 Sauce for Tidbits
Jus in copadiis

Chop hard eggs, pepper, cumin, parsley, cooked leeks, myrtle berries, somewhat more honey, vinegar, broth and oil.

 p168  283 Raw Dill Sauce for Boiled Fish
In elixam anethatum crudum

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.

284 Briny Sauce for Boiled Dish
Jus in elixam allecatum

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.


285 Pig's Paunch
Ventrem porcinum

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.

 p169  VIII

286 Roast Loins Made Thus
Lumbuli assant ita fiunt

Split them into two parts so that they are spread out​1 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 oil​2 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.


287 Baked Picnic Ham Pork Shoulder, Fresh or Cured

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 oil​1 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.

 p170  288 To Cook Pork Shoulder
Pernae​1 cocturam

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.


289 Fresh Ham
Musteis​1 petasonem​2

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 bread​3 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.


290 Bacon, Salt Pork
Laridi​1 coctura

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.


291 Sheep Liver
Jecinora hoedina vel agnina​1

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.

292 Another Way to Cook Lung
Aliter in pulmonibus

Liver and lung are also cooked in this way:​1 soak well in milk, strain it off if offensive in taste​2 Break 2 eggs and add a little salt, mix in a spoonful honey and fill the lung with it, boil and slice.​3

1 Tor.

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.

293 A Hash of Liver

Crush pepper, moisten with broth, raisin wine, pure oil, chop the lights​1 fine and add wine sauce.​2

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.


294 Home-made sweets
Dulcia domestica​1 et melcae

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, cakes; 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."

2 Tor.

3 Tor.

4 Still being done today in the same manner.

295 Another Sweetmeat
Aliter dulcia

Grate scrape, peel some very best fresh aphros​1 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 pepper​2 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.

Thayer's Note: This looks like a recipe for stewed or candied angelica to me; angelica of course belongs to the celery family, and candied angelica, far from being gastronomically unsuitable, is a frequent ingredient in the great classic French desserts. For sure, it's Vehling who is way off the mark etymologically, connecting aphros with apricots; see my note to ℞ No. 177.

2 The "pepper" again, as pointed out in several other places, here is some spice of agreeable taste as are used in desserts today.

296 Another Sweet Dish
Aliter dulcia

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!

 p173  297 Another Sweet
Aliter dulcia

In a chafing-dish put​1 honey, pure wine, raisin wine, pine nuts, nuts, cooked spelt, add crushed and toasted hazelnuts​2 and serve.

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.

298 Another Sweet
Aliter dulcia

Crush pepper, nuts, honey, rue, and raisin wine with milk, and cook the mixture​1 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.

299 Another Sweet
Aliter dulcia

Take a preparation similar​1 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 pepper​2 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.

300 A Still Better Way

Is to prepare this with milk instead of water.

301 Custard

Estimate the amount of milk necessary for this dish and sweeten it with honey to taste; to a pint​1 of fluid take 5 eggs; for half a pint​2 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

1 Sextarium.

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.

302 Omelette soufflée​1
Ova sphongia ex lacte

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 boil​2 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 pepper​3 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.

3 G.‑V.

4 Tor. continues without interruption.

303 Cheese and Honey
Mel et caseum​1

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.


304 Bulbs​1

Serve with oil, broth and vinegar, with a little cumin sprinkled over.

1 Onions, roots of tulips, narcissus. Served raw sliced, with the above dressing, or cooked. Cf. notes to ℞ No. 307.

 p175  305 Another Way

Soak​1 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 like​2 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.

306 Another Way

Cook the bulbs into a thick purée​1 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.

307 Varro says of Bulbs​1
Varro si quid de bulbis dixit

Cooked in water they are conducive to love​2 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.

308 Fried Bulbs
Bulbos frictos

Are served with wine sauce [Oenogarum].

 p176  XV Mushrooms or Morels​1

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.

309 Morels​1
Fungi farnei

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.

1 "Ashtree-Mushrooms."

310 For Morels
In fungis farneis

Pepper, reduced wine, vinegar and oil.

311 Another Way of Cooking Morels
Aliter fungi farnei

In salt water, with oil, pure wine, and serve with chopped coriander.

312 Mushroom
Boletos fungos

Fresh mushrooms are stewed​1 in reduced wine with a bunch of green coriander, which remove before serving.

1 Tor.

313 Another Style of Mushroom
Boletos aliter​1

Mushroom stems or buds, very small mushrooms are cooked in broth. Serve sprinkled with salt.

1 Tor. Boletorum coliculi; G.‑V. calyculos.

314 Another Way of Cooking Mushrooms
Boletos aliter

Slice the mushroom stems​1 stew them as directed above and finish by covering them with eggs​2 adding pepper, lovage, a little honey, broth and oil to taste.

1 Thyrsos.

 p177  2 G.‑V. in patellam novam; nothing said about eggs. Tor. concisos in patellam; ovaque perfundes; Tac. ova perfundis.


315 Truffles

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.

316 Another Way to Prepare Truffles
Aliter tubera

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 wine​1 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.

317 Another Way

If you wish you may also wrap the truffles in caul of pork, braise and so serve them.

318 Another Truffle
Aliter Tubera

Stew the truffles in wine sauce, with pepper, lovage, coriander, rue, broth, honey, wine, and a little oil.

 p178  319 Another Way for Truffles
Aliter tubera

Braise the truffles with pepper, mint, rue, honey, oil, and a little wine. Heat and serve.

320 Another Way for Truffles
Aliter Tubera​1

Pepper, cumin, silphium, mint, celery, rue, honey, vinegar, or wine, salt or broth, a little oil.

1 Wanting in G.‑V.

321 Another Way for Truffles
Aliter Tubera​1

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.


322 Colocasium​1 taro, dasheen

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 roux​3 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 corruption 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 Aegyptiacum 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.

323 Milk-fed Snails
Cochleas lacte pastas

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. Hourly​2 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. Fulvius​a 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.

324 Another Way

The snails 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.

325 Another Way for Snails
Aliter cochleas

The live snails are sprinkled with milk mixed with the finest wheat flour, when fat and nice and plump they are cooked.

326 Fried Eggs
Ova frixa

Fried eggs are finished in wine sauce.

327 Boiled Eggs
Ova elixa

Are seasoned with broth, oil, pure wine, or are served with broth, pepper and laser.

328 With Poached Eggs
In ovis hapalis

Serve pepper, lovage, soaked nuts, honey, vinegar and broth.

End of Book VII
Explicit Apicii polyteles: Liber septimus [Tac.]

Thayer's Note:

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.

Page updated: 10 Nov 20