4446Re: [Apicius] logical substitutions??
- Jul 1, 2008Janet wrote:
>I know they (my friends) would never use brains in any recipe but I got thatThere are only three i can remember having "problems" with. The first
>figured out. But what about some of the Herbs? What do you use or do you just
two are not generally available. I do not have access to a garden, so
i can't plant them.
I have no good substitute for rue, which is quite bitter. Perhaps
someone else on the list can make a suggestion.
We have debated here whether what is being asked for is seeds or
herb. Lovage is not difficult to grow if one has a garden, and i
tasted some of the leaf in a friend's garden. To me it tasted much
like celery leaves with a menthol aftertaste. So when i used them i
bought a type of celery that doesn't have moist stalks, but rather
tiny thin stalks (it was Asian - Chinese i think). Bear in mind that
modern moist crunchy celery didn't exist
This is a leaf from a Indian tree more often called today "tejpat". I
went to the local South Asian markets and found a bag of leaves
labeled "tejpat", but i could see that they were bay leaves. I asked
the proprietor and he said that is what they use as a substitute, at
least here in California. So i have used bay leaves, but would love
to taste actual tejpat.
>I am a little confused aboutPumpkin and all squashes are New World and unknown before the very
>"Pumpkin" i know its not what I would refer to big fat and orange. I
>know some are
>cucumbers but what else can I experiment with. What have you used?
end of the 15th c. or the 1st quarter of the 16th - various New World
foods were found at different times, and while most were sent back to
Spain, many were not readily adopted by Europeans.
What was eaten in the Old World is young gourds. And young gourds are
still eaten today in many parts of the Old World, especially Asia.
While i don't know for certain what the Romans were using, i have
found in local markets here in Northern California (where we have
many people of South and East Asian descent) something that looks
like what is illustrated in the Medieval "Tacuinum Sanitatis", a book
that exists in several manuscripts, and based on an earlier Arabic
text. All versions have textual descriptions based on humoral theory
of various edibles and pictures. The type of gourd pictured is pale
green, apparently smooth skinned, and of varying shapes.
In my local markets i've found something called "opo", species
Lagenaria siceraria, which is at least in the same family as other
edible gourds. It is called cucuzza in Italian, and also calabash,
white pumpkin, and bottle gourd. I gather that "opo" is the
Philippine/Tagalog name. They are also eaten young in parts of Africa.
I used them in a feast i did based on surviving 15th C. Ottoman
recipes. They were quite pleasant. They had smooth, hairless, pale
green skins, and were around 10 to 12 inches long. It was not heavy,
watery, or a little bitter as zucchini can be (i think that's called
vegetable marrow in the UK...). They insides was lighter in color,
looked slightly "spongy" and had a hint of cucumber flavor. Some of
the diners, who dislike zucchini (including me :-), said they enjoyed
Here's a photo:
I have also used young luffa gourds, which are tender and pleasant,
and not as moist as the various summer squashes.
Photos of both opo and luffa, as well as other UNsuitable gourds, are at
Here's a personal page by a gardener/farmer, complete with photos,
discussing opo (including sliced opo) and luffa that i found amusing
Outside of California, look in South Asian, Southeast Asian, and East
Asian markets, since these various young gourds are commonly eaten in
those regions, or African markets, if you have them.
Anyway, i'm going to use these more often in ordinary cooking, since
i like them much better than zucchini.
Good luck with your booklet!
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