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- In a message dated 12/9/99 11:26:29 PM Eastern Standard Time, LrdRas writes:
<< Lovage seeds are available from any good seedhouse and can be grown on the
window sill if space is limited. Pensy's also carries this as a regular herb.
Actually, I grow my own lovage and have sent out seeds to people on this list
before. It was my guess that since the flavour of lovage is reminiscent in
celery leaves (although by no means duplicated) many people substitute it for
lovage when the latter is not available.
My offer of seeds stands to anyone who would like some, but if I recall, we
agreed to go by continent, since some of us are in North America and some
Europe. I am in Canada and have sent out seeds to others in the US as well.
Only problem is, I set them aside after harvesting them and can't quite seem
to locate them. My lovage is still alive and was growing not too long ago,
our weather has been bizarre for this time of year.
- Hi all
I have been out of it for a while and most dissappointed to have missed the
moretum debate but would like to make the following point. Any
wild/small/young types of garlic that is mild or milder then normal is out of
the question for morteum.
The poem makes great play with the fact that the farmer sufferes greatly in
the making of his cheese. The fumes are very excessive, causing him pain and
causing him to constantly wipe his eyes.
Is this effect caused by lots of mild garlic or less amounts of very stronge
garlic? The 4 heads that are picked are fresh/green garlic but this type of
garlic can still be relatively strong. The farmer appears to only put 1
clove or head in the mortarium when it comes to actually making the cheese.
It must at least be a head as one clove would not have the above effect,
niether would 1 spring onion with garlic flavour. One small head of green
garlic can have anything from 8-12 cloves of varying size. The cheese is at
no time measured and that of cause is the problem. I took a guess at about 4
oz as an amount that could easily be pounded at one time.
I vary between 30-40 cloves per lb of pecorino Romano depending on the
recipient. This is a hard, aged cheese of a kind that you could well find
hanging in the rafters.
My definition of moretum is that it should "fight back" when you eat it.
- I think moretum is simply the name given to certain sorts of dish prepared
in a mortar (mortarium). Sally is right to point out that other dishes are
named after the cooking vessel e.g. patina... and I think this is what
happened here too. Oh, and Vergil is only the attributed author of the poem
'Moretum.' Almost certainly it was not written by him, but by a contemporary.
I dont think that cheese should be understood as an ingredient in all sorts
of moretaria. Some do seem to be more salad-like, but I'd have to check the
originals (which I dont have with me now) before I could comment on
consistency. The cheese in the garlic & herb moretum should definitely be a
hard cheese though, not a soft one. Soft ones wouldn't be able to be hung up
in the rafters as Simulus' (the peasant farmer) was.
As for dictionaries, Lewis and Short (in its many editions) is still the
best. You should be able to find it in a good reference library.
- Hi Marco et al
Interesting thought about the smoked soft cheese. I might have a go with a
less pungent cheese and see how the garlic holds up. I just might be
reducing my estimation of the garlic in that recipe!
(It was good to here about the garum by the way)
Even lewis and short and OLD have there disadvantages. Food history in
classics is such a new field that much of the research is not even seen by
those that compile dictionaries, let alone taken into account.
I have about 2 loebs of my own but my husband has many more - I married him
to get to his library??? They are the best way to deal with any text and
are well worth the £12.00 a time. In see many in second hand shops here. I
will keep my eyes open for any food related texts and offer them up for sale
or auction or something????
I had a idea re garlic or not and cheese or not in moretum and came up with
the following. Apicius' moretaria will contain cheese even though unsaid as
the cheese is the dominant feature in all the other latin refs. The garlic
is common, peasant fair and therefore not of importance and irrelavant for
wealthy recipes. (There is hardly any in the whole book.) The recipes have
been adapted for wealthy table without the garlic.
The name moretum is according to lewis and short derived from mordeo: to bit,
sting which can only refer to the garlic as an early ingredient and not from
mortarium ie a mixture pounded up.
This link with the Greek myttotos is odd. It does apparently have honey in it
and also garlic and cheese but little green apart from leek. I can only
assume that if Parthenius' poem called Myttotos was used as a basis for the
psudo virgil adaptation then it was a happy coincidence that the two dishes
are similar. This myttotos was a definate sauce used with fish therefore
somewhat runny (see Ath 282b) Presumably psudo-Virgil looked for and found a
traditional Roman dish that he could idealise as the Greek poet had.
(according to A Dalby Hippocrates recommends Myttotos for piles?????????)
Ovid seems to be unawear of the need for garlic but does at least increase
the chances that cheese was the dominant feature. His explanation is very
odd. He has a habit of inventing logical explanations for phenomina he
encounters in his modern world, the origins of which go back to far even for
him to understood.
There does appear to be a pesto link in that these cheese mixes developed
into pesto but I dont think you can use pesto in order to understand moretum.
My mouse has just packed up I am off to buy a new one. I wanted to say more
about the Aristophanes and the Peace ref as I though it would be relavant
but I now think its a red herring????
- Thanks to this wonderful list, I will be preparing moretum for a
person in our group who is a devotee of Cybele. Looks wonderful, and
I am sure she will be pleased to have it.