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RE: [Apicius] Re: Other Cuisines - a few cookbooks

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  • Lucia Clark
    Thank you for this list of books! I have the Giacosa, and I agree that the recipes are easy to follow. My only reservation is that she does not give a
    Message 1 of 41 , Jun 30, 2010
      Thank you for this list of books!

      I have the Giacosa, and I agree that the recipes are easy to follow. My
      only reservation is that she does not give a bibliography, so to speak, for
      the ingredients. Where are they mentioned? This becomes very crucial in the
      case of basil, not commonly used in Roman cuisine. She just lists it in one
      of the recipes, without explanations. If any of you has any info on basil,
      please post it. As far as I know, Celsius lists it both in the foods and in
      the medications, but really it was not an herb of choice

      As for the other books, thanks again. Now I can look for them



      From: Apicius@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Apicius@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 3:28 PM
      To: Apicius@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [Apicius] Re: Other Cuisines - a few cookbooks

      Dear All,

      I am interested in your opinions or appraisals of the following cookbooks.
      while I enjoy them, I would like to know the thoughts of others interested
      in ancient cultural threads that continue to be woven into the fabric of our
      everyday lives. I apologize if you have seen these before in any other

      "A Taste of Ancient Rome", Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa, translated by Anna
      Herklotz, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. & London, U.K., ©1992,
      ISBN 0-226-29032-8 ppbk. 0-226-29030-1 cloth.

      Ms. Giacosa draws on " Cato, Columella, Apicius, Petronius, Martial, and
      Juvenal." (p.5)
      The foreword says, in part, "Far more than a mere translation of Apicius and
      of the other culinary writers of Roman Civilization, her book gives context
      to the ancient recipes by explaining to us how and where the Romans bought,
      cooked, and ate their food, and makes the recipes themselves accessible to
      modern cooks, suggesting substitutes for unavailable ingredients and
      supplying the procedures and quantities omitted in the originals." There are
      illustrations, quotes peppered throughout, and color plates in the center.
      Any reviews or opinions here about this book?

      "The Georgian Feast: the vibrant culture and savory food of the Republic of
      Georgia", Darra Goldstein, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.,
      ©1999, orig. 1993.
      ISBN 0-520-21929-5. This was the 1993 winner "book of the year" - Julia
      Child Cookbook Award from the Intl. Assn. of Culinary Professionals. It is
      98% traditional ingredients - Worcestershire sauce, baking powder, baking
      soda, cornmeal (Georgian substitute for native ground millet), sugar,
      vanilla and almond extract are mentioned, though. This is an affectionate
      recounting of Ms. Goldstein's travels in Georgia, what and how she ate, a
      brief history of Georgia, and the preparation of different things. The
      cultural content is worth a read alone, but the recipes are quite tasty,
      wonderful, even!

      "Greek Cooking for the Gods", Eva Zane, 101 Productions, San Francisco, CA.,
      ISBN 0-912238-02-X, Library of Congress # 79-15454.

      Ms. Zane has not claimed to reproduce ancient recipes. She does present
      recipes that are focused on natural, fresh foods that were available "back
      in the day", and one who had any familiarity with ancient foods will easily
      find that most of these recipes could have been made in the ancient world.
      There are a few ingredients in some of these recipes that are modern, and
      can be substituted with others for greater authenticity of what our
      ancestors would have had available to them. In the '60s and '70s there was
      not the great availability of ethnic and international fresh foods that we
      have today in the jet age.

      Jars of vine leaves are now supplemented by fresh vine leaves in many
      markets, as are many things that used to be available only in frozen form.
      Tomatoes fresh in salad or as paste or sauce is the biggest offender to
      recreating ancient Mediterranean recipes in about 30 of the recipes. I just
      substitute onion/garlic mixture to our tastes for the tomatoes, occasionally
      using ripe to overripe pureéd plums/prunes or apricots with a splash of
      water to replace the tomato paste or sauce. If that might be too sweet for
      one despite the combination with onion, one might try cooked pureéd turnip
      for 'body' in a sauce. Sugar appears a few times and is easily replaced with
      honey in most recipes, save the cookies and desserts. Bouillon is mentioned
      a few times, as is Worcestershire sauce, both easily replaced with broth or
      a home made sauce that approximates Worcestershire. Cornstarch for
      thickening - I use sifted flour instead. This was not written as an
      'ancient' recipe book, but I think you will find most of these could have
      been on the table 2000 years ago.

      I mentioned this an earlier post:
      ""Art, Culture, and Cuisine: Ancient and Medieval Gastronomy"
      Phyllis Pray Bober, ©1999, University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London.
      ISBN 0-226-06253-8 (cloth or alk. paper)

      paperback price, brand new in 2009, was $ 25.00 US.

      I picked this up at the Bristol Renaissance Faire last year. It is a
      delightfully fun book filled with cultural information, history, religion &
      some archaeology, stories about food and beverage, and recipes. There are
      141 illustrations in this book!

      The cultures covered are prehistoric Catal Hoyuk (Turkey circa 6000 BCE ),
      Egypt, Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece/Crete, Hellenistic Greece, Rome, Early
      Ages, and Late Gothic International. Recipes are presented for a dinner or
      feast from each culture. There are 63 pages of end notes that expand nicely
      on the subject matters presented.'

      Lise Manniche refers back to Apicius and his Alexandrian recipes for ancient
      Egypt, since they have not left recipes as far as we know. She does
      'translate' a recipe from a depiction of food preparation from a wall of
      "the tomb of Rekhmire, vizier of King Tuthmosis III in the fifteenth century
      BC". (Pages 42-43, "An Ancient Egyptian Herbal", Lise Manniche, University
      of Texas Press, Austin, TX, ©1989. ISBN 0-292-70415-1).

      Please offer an opinion or critique of these or other cookbooks you can
      Have a great summer, everyone!


      --- In Apicius@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Apicius%40yahoogroups.com> , "Lucia
      Clark" <luciaclark@...> wrote:
      > Well, I am absolutely impressed by you all.
      > Thanks
      > Lucia

      > _____
      > From: Apicius@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Apicius%40yahoogroups.com>
      [mailto:Apicius@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Apicius%40yahoogroups.com> ] On
      Behalf Of
      > Susan Weingarten
      > Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 1:07 AM
      > To: Apicius@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Apicius%40yahoogroups.com>
      > Subject: Re: [Apicius] Other Cuisines

      > try
      > Cathy Kaufman: Cooking in Ancient Civilizations (Westport 2006)
      > for Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman
      > Susan Weingarten
      > Tel Aviv
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: Correus
      > To: Apicius@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Apicius%40yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 4:42 AM
      > Subject: Re: [Apicius] Other Cuisines
      > The Oldest Cuisine is more 'user friendly' (IMHO); it is also in English.
      > The other one, to me anyway, was more a linguistics exercise.
      > Correus
      > --- On Mon, 6/28/10, lilinah@... <mailto:lilinah%40earthlink.net>
      > <lilinah@... <mailto:lilinah%40earthlink.net> > wrote:
      > From: lilinah@... <mailto:lilinah%40earthlink.net>
      > <lilinah@... <mailto:lilinah%40earthlink.net> >
      > Subject: Re: [Apicius] Other Cuisines
      > To: Apicius@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Apicius%40yahoogroups.com>
      > Date: Monday, June 28, 2010, 8:26 PM
      > Correus wrote:
      > >The two main books I have on Sumerian/Assyrian cooking are both by
      > >Jean Bottero:
      > >The Oldest Cuisine in the World: Cooking in Mesopotamia (with Teresa
      > >Lavender Fagan)
      > >Textes Culinaires Mesopotamiens (French text but recipes in English)
      > How do they differ? I have Textes Culinaires Mesopotamiens, but have
      > put off getting The Oldest Cuisine... because i wasn't sure how
      > similar they were.
      > I will post links to recipes i mentioned that are on my website
      > later, i'm just about to go out.
      > --
      > Anahita
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Correus
      LOL  LOL In my circle the modern world began with the invention of smokeless powder. Correus ... From: hail_isis Subject: [Apicius]
      Message 41 of 41 , Jul 10, 2010
        LOL  LOL

        In my circle the 'modern' world began with the invention of smokeless powder.


        --- On Sat, 7/10/10, hail_isis <hail_isis@...> wrote:

        From: hail_isis <hail_isis@...>
        Subject: [Apicius] Re: Other Cuisines - a riff on time & lemons
        To: Apicius@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Saturday, July 10, 2010, 3:04 PM


        Dear Anahita and All,

        Modern times for me personally begins with Alexander's romp 'n' stomp through his 'known' world. For a few of my college history professors, modern times begins according to their specialties - the Renaissance is the beginning of modern times for many of them. That is contemporaneous with the European exploration and colonization of the globe. As a cultural/ethnic American of Asiatic Hellene descent (among other ethnicities), i can say that when in Greek Orthodox Sunday School modernity sprouts with Alexander and buds with the advent of Christianity, beginning to bloom with the move to the New World and the Gregorian calendar. In Chicago Public Schools (old school education), modernity began with the Industrial Age and 'buds' with the advent of electricity, the telephone, and non-livestock vehicular transportation. Makes me envy my older grandfather, born in 1872 - died 1961 - he saw the transformation of America with territories becoming states and
        technology racing across the continent. Food went from fresh, canned, and dried to include frozen, and the advent of refrigeration. Wow!

        Vinegar was used (you know all this stuff!) as an astringent before and after the spread of lemon trading in the 1st Millennium BCE. I thought lemons would have come to the West with the Persians in the 1st Millennium BCE. Maybe it did, and I just haven't found an attested source yet. Someone in India apparently thinks it did not get to Europa until 100 BCE - 200 AD/CE.


        Excerpt - History of Lemons

        "Since innumerable, lemons are used for culinary as well as non culinary purposes. Findings suggests that lemon was originated in north-western India. In southern Italy, lemons have been introduced in 200 A.D. and have reached Iraq and Egypt by 700 A.D. It is believed that this juicy fruit has been cultivated in Sicily before 1000 and China between 760 and 1297 A.D. It was distributed widely throughout the Arab world and the Mediterranean region between 1000 A.D. to 1150. In the middle of the fifteenth century, the real cultivation of lemon began in Europe. In 1943, it was introduced in Americas when Christopher Columbus, the Spanish voyager, carried lemon seeds to Hispaniola. Today, USA is one of the largest producers of lemons in the world."

        I also like the reference to making a lemon battery in that article.


        "The occurrence of citrus in Europe and Mideast were thought to have been natural occurring native trees and shrubs, but historians today believe that the ancestor of the citrus trees, Citrus medica L., was introduced by Alexander the Great from India into Greece, Turkey, and North Africa in the late 4th century BC. The most ancient citrus was called 'citron.'" (Patrick Malcolm, ©2006)

        An interesting book is "Introduction to Food Crops", by Mark Rieger, (pub. by Food Products Press/The Haworth Press Inc, Binghamton, N.Y., ©2006, ISBN-13: 978-1-56022-259-0). It is available to view on Google Books, easy to read and understand. Chapter 11 is about citrus varieties and crops including lemons.

        The above all say the same thing: The first European textual mention of citron was Theophastus in about the 310 BCE.

        As you have noted, sour juices were used for their astrnigency. Verjus and pomegranate juice were likely used as well as various vinegars. Ah, verjus, ancestor of my beloved balsamic vinegar! (I like Ariston brand for bread dipping.) I find it hard to believe that it was not in use side by side with wine and vinegar to flavor things in the ancient world. It may have been ubiquitous and simply notmentioned, or just though of a s a different type of vinegar, and perhaps no special designation. As i said, i have not found earlier sources for it yet in ancient scripts, but i haven't looked for it either. (Ancient for me begins with the formation of human societies and segues into modern times with that young man from Macedon. Before 'ancient' was 'prehistoric'.)

        Thyme is on my side, and that's sweet when when it is Hymettos honey.

        Off to an ARCE meeting,


        --- In Apicius@yahoogroups.com, lilinah@... wrote:


        > Demetria wrote:

        > >Hummos is a good example of this, as are

        > >falafels. The bean, cooked, drained, and pureéd

        > >with oil, a few drops of lemon juice (modern) or

        > >vinegar (traditional), seasoned, and add a spoon

        > >or two of tahini (modern, 1st mention of it is

        > >in 13th c. Ottoman recipe) or hand-ground sesame

        > >paste.


        > I suppose it depends on one's own interpretation

        > or on the use of terminology specific to certain

        > fields of study, but to me, at least, the 13th c.

        > is not modern. And when 'modern' times begin can

        > vary from one culture to another.


        > Anyway, I would love to know more about 13th c.

        > Ottoman recipes. As i mentioned, i work with

        > medieval Central Asian, Middle Eastern, North

        > African, and Muslim Iberian cuisines, and have

        > some actual 15th and 16th c. Ottoman recipes.


        > As for tahini, it appears at least four hundred

        > years earlier, in 9th c. recipes from what is now

        > Iraq, published not too long ago (December 2007,

        > by Brill) in English translation by Nawal

        > Nasrallah as _Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens:

        > Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's Tenth-Century Baghdadi

        > Cookbook_.


        > Hummus just means chick peas/garbanzos. The dish

        > is really Hummus bi tahini (chickpeas with

        > tahini/sesame seed paste). Of course, the modern

        > dish contains other ingredients, depending on the

        > locale (and personal taste) of the cook.


        > I am wondering why you identify lemon juice as

        > modern (or is it because i think of the 13th c.

        > as not modern?). It, too, appears in many

        > medieval Arabic language cookbooks. And vinegar

        > (wine vinegar, to be specific), although the

        > dominant souring agent, was not the only one.

        > Verjus (sour grape juice) was used, called hisrmi

        > in Arabic and abghurah in modern Persian, besides

        > lemon juice and Seville orange juice (aka bitter

        > orange or sour orange). Sour pomegranate juice

        > and sumac, often as juice, were also used. I have

        > even found sumac juice in modern Middle Eastern

        > markets. Definitely not a beverage :)


        > >The following is an interesting article about

        > >whose dish is whom's, regarding the authenticity

        > >and alleged age of ethnic recipes:

        > >http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArchiveDetails.aspx?ID=62188

        > >

        > >Excerpt -

        > >"The nearest medieval recipe to any of these

        > >dishes is hummus kasa, which appears in the

        > >anonymous 13th-century cookbook Kitab Wasf

        > >al-Atima al-Mutada. Here's the recipe: "Take

        > >chickpeas and pound them fine after boiling

        > >them. Then take vinegar, oil, tahineh, pepper,

        > >atraf tib (mixed spices), mint, parsley, dry

        > >thyme, [pounded] walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and

        > >pistachios, cinnamon, toasted caraway, dry

        > >coriander, salt and [minced] salted lemons and

        > >olives. Stir it and roll it out flat, and leave

        > >it overnight and serve it.""


        > That recipe was taken directly from Lilia

        > Zaouali's tantalizing and frustrating book,

        > _Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World_. In it,

        > she provides a seemingly random selection of

        > recipes from four medieval Arabic language

        > cookbooks from 2 widely separated centuries and

        > four cultures. One, Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's

        > collection of 9th and 10th century recipes,

        > mentioned above, had not been published in

        > translation in a Western European language

        > (except for a few recipes here and there) when

        > she published her first edition, but has since.

        > The other three are 13th c. cookbooks from widely

        > separated parts of the Islamic world, from

        > al-Andalus (Muslim Spain), Egypt, and Syria.


        > One problem i see is that while Zaouali mentions

        > that there are differences among the cultures and

        > over time, she doesn't really provide much

        > analysis (and Andalusi Western Arabic cuisine has

        > some marked differences from other medieval

        > Eastern Islamic cuisines). Second, she doesn't

        > clearly state her criterion for selecting the

        > recipes, and there are many possible reasons she

        > could have chosen them.


        > Also, two of the other cookbooks from which she

        > includes recipes have not been fully translated,

        > and i am frustrated because i would sure love to

        > have more of their recipes... well, really, the

        > whole books :) The Egyptian book has been

        > relatively recently translated into Spanish, so

        > at least i do have that to look forward to.

        > --

        > Anahita


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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