Re: [Apicius] Digest Number 769
> I would imagine that a look at a few Apician recipes should make itevident that the Romans used such herbs as rue, borage, and thyme in their
cooking. They also used cumin. However, I don't know if it was imported or
not. I have also read that they ate fenugreek, but not the seeds as in
Indian curry but rather the leaves. A few Indian restaurants also make lamb
dishes with it. It looks like spinach but tastes like fenugreek. Fenugreek
is said to be good for the lungs.
It is clear from Galen that people ate fenugreek seeds boiled with garum.
(Galen On Food and Diet ed and tr Mark Grant, Routledge London and New York
2000) . there is lots more in Galen about other food stuffs, herbs etc.
Yemenites Jews still use fenugreek seeds ground up and covered with boiling
water. They then beat them with other ground spices and herbs (hot peppers
spring onions garlic etc) and it makes a rather gelatinous stuff called
hilbeh with a foaming top. This is eaten with bread or soup. The first
century Jewish historian Josephus writing about the Jewish War against the
Romans says that the Jews poured boiling fenugreek over the ramp the Romans
were trying to climb to get at the besieged town of Jotapata in Galilee and
the Romans sliupped around and couldn't get up, so presumably those Jews
also boiled the seeds to form the slippery jelly!