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Re: [Apicius] Roman Cream Cake

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  • lilinah@earthlink.net
    ... I suspect it is a fictional fantasy. (what book? what author? inquiring minds...) Cake, as i know it in North America today, uses chemical leavening agents
    Message 1 of 78 , Mar 22, 2011
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      Correus wrote:
      >Anyway, I'm reading a novel set in the mid to late 1st Century Roman
      >world and ran across a reference to 'cream cakes'. I was wondering
      >if any of you might have a thought as to what they would be talking
      >about. The first thing that came to my mind was Savillum.

      I suspect it is a fictional fantasy. (what book? what author?
      inquiring minds...)

      Cake, as i know it in North America today, uses chemical leavening
      agents that were developed in the later 19th c. - long from 1st c.
      Roman.

      In medieval and Renaissance Europe, the word "cake" is often used to
      refer to what we in the US call "cookies", and "biscuits" in other
      English speaking areas. Off the top of my head, i can't think of a
      pre-Fall of Rome cookie, but i may have missed something. There is
      the occasional use at that time of hartshorn, which is ammonium
      bicarbonate, as leavening. Because it produces a sulfurous gas as it
      breaks down which acts as leavening, it is only useful in thin
      "cookies" and savory crackers (i think one can imagine biting into
      something thicker and getting a whiff of sulfur...). I don't recall
      reading about the use of ammonium bicarbonate in Roman cookbooks, but
      it might be a possibility.

      Other much larger items called cakes from the later medieval and
      Renaissance period were yeasted sweet breads, none of which have some
      sort of cream coating or filling that i know of, although by the 16th
      c. they were sometimes dressed with sugar icing, made of sugar and
      rosewater.

      If the author of the fiction you are reading is at all into
      historical authenticity, then i agree that savillum is a more likely
      possibility, but, having made it for 80 diners, i would not call them
      cream cakes, as they were rather dense.

      Mustacei, sometimes referred to as Must Cakes, are another less
      likely possibility, being more savory than savillum. I made mustacei
      for that feast, too. I bought a small, rather expensive bottle of
      must. Upon tasting it, it seemed to me that soaking raisins in warm
      water for a while and squeezing out a thick juice from them would be
      a more than adequate substitute.

      Lindsay Davis, an author who writes very enjoyable fiction about
      Rome, has a recipe for must cakes on his website. However, he uses
      *Cheddar cheese*, which is not at all like any Roman cheese i know
      of, considering that while the region of Cheddar in England has long
      made cheese, the process of cheddaring, used to make the Cheddar
      cheese i know and love, is fairly recent.

      --
      Anahita
    • Brent Nielsen
      Yeah, what Pheonix said! ________________________________ From: Phoenix To: Apicius@yahoogroups.com Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2012
      Message 78 of 78 , Jan 30, 2012
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        Yeah, what Pheonix said!



        ________________________________
        From: Phoenix <hail_isis@...>
        To: Apicius@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2012 11:44 AM
        Subject: [Apicius] Re: Dormice



         

        Regarding urine collection - it was also used in/with textile dyes as a
        mordant and for treating raw hides in leather production. That is why a
        'piss-pot' was left outside the house, for collection by the tradesmen.
        It is high in nitrogen, so it can also be used as a fertilizer for the
        garden. It is a source of ammonia - useful for cleaning, though it's
        probably less objectionable on the farm than in modern urban
        environments.

        --- In Apicius@yahoogroups.com, Brent Nielsen <bnielsen51@...> wrote:
        >
        > Running water in the home (plumbing) was expensive and available only
        to the rich, everyone else was required to use public latrines and
        fountains. Fullers collected raw urine waste and reproccessed it into
        bleach. Poor homes sold their urine waste as a supplimental family
        income.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ________________________________
        > From: Theresa tlr280h@...
        > To: Apicius@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2012 11:54 PM
        > Subject: [Apicius] Re: Dormice
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Dumb question, how did they manage to do running water for a day and a
        > half? Either in Rome or today, that must have been one heck of a water
        > bill.
        >
        > Theresa
        >
        > On 3/23/2011 11:59, Correus wrote:
        > > Just found this article and thought some of you might find it
        'interesting'.
        > >
        > >
        http://www.10dailythings.com/2007/10/12/dormouse-stew-oh-we-wouldn%E2%80%99t-serve-that-sir-it-would-be-against-the-law-this-is-rat/
        > >
        > > Correus
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >

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




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