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Re: Garum and spices

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  • Weingarten
    DONALD FISK wrote ... Yes, but you have to allow for the snob value as well. Many spices were imported from the east and fantastically
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 4, 1999
      DONALD FISK <hibou@...> wrote
      >
      >I think heavy use of spices in the Ancient Roman diet is because they
      >didn't like bland food.


      Yes, but you have to allow for the snob value as well. Many spices were
      imported from the east and fantastically expensive - at least until the
      Romans discovered the monsoon winds when the price of pepper came tumbling
      down. And even then it was hardly cheap, and still exotic. St Jerome writes
      in the fourth century about pepper and other exotic oriental spices which
      were for the cognoscenti only. The trouble is, as Marco has already noted,
      Apicius and Pliny and friends were writing as members of an upper class for
      an upper class audience only. Christians like Jerome were scornful of what
      seemed to them an excessive interest in food, so it is only rarely we hear
      anything from them on the subject. The only ancient sources that deal with
      popular food and methods of preparation are the Jewish Talmudic sources. I
      am starting to think of a long-term project on food in the Talmud, so if any
      list members have any suggestions or bibliography on this subject I would be
      very grateful.

      Susan Weingarten
    • Marco Berni
      Also don t forget that even if meat was not putrified it was not always fresh as we know it. Preseving of food via salting requires long periods of soaking
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 5, 1999
        Also don't forget that even if meat was not 'putrified' it was not always fresh
        as we know it. Preseving of food via salting requires long periods of soaking
        to correct, this then leaves food somewhat bland and still rather salty and
        requires some form of spicing to overcome. In Italy today one still popular
        food is 'baccala' or salt cod. This is traditionally eaten on fridays with
        chick peas and needs two days soaking and frequen water changes to soften. It
        is then cooked with parlsey, garlic, olive oil and white wine and 'flaked'.

        Salted meat is harder to de-salinate than fish. Apicius talks of covering meat
        with honey to preserve it and smoking was also used.

        Caius

        DONALD FISK <hibou@...> wrote

        > >
        > >I think heavy use of spices in the Ancient Roman diet is because they
        > >didn't like bland food.
        >
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