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Apicius - De re Coquinaria

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  • Correus
    SALVETE OMNES! I have been mulling something over for quit a while and thought I d see what you all thought. Several people have pondered as to WHY there was
    Message 1 of 7 , May 1 2:15 PM
      SALVETE OMNES!

      I have been mulling something over for quit a while and thought I'd see what you all thought.

      Several people have pondered as to WHY there was no book dealing with bread and baking in Apicius' "De re Coquinaria". Some have even suggested that there might be a second volume out there, yet to be found, that contains it.

      Then I read something..."Late in the first century A.D., the Roman Emperor Trajan authorized the first professional cooking organization, a bakers' guild". This got me to thinking....

      Could it be out of professional courtesy that Apicius did not include a book on bread and baking (yes I know, there are some items like cakes in his book). Perhaps Apicius wrote about the type of cooking his guild would be involved in and left it up to the Baker's Guild to create their own book.

      What do you all think?

      VALETE
      CORREVS·APPIVS·IVLIANVS·APICIVS

      The truth may be boring, and even unpleasant: But it is always better than half truths and out right lies ~ Tw Moran








      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Volker Bach
      ... and thought I d see what you all thought. ... book dealing with bread and baking in Apicius De re Coquinaria . Some have even suggested that there might
      Message 2 of 7 , May 2 12:51 AM
        > I have been mulling something over for quit a while
        and thought I'd
        see what you all thought.

        > Several people have pondered as to WHY there was no
        book dealing with
        bread and baking in Apicius' "De re Coquinaria". Some
        have even
        suggested that there might be a second volume out
        there, yet to be found,
        that contains it.

        > Then I read something..."Late in the first century
        A.D., the Roman
        Emperor Trajan authorized the first professional
        cooking organization, a
        bakers' guild". This got me to thinking....

        > Could it be out of professional courtesy that
        Apicius did not include
        a book on bread and baking (yes I know, there are some
        items like cakes
        in his book). Perhaps Apicius wrote about the type of
        cooking his
        guild would be involved in and left it up to the
        Baker's Guild to create
        their own book.

        > What do you all think?1


        Basically, yes. We have a similar phenomenon in
        medieval and Renaissance cookbook texts. I doubt it
        has anything to do with professional courtesy, though.
        That assumes Apicius was, or that the book given his
        name was intended for, cooks. It is far more likely
        that cookbooks of this kind were produced for the
        enjoyment and use of eaters, to inctruct the less than
        competent kitchen staff and make informed choices.
        Even so, there is a clear divide between cookery -
        which was done in the household - and baking - which
        happened outside. Bread was not something that would
        concern a cook except in terms of availability and
        price, it was purchased in from professional bulk
        manufacturers.

        Note that Cato, whose approach is different from that
        of Apicius in that he speaks of rural estate
        management rather than gourmet cooking, gives bread
        recipes.


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      • Correus
        Interesting points..... That assumes Apicius was, or that the book given his name was intended for, cooks. It is far more likely that cookbooks of this kind
        Message 3 of 7 , May 2 5:57 AM
          Interesting points.....

          That assumes Apicius was, or that the book given his name was intended for, cooks. It is far more likely that cookbooks of this kind were produced for the enjoyment and use of eaters, to inctruct the less than competent kitchen staff and make informed choices.

          Let me play 'devil's Advocate'.... The assumption then would be that cooks were trained through some sort of apprenticeship - whether that be from an established cook or through watching mother in the kitchen. Is the 'eater' who is enjoying the book the one who is instructing the 'less than competent kitchen staff'? LOL does that even make sense?

          This raises another question.... How many cooks could read?

          Note that Cato, whose approach is different from that of Apicius in that he speaks of rural estate management rather than gourmet cooking, gives bread recipes.

          Another good point, but again, who is going to do the instructing? Could the Baker read?
          As you brought up previously, bread was easy to be had in the city. A fundus; latifundium; and villa rustica would have to be mini cities in order to be self sufficient.

          I do agree with you 100% that Apicius' book was more than likely intended for the Roman foodie. However, wouldn't the lack of measurements indicated that it was also intended for professional chefs and those a little more competent?

          Correus a.k.a. Devil's Advocate <G> LOL

          Volker Bach <carlton_bach@...> wrote:
          > I have been mulling something over for quit a while
          and thought I'd
          see what you all thought.

          > Several people have pondered as to WHY there was no
          book dealing with
          bread and baking in Apicius' "De re Coquinaria". Some
          have even
          suggested that there might be a second volume out
          there, yet to be found,
          that contains it.

          > Then I read something..."Late in the first century
          A.D., the Roman
          Emperor Trajan authorized the first professional
          cooking organization, a
          bakers' guild". This got me to thinking....

          > Could it be out of professional courtesy that
          Apicius did not include
          a book on bread and baking (yes I know, there are some
          items like cakes
          in his book). Perhaps Apicius wrote about the type of
          cooking his
          guild would be involved in and left it up to the
          Baker's Guild to create
          their own book.

          > What do you all think?1

          Basically, yes. We have a similar phenomenon in
          medieval and Renaissance cookbook texts. I doubt it
          has anything to do with professional courtesy, though.
          That assumes Apicius was, or that the book given his
          name was intended for, cooks. It is far more likely
          that cookbooks of this kind were produced for the
          enjoyment and use of eaters, to inctruct the less than
          competent kitchen staff and make informed choices.
          Even so, there is a clear divide between cookery -
          which was done in the household - and baking - which
          happened outside. Bread was not something that would
          concern a cook except in terms of availability and
          price, it was purchased in from professional bulk
          manufacturers.

          Note that Cato, whose approach is different from that
          of Apicius in that he speaks of rural estate
          management rather than gourmet cooking, gives bread
          recipes.

          __________________________________ Yahoo! Clever - Der einfachste Weg, Fragen zu stellen und Wissenswertes mit Anderen zu teilen. www.yahoo.de/clever






          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Courtois Julien
          Regarding the second book of Apicius, at least one author (Brandt) suggest that there have been two volumes of Apicius. One with general cooking recipes, and
          Message 4 of 7 , May 2 7:14 AM
            Regarding the second book of Apicius, at least one author (Brandt) suggest
            that there have been two volumes of Apicius. One with general cooking
            recipes, and another with sauces. The current edition of what we have now is
            a mix of theses two volumes.

            On 01/05/07, Correus <correus@...> wrote:


            > Some have even suggested that there might be a second volume out there,
            > yet to be found, that contains it.
            >
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          • Volker Bach
            Re: [Apicius] Apicius - De re Coquinaria ... name was intended for, cooks. It is far more likely that cookbooks of this kind were produced for the enjoyment
            Message 5 of 7 , May 3 3:59 AM
              Re: [Apicius] Apicius - De re Coquinaria

              >>That assumes Apicius was, or that the book given his
              name was
              intended for, cooks. It is far more likely that
              cookbooks of this kind were
              produced for the enjoyment and use of eaters, to
              inctruct the less than
              competent kitchen staff and make informed choices.

              > Let me play 'devil's Advocate'.... The
              assumption then would be
              that cooks were trained through some sort of
              apprenticeship - whether
              that be from an established cook or through watching
              mother in the
              kitchen. Is the 'eater' who is enjoying the book the
              one who is instructing
              the 'less than competent kitchen staff'? LOL does
              that even make
              sense?

              I'm going from the assumption that Apicius reflects
              upper-class eating habits, so we are largely, I would
              guess, addressing a literate clientele and a
              professional kitchen staff. As to training, I think
              that in antiquity that was largely informal, though
              there is some evidence of formalised apprenticeships.
              I don't know of any for cooks.

              My idea of how it would be used is as part of a
              literary tradition of the good life. Luxury food was
              a very important aspect of Roman upper class culture,
              and we have traces of a genre of luxury literature
              surviving elsewhere (take frex Archestratos, who wrote
              a gourmet guide for wealthy travellers). That is why I
              envision the original text to be intended for reading
              by the educated leisured elites.

              The less than competent kitchen staff, at this point,
              would be encountered while travelling, or even if
              one's household was reduced. We have enough references
              to the culinary horrors of the road for a conoisseur
              to want to be able to give clear instructions to the
              kitchen staff. Notr to mention that these things make
              good conversation items.


              > This raises another question.... How many cooks
              could read?

              In the ancient world I assume a large number of them.
              Professwional cooks were part of an urban elite's
              social enviromnment. They may not have had literary
              ambitions, but I can't see an illiterate cook lasting
              long in the kitchen of a senatorial urban domus with
              all the complications of supply management on-the-spot
              availability of luxury seafood, and changing menus and
              guest lists.


              > Another good point, but again, who is going to do
              the instructing?
              > Could the Baker read?

              Perhaps not, but the estate manager may well, and his
              owner certainly could. In this case, I imagine this is
              half 'best practice', telling owners how a proper
              estate is run, and half control knowledge, enabling
              them to judge their subordinates' work. I can't see
              Cato's work resting on cook's the shelf the way the
              Joy of Cooking does today.


              > I do agree with you 100% that Apicius' book was more
              than likely
              intended for the Roman foodie. However, wouldn't the
              lack of measurements
              indicated that it was also intended for professional
              chefs and those a
              little more competent?


              I'm not sure the lack of measurements means anything
              much. Is there any cookery with any but the most basic
              measurements in the Hellenistic tradition? AFAIR this
              is a relatively modern phenomenon (we get inklings of
              it in a late antique tradition that may stem from
              dietetics).
              However, I agree with the competence level - I don't
              envision Apicius being useful for teaching novices how
              to cook. My example was more a cook who is familiar
              with the bundle of techniques that constitute Roman
              cooking, but not with all aspects of gourmet foods.
              When his owner/employer says 'I'd like a nice Sala
              Cattabia for dinner', all the instructions to support
              that unfortunate man in his newfound quest are found
              in Apicius. As to it being a cooks' resource, I don't
              believe there was such a market at the time.

              Volker



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            • Correus
              Volker, Very well thought out. Gives me some more to think about. Thanks for sharing - appreciate! Correus Volker Bach wrote: Re:
              Message 6 of 7 , May 3 9:21 AM
                Volker,

                Very well thought out. Gives me some more to think about. Thanks for sharing - appreciate!

                Correus

                Volker Bach <carlton_bach@...> wrote:
                Re: [Apicius] Apicius - De re Coquinaria

                >>That assumes Apicius was, or that the book given his
                name was
                intended for, cooks. It is far more likely that
                cookbooks of this kind were
                produced for the enjoyment and use of eaters, to
                inctruct the less than
                competent kitchen staff and make informed choices.

                > Let me play 'devil's Advocate'.... The
                assumption then would be
                that cooks were trained through some sort of
                apprenticeship - whether
                that be from an established cook or through watching
                mother in the
                kitchen. Is the 'eater' who is enjoying the book the
                one who is instructing
                the 'less than competent kitchen staff'? LOL does
                that even make
                sense?

                I'm going from the assumption that Apicius reflects
                upper-class eating habits, so we are largely, I would
                guess, addressing a literate clientele and a
                professional kitchen staff. As to training, I think
                that in antiquity that was largely informal, though
                there is some evidence of formalised apprenticeships.
                I don't know of any for cooks.

                My idea of how it would be used is as part of a
                literary tradition of the good life. Luxury food was
                a very important aspect of Roman upper class culture,
                and we have traces of a genre of luxury literature
                surviving elsewhere (take frex Archestratos, who wrote
                a gourmet guide for wealthy travellers). That is why I
                envision the original text to be intended for reading
                by the educated leisured elites.

                The less than competent kitchen staff, at this point,
                would be encountered while travelling, or even if
                one's household was reduced. We have enough references
                to the culinary horrors of the road for a conoisseur
                to want to be able to give clear instructions to the
                kitchen staff. Notr to mention that these things make
                good conversation items.

                > This raises another question.... How many cooks
                could read?

                In the ancient world I assume a large number of them.
                Professwional cooks were part of an urban elite's
                social enviromnment. They may not have had literary
                ambitions, but I can't see an illiterate cook lasting
                long in the kitchen of a senatorial urban domus with
                all the complications of supply management on-the-spot
                availability of luxury seafood, and changing menus and
                guest lists.

                > Another good point, but again, who is going to do
                the instructing?
                > Could the Baker read?

                Perhaps not, but the estate manager may well, and his
                owner certainly could. In this case, I imagine this is
                half 'best practice', telling owners how a proper
                estate is run, and half control knowledge, enabling
                them to judge their subordinates' work. I can't see
                Cato's work resting on cook's the shelf the way the
                Joy of Cooking does today.

                > I do agree with you 100% that Apicius' book was more
                than likely
                intended for the Roman foodie. However, wouldn't the
                lack of measurements
                indicated that it was also intended for professional
                chefs and those a
                little more competent?

                I'm not sure the lack of measurements means anything
                much. Is there any cookery with any but the most basic
                measurements in the Hellenistic tradition? AFAIR this
                is a relatively modern phenomenon (we get inklings of
                it in a late antique tradition that may stem from
                dietetics).
                However, I agree with the competence level - I don't
                envision Apicius being useful for teaching novices how
                to cook. My example was more a cook who is familiar
                with the bundle of techniques that constitute Roman
                cooking, but not with all aspects of gourmet foods.
                When his owner/employer says 'I'd like a nice Sala
                Cattabia for dinner', all the instructions to support
                that unfortunate man in his newfound quest are found
                in Apicius. As to it being a cooks' resource, I don't
                believe there was such a market at the time.

                Volker


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                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Lucia Clark
                Just a little side point about reading: literacy was far more widespread in Roman times than in medieval times. There were schools for boys and who could
                Message 7 of 7 , May 3 8:22 PM
                  Just a little side point about reading: literacy was far more
                  widespread in Roman times than in medieval times. There were schools
                  for boys and who could afford it would buy a slave (usually Greek) to
                  teach their children, boys and girls. Shopkeepers and merchants had
                  to have a minimum of instruction to keep bookkeeping and do
                  inventories. the merchant used whatever alphabet they were familiar
                  with. Iustinus will agree with me that there are Greek texts written
                  in Latin alphabet and Latin texts written in Greek. In any case,
                  books like Apicius' were intended as a personal notebook, for his
                  peers....and for posterity.
                  As for recipes for bread, yes, why bother if the bread was available
                  nice and hot everyday from the baker, who, by the way, had to grind
                  the grain into flour first. Even today very few Italian and French
                  cookbooks give recipes for bread. Bakeries are available every couple
                  of streets, and the bread is baked a few times a day. (remembers
                  fondly she who had a full 4 weeks of nice hot rosette every day in Italy)
                  On the topic of bread, I finally cracked the sour dough starter
                  myself, using flour and water, and can bake a pretty decent loaf. And
                  yes, it does remind me of my Umbrian bread.
                  Lucia
                  The lack of measurements has to be a Mediterranean thing. Ask Kevin,
                  who has watched me cook with a pinch of this and a bigger pinch of
                  that. I still believe that is a form of philosophy of food. The
                  recipe was a guideline. Exact quantities would be determined by the
                  individual cook according, as I wrote in a paper some time ago, to
                  the availability of ingredients, the state of repair of the oven, the
                  mood of the cook and the benevolence of the Gods.

                  At 08:57 AM 5/2/2007, you wrote:

                  >Interesting points.....
                  >
                  >That assumes Apicius was, or that the book given his name was
                  >intended for, cooks. It is far more likely that cookbooks of this
                  >kind were produced for the enjoyment and use of eaters, to inctruct
                  >the less than competent kitchen staff and make informed choices.
                  >
                  >Let me play 'devil's Advocate'.... The assumption then would be that
                  >cooks were trained through some sort of apprenticeship - whether
                  >that be from an established cook or through watching mother in the
                  >kitchen. Is the 'eater' who is enjoying the book the one who is
                  >instructing the 'less than competent kitchen staff'? LOL does that
                  >even make sense?
                  >
                  >This raises another question.... How many cooks could read?
                  >
                  >Note that Cato, whose approach is different from that of Apicius in
                  >that he speaks of rural estate management rather than gourmet
                  >cooking, gives bread recipes.
                  >
                  >Another good point, but again, who is going to do the instructing?
                  >Could the Baker read?
                  >As you brought up previously, bread was easy to be had in the city.
                  >A fundus; latifundium; and villa rustica would have to be mini
                  >cities in order to be self sufficient.
                  >
                  >I do agree with you 100% that Apicius' book was more than likely
                  >intended for the Roman foodie. However, wouldn't the lack of
                  >measurements indicated that it was also intended for professional
                  >chefs and those a little more competent?
                  >
                  >Correus a.k.a. Devil's Advocate <G> LOL
                  >
                  >Volker Bach <<mailto:carlton_bach%40yahoo.de>carlton_bach@...> wrote:
                  > > I have been mulling something over for quit a while
                  >and thought I'd
                  >see what you all thought.
                  >
                  > > Several people have pondered as to WHY there was no
                  >book dealing with
                  >bread and baking in Apicius' "De re Coquinaria". Some
                  >have even
                  >suggested that there might be a second volume out
                  >there, yet to be found,
                  >that contains it.
                  >
                  > > Then I read something..."Late in the first century
                  >A.D., the Roman
                  >Emperor Trajan authorized the first professional
                  >cooking organization, a
                  >bakers' guild". This got me to thinking....
                  >
                  > > Could it be out of professional courtesy that
                  >Apicius did not include
                  >a book on bread and baking (yes I know, there are some
                  >items like cakes
                  >in his book). Perhaps Apicius wrote about the type of
                  >cooking his
                  >guild would be involved in and left it up to the
                  >Baker's Guild to create
                  >their own book.
                  >
                  > > What do you all think?1
                  >
                  >Basically, yes. We have a similar phenomenon in
                  >medieval and Renaissance cookbook texts. I doubt it
                  >has anything to do with professional courtesy, though.
                  >That assumes Apicius was, or that the book given his
                  >name was intended for, cooks. It is far more likely
                  >that cookbooks of this kind were produced for the
                  >enjoyment and use of eaters, to inctruct the less than
                  >competent kitchen staff and make informed choices.
                  >Even so, there is a clear divide between cookery -
                  >which was done in the household - and baking - which
                  >happened outside. Bread was not something that would
                  >concern a cook except in terms of availability and
                  >price, it was purchased in from professional bulk
                  >manufacturers.
                  >
                  >Note that Cato, whose approach is different from that
                  >of Apicius in that he speaks of rural estate
                  >management rather than gourmet cooking, gives bread
                  >recipes.
                  >
                  >__________________________________ Yahoo! Clever - Der einfachste
                  >Weg, Fragen zu stellen und Wissenswertes mit Anderen zu teilen.
                  >www.yahoo.de/clever
                  >
                  >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >



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