The Hitchhiker's Guide to Ancient Cookery

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Alexandre Lerot d'Avigné
Jeff Berry
(Number 30 in the Series, May 2005)

First Pass

After a hiatus of just a few months over a decade, I'm on track to do a major feast. This one is for the coronation of Darius III and Roxane of the East Kingdom, scheduled for September of this year.

Naturally, I want to do Roman. So, I went straight to "A Taste of Ancient Rome," which is, unfortunately a tertiary source. It is Anna Herklotz' translation (from the Italian) of Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa's translation (from the Latin) of Apicius' De re coquinaria. I'll be doing my own redactions, of course, but it's still English by way of Italian from Latin. On the other hand, the Latin is pretty straightforward in most cases, so I'm willing to work with it.

The first thing I learned is that I'll be serving as archimagirus for the feast - it's nice to have a good title.

The next step was to make a quick pass through the cookbook looking for good recipes. I decided early on that I was looking at three courses: gustum, mensa prima and mensa secunda. I also knew a couple of things I wanted to do out the gate: savillum, a Roman style cheesecake, and faux dormice as a sort of soteltie.

Further perusal turned up a number of interesting looking recipes.

So, there you have it! Plenty of good recipes. Now it's just a question of trimming them down to a reasonable number and getting them in order for a good feast.

One practical consideration, of course, is figuring out which dishes can be pre-cooked and which can or should be served cold. That'll be where I start next time.

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Comments are welcome.
Alexandre Lerot d'Avigné, Jeff Berry,

Copyright Jeff Berry
Originally webbed 12 May 2005
Last modified 12 May 2005