The Hitchhiker's Guide to Ancient Cookery

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Alexandre Lerot d'Avigné
Jeff Berry
(Number 34 in the Series, July 2005)

Two Recipes

Glires Falses

I'd been wanting to do something like this for awhile, and the Coronation is providing the perfect excuse. I've got recipes for glires, dormice. But dormice being hard to come by these days, I thought I'd do faux dormice. My Latin being poor, I poked around and came up with falsus, -a, -um as being perhaps a good adjective - hence glires falses, for faux dormice.

I start with this, from Apicius:
Lucanicas similiter ut supra scriptum est. teritur piper, cuminum, satureia, ruta, petroselinum, condimentum, bacae lauri, liquamen, et admiscetur pulpa bene tunsa, ita ut denuo bene cum ipso subtrito fricetur. cum liquamine admixto, pipere integro et abundanti pinguedine et nucleis inicies in intestinum perquam tenuatim perductum, et sic ad fumum suspenditur.

Grind together pepper, cumin, savory, rue, parsley, condiments/spice, bay berries and garum. Mix in ground meat, then grind again. Mix with garum, whole peppercorns, plenty of fat and pine nuts, fill an intestine stretched thin, and thus hang it to smoke.

For my purposes, I will dispense with the rue since it might be medically contra-indicated. Instead of garum I will use salt for the following three reasons: 1) salt is easier to get than garum, which is important for a largish feast, 2) I don't want fish in everything I serve, also important for a largish feast, 3) my reading of the recipes both for garum and for the things it goes in suggest that it was a salty sauce and used much like salt for flavor enhancement. I may also go light on the savory and parsley and dispense with the bay-berries. That is for the aesthetic considerations of my MeatMice.

So, make the sausage without the pinenuts or peppercorns. Make a small ball (I'm aiming for 16 mice to the pound), put the knotted end of a short piece of twine and a few pinenuts in the middle, fold it over into a mouse shape, stick on two peppercorns for eyes, bake about 10 minutes at 350 and serve hot.

Here's what they look like:

The one on the left is pork, the ones on the right are lamb, which is what I'll use. I'm thinking I may serve some diluted honey as a dipping sauce.

The ideal way to eat them, of course, is to lift by the tail and drop into the mouth. The pinenuts add a nice little surprise crunch when you bite down.


This is actually from Appendix Vergiliana, I believe:
Quattor alia, apius, ruta, coriandrum, salis micas, caseus.

Or: Four garlic (cloves), celery, rue, coriander, salt grains, cheese.

For my version I will neglect the rue for the same reasons as above. Since we are not told the quantities of anything except the garlic, we are left with complete freedom to spice it to our liking. I wonder, though, if cheese came in a standard measure? Then we would be able to guess that the given quanity of garlic was for a known "size" of cheese.

In any case, I started with a pound of ricotta cheese and about 1/4 cup of grated romano cheese. I chose this mix since a previous attempt at a salia cattabia using only ricotta had a texture that I didn't like. I also tend to find ricotta too bland for my tastes. Romano, however, would be too salty and not have the right texture (I suppose I should mention I want something I can spread on bread.) Hence the mix.

Then to that I added perhaps a quarter to a half teaspoon each of garlic powder and celery seed and a few sprinkles of salt. For the actual version at the feast, I'll use real celery, of course, but for my initial test I didn't have celery.

The result was good. Very good, so I can add it to the menu with a clear conscience.

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

Copyright Jeff Berry
Originally webbed: 27 July 2005
Last modified: 22 November 2005