Re: [Apicius] Apicius - De re Coquinaria
- 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.
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.....[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>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
>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
>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
>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
>__________________________________ Yahoo! Clever - Der einfachste
>Weg, Fragen zu stellen und Wissenswertes mit Anderen zu teilen.
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