A few remaining questions...
- Our feast was pushed back from A.D. VIII KAL. IUN. MMDCCLXV A.U.C. to A.D. VII KAL. IUN. MMDCCLXV A.U.C., may our Lares continue to help us. But I still have a few questions:
Would the Romans of approximately 1900 years ago have served warm appetizers as a part of the gustum/gustatio?
Would they have considered beef tongue to be too indigestible to be a part of the gustum/gustatio?
Could they ever have served anything cold as a part of the primae mensae?
- Re Beef tongue. It all depends where you are imagining your feast taking
place. If it is Italy, then the animal bone evidence from archaeological
sites suggests that it is pork not beef that was the favoured meat. It is
the northern provinces where beef was preferred. There is a good article in
the Journal of Roman Archaeology volume 12 (1999). Meat diet in the Roman
World: a regional inter-site comparison by Anthony King (pp.168-202) where
you will find useful data.
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- We never set an exact location, so we can certainly imagine it is taking place in western Gaul or thereabouts.
I never imagined this one dish would be so much trouble. I had dried black mulberries from Kalustyan's and I was basically looking for an excuse to make Dalby and Grainger's mulberry sauce from page 75 of "The Classical Cookbook" (the only recipe I am using not by Apicius). And now at the last minute I am tearing my hair out.
Here's my menu as it stands right now (probably some things like caper berries and whatnot won't be available when we do our final shopping so they will just be deleted from the final version)
Should the tongue be part of the Gustatio or the Primae Mensae?
Should the tongue be served hot or cold?
For that matter, should the Patina be served hot or cold?
FOR THE TABLE:
Mixed olives, caper berries, pickled garlic cloves, and skinned Hispanian almonds, toasted in olive oil and salted
Mixed mushrooms in olive oil, vinegar, wine and spices
A round loaf of finest white wheat flour and oil of Koroneiki olives of Lakonia
Medium boiled pheasants' eggs, served warm, in pine nut sauce
Romaine leaves with condiment sauce of sweet cheese, Greek honey, dates, and plentiful pepper
"Parthian" chickpeas in a laser sauce
Cold boiled tongue of a calf, thinly sliced and served with Athenian mulberry sauce
Patina of pears with passum and honey
Wine: Mulsum made with local dry white wine and clover honey
Duck in prune sauce
Sardines stuffed with herbs and spices and steamed in parchment paper
Wine: Amarone della Valpolicella
Fresh dates stuffed with pounded African pepper, rolled in sea salt and fried in honey
Fried polenta squares of finest white creamed wheat with goat's milk, dressed in Greek honey
Fine Cheeses of the Provinces: "Roquefort" of Gaul, "Roncal" of Hispania, "Zamorano" of Lusitania, and "Pecorino Sardo" of Sardinia
Fresh figs, Muscat grapes, candied melon, dried pears, prunes, dates, and golden raisins
Wines: Recioto di Soave and Recioto della Valpolicella