The Hitchhiker's Guide to Ancient Cookery

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Alexandre Lerot d'Avigné
Jeff Berry
(Number 31 in the Series, May 2005)

Cold or Hot

The next step is to look at my recipes and see which ones need to go out hot and which ones can or should go out cold, since I don't have infinite burner and oven space. While I'm at it, I'll see which things can be pre-cooked and refrigerated or frozen until the feast. (Bearing in mind defrost time!)

Patina de asparagis frigida YesProbablyYes
Sala cattabia YesNoYes
Iecur coques YesMaybeYes
Pepones et melones No No Yes
Assaturamm Maybe Yes Probably not
Vitulinam sive bubulam Probably notYes Probably not
Pernam (etc.) Probably notYes Probably not
Haedus sive agnus crudus Probably notYes Probably not
Pullum Frontonianum Probably Yes Probably not
Aliter avem Probably Yes Probably not
Ius album in assum leporem Probably not Yes Probably not
Ius in pisce elixo No Yes Not if I can help it
Betas elixas Beets yes, greens no Yes Yes
Cucumeres rasos No No Yes
Porros maturos fiiri No Yes Maybe
Faseoli virides et cicer No Could, but won't Yes
Tiropatinam Probably notI think this would be bestProbably OK
Ova sfongia ex lacte Probably nott'would be bestMaybe
Savillum Yes Could Yes
Patina de piris Maybe t'would be best Maybe
Faux dormice from Lucanicae or Farcimina Pre-mixed but not formed or cooked Maybe Maybe

I'm told that I have four big ovens each with four big burners to work with. Luxury! I was also asked if I could spare some space for the dayboard to heat stuff. Looking at my menu, and since I could have it back sometime in the afternoon, I'm not seeing a problem.

Now, I've got a bunch of recipes and I want to break that down into roughly three courses - although they will actually go out more or less continuously. But by breaking them into gustum, mensa prima and mensa secunda, I can plan where my plating breaks come and stagger cooking times and such. So ...

Mensa secunda is the easiest. It's the desserty end of things. I don't need to go crazy here, but I'd like a few options. There are a couple of slam-dunks, though: Savillum and the Faux Dormice (Glires falsi?) Add in some appropriate fruits - grapes, of course, and perhaps one or two others, and that starts look pretty good. I want to try the Patina de piris, a baked eggy thing, to see if I could either cook it on site or serve it cold.

Gustum ... gustum. Although I didn't dig up recipes for them, some hardboiled eggs (and sauce! I didn't mention the sauces!) and some olives. Marinated mushrooms, perhaps? As well, of my recipes, the Pepones et melones (at least the melones part) is good. I think some bread, and the Sala cattabia would go nicely here as well. I'm also tempted to roll out a hot chicken dish, either a basic roast with sauce or the Pullum Frontonianum. (I've just about decided to do a chicken leg quarter per person, by the way.) That might do it for gustum.

That leaves mensa prima. I've already rolled out a largish serving of chicken as well as some good appetizers, so I can roll out smaller servings of some stuff here. I like the idea of doing both the fish and lamb (Ius in pisce elixo and Haedus etc.), but I may have to find another fish recipe, or an easier way to seal the cooking dishes for the one I've got - pastry seals when cookig fish for 160 may be more of a pain in the butt than I want to deal with. The Faseoli virides et cicer is a gimme, too. Really good (I tried it already) and easy. Regrettably the ham in pastry will have to wait for another time. Either the cucumbers or beets, or maybe both.

Ok, what does that give me?


Mensa Prima
Mensa Secunda
That looks like a decent spread, and one that the kitchen can handle. Further analysis to come!

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

Copyright Jeff Berry
Originally webbed 17 May 2005
Last modified 17 May 2005