History Roman Food for the Ides of March

Anna Elizabeth Henry

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As today is the infamous Ides of March - beware! I thought I'd share this interesting article about Roman food and some recipes from a few sources. Enjoy if you dare :sneaky:

Julius Caesar was hanging out with his pals, getting ready to watch a race. Suddenly, from the crowd, a soothsayer called out to him: “Beware the ides of March.”

Caesar chose to ignore him — on the whole, maybe not one of his better decisions — and went back to casting dice or whatever he did in his spare time. Then, mid-month (the ides), he went to a political meeting at a hall next to the Theatre of Pompey, where he was stabbed to death by more than 40 conspirators, sort of like what happens in “Murder on the Orient Express.”

Wednesday, March 15, is the ides of March, the 2060th anniversary of the death of Caesar. We thought we would celebrate by re-creating the dishes of ancient Rome.


This, however, is easier said than done. Although plenty of ancient Roman recipes can be found, including those in Apicius’ seminal cookbook, “De Re Coquinaria,” it is less easy (or perhaps just undesirable) to come up with some of the ingredients the Romans were so fond of.

Continue reading here - http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/food-and-cooking/roman-food-for-the-ides-of-march/article_3b41f141-4fd2-5ddb-913b-3e1d05915de6.html
PEAR PATINA

The Romans referred to their dessert course as mensa secunda, or "second meal." They satisfied their fondness for sweets with desserts such as fruitcakes, pudding, sweet egg-based dishes, and sweet cheeses—and in this case, a delicious pear patina.

Ancient Roman Pear Patina Recipe

A pear patina: Grind boiled and cored pears with pepper, cumin, honey, passum, garum, and a bit of oil. When the eggs have been added, make a patina, sprinkle pepper over, and serve.

Modern Pear Patina Recipe (serves 4)

4 pears
water or white wine (to cook the pears)
1 tablespoon honey
pinch each pepper and cumin
1/2 cup passum (a modern version of this raisin wine is the Italian dessert wine Vin Santo)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Poach the whole pears in water or white wine. When they are done, peel and core them, then crush them into a puree, mixing in the honey, pepper, cumin and passum. Beat the eggs, adding the milk if desired. Then blend this into the pear mixture with the olive oil. Pour into a casserole and bake for around 20 minutes at 350° F. Source

LIBUM (SWEET CHEESECAKE)

Libum was a sacrificial cake sometimes offered to household spirits during Rome's early history. The recipe below comes from the Roman consul Cato's agricultural writings, which included simple recipes for farmers. Libum, sometimes served hot, is a cheesecake he included.

Ancient Roman Libum Recipe

Libum to be made as follows: 2 pounds cheese well crushed in a mortar; when it is well crushed, add in 1 pound bread-wheat flour or, if you want it to be lighter, just 1/2 a pound, to be mixed with the cheese. Add one egg and mix all together well. Make a loaf of this, with the leaves under it, and cook slowly in a hot fire under a brick.

Modern Roman Libum Recipe (serves 4)

1 cup plain, all purpose flour
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
bay leaves
1/2 cup clear honey

Sift the flour into a bowl. Beat the cheese until it's soft and stir it into the flour along with the egg. Form a soft dough and divide into 4. Mold each one into a bun and place them on a greased baking tray with a fresh bay leaf underneath. Heat the oven to 425° F. Cover the cakes with your brick* and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden-brown. Warm the honey and place the warm cakes in it so that they absorb it. Allow to stand 30 minutes before serving.

*The Romans often covered their food while it was cooking with a domed earthenware cover called a testo. You can use an overturned, shallow clay pot, a metal bowl, or casserole dish as a brick. Source





 

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Irishtom29

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It probably wasn't that stinky, or at least not the rancid fish stink that people imagine.

Fish sauce is still used in food in some parts of the world. In fact fermented fish (anchovies) are also a key ingredient in Worcestershire sauce.
Well whether a small is stinky is subjective. With garum the higher the quality the less the smell. People who’ve made it report it can be quite smelly,
 
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It probably wasn't that stinky, or at least not the rancid fish stink that people imagine.

Fish sauce is still used in food in some parts of the world. In fact fermented fish (anchovies) are also a key ingredient in Worcestershire sauce.
About ten years ago an archeologist who was also a high-quality chef recreated garum from an original Roman recipe. Apparently the smell was bad and nobody ate it more than once. To the Romans, garum was a condiment like catchup or mustard and they put it on nearly everything.
 


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