Thursday, April 7, 2011

Imperial Roman: Aliter Offellae, Aliter Porros, Patina de Cucurbitis, Mel et Caseum, Dulcia Domestica




Apicii librorum X qui dicuntur De re coquinaria quae extant, by Apicius [app. 400]
or
Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome, by Apicius



Aliter Offellae: recte friguntur ut paene assae reddantur. Liquaminis sumis cyathum, aquae cyathum, aceti cyasothum, olei cyathum. simul mixtis et immissis in patellam fictilem, frigis et inferes.

Revised: The balls or cutlets are properly fried in the pan, nearly done. Next prepare the following: one whole glass broth, a glass of water, a glass of vinegar, and a glass of oil, properly mixed; put this in an earthen baking dish. Immerse meat pieces, finish on the fire, and serve.

Further revised: Pan-fry pork cutlets until they are nearly done, and place in a baking dish. Whisk together equal amounts broth, water, vinegar, and oil. Pour this over the pork cutlets and bake until meat is done.





Aliter Porros: opertos foliis cauliculorum [et] in prunis coques, ut supra, et inferes.

Revised: After having boiled the leeks in water, [green string] beans which have not yet been prepared otherwise, may be boiled [in the leek water] principally on account of the good taste they will acquire; and may then be served with the leeks.

Further revised: Boil leeks in water until done. Remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon, and boil fresh green beans in the water the leeks have so recently vacated. When done, drain beans and toss with leeks.



Patina de Cucurbitis: cucurbitas elixas et frictas in patina compones, cuminatum superfundes, modico oleo super adiecto, fervere facias et inferes.

Revised: Squash pie is made thus; stewed and mashed squash is placed in the pan, seasoned with a little cumin essence. Add a little oil; heat, and serve.

Further revised: Cook and mash some winter squash. Smoosh it into the pan, sprinkle with cumin, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until heated through.




Mel et Caseum: Prepare cottage cheese either with honey and brine, or with salt, oil, and chopped coriander.

Revised: Drizzle some honey on cottage cheese.



Dulcia domestica: palmulas vel dactylos excepto semine, nuce vel nucleis vel pipere trito infercies. sale foris contingis, frigis in melle cocto, et inferes.

Revised: dates are stuffed, after the seeds have been removed, with a nut or with nuts and ground pepper, sprinkled with salt on the outside and are candied in honey and served.

Revised: Stuff pre-seeded dates with walnut fouths. Cover the bottom of a pan with honey and heat slowly until honey liquifies. Dump dates in, turn up the heat to medium, and toss them with the honey. When the honey is foamy and the dates are coated, take the dates out and let them cool separately. Don't let them touch, or they'll be bonded together forever.


Verdict:

Aliter Offelae: The vinegar is pretty strong, which is good if you are trying to cover up the taste of meat that has gone off because you don't have a refrigerator and you live in the Mediterranean. It's not bad though, and one member of our party really liked it. Apple cider vinegar was used here, but I imagine red wine vinegar would be really good, and probably much better as it has a lower acidity. I encourage someone to try this and report.

Aliter Porros: The beans did not absorb a detectable amount of leek flavor. They might absorb more if, as some cultures prefer, the beans were cooked for several hours. It did look bright and springy, but I didn't enjoy eating forkfuls of leeks.

Patina de Cucurbitis: It tastes about like you'd expect, like squash with cumin and olive oil. The cumin and olive oil on top reminded me of hummus.

Mel et Caseum: Mm. I like cottage cheese. I prefer mine savory, but this was tasty. Brine was not used, as the cottage cheese was already salted.

Dulcia Domestica: These... these were fantastic. Really, really good. I don't like dates. I'm ambivalent towards walnuts. But together, and then candied in honey, they somehow combine to be fantastically delicious. I recommend this recipe without reservation! One diabetic member of the party abstained, but the rest of us ate every single last one.

14 comments:

~~louise~~ said...

I'm more than intrigued by the pan-fried cutlets doused in that vinegar solution. I'd like to try it when I'm not too hungry:)

Thanks for sharing...

Karen K. said...

I bet the pork cutlets would be really good with balsamic vinegar -- and it's Italian, so it goes, right? Of course it's probably not historically accurate.

Dates have always looked too sweet for me but I had sticky toffee pudding recently and loved it.

And did you do the Latin translation yourself? Impressive!

Anonymous said...

After a hard day of fighting barbarians and persecuting christians what roman legionaire wouldn't want to come home to such a delicious feast? Kind of makes it nice to belong to the last great superpower. Great meal. I enjoyed it immensely even if I am your dad.

Nonna Beach said...

Wow, you went way back this time ! Very dangerous Empire to visit. Everything looks so good and natural and I love stuffed dates...forgot to have some during Christmas...( glad Rome fell eventually too ) Did you dine with anyone famous ?

BTW, I find it amusing that your Dad comments as "Anonymous"

Jana said...

Louise- If you do, let me know what you thought.

Karen- Balsalmic vinegar sounds tasty! It is medieval in origin rather than Roman, but that shouldn't stop you.

Anonymous- Hi, dad. ;D I'm glad you liked it.

NB- We avoided danger by *not* visiting famous people. :D

Jana said...

Oh yes! And I did not do the Latin translation myself. That is what the time machine's translation circuit is for. :D

Nonna Beach said...

Good move Jana and nice to know the time machine has built in translation circuits.

I'm working on a trip to England soon for my guest post...when I find the time to cook a whole dinner...also plan,pack and brush up on my British accent ! ( If I run into any Cockneys on my trip, I'm covered )

Jana said...

Sweet! That is... something that rhymes with great, but has no relationship to the original word or meaning. Pieces of eight, possibly. Circumnavigate. Figure skate.

Cockney is weird.

Nonna Beach said...

A Cockney accent is really hard to understand too ! You're a natural poet, along with your other talents !!!

roger lincoln said...

You need to go forward in time to Deep Space 9 and use Quark's Universal Translator.

Anonymous said...

The date thing is almost my favorite food in the entire world. The only difference is that before popping them in the oven, you wrap them with prosciutto and pin them closed with a toothpick.

Victorian beauty said...

I love dulcia domestica, but they really are the sweetest things I've ever eaten against which any complaints of "too sweet" are measured.

Victorian Beauty said...

Oh -- also on the dulcia, I used pine nuts and almonds in mine when I made them. I can imagine walnuts might make them less sweet.

Jana said...

Dates are the candy of the ancient world for good reason! Very sweet indeed.