Ricette antica Roma
 LUCANICAE (Lucanian Sausage)
LUCANIAN SAUSAGE ARE MADE SIMILAR TO THE ABOVE: CRUSH PEPPER,
CUMIN, SAVORY, RUE, PARSLEY, CONDIMENT, LAUREL BERRIES AND BROTH; MIX
WITH FINELY CHOPPED [Pork] AND POUND WELL WITH BROTH. TO THIS MIXTURE,
BEING RICH, ADD WHOLE PEPPER AND NUTS. WHEN FILLING CASINGS CAREFULLY
PUSH THE MEAT THROUGH. HANG SAUSAGES UP TO SMOKE.
[GR] To me this sounds like a spicy smoked pork sausage. We could probably
substitute a spicy salami or similar type of sausage with little variation
in the taste when used within a recipe.
 ASPARAGOS (Asparagus)
ASPARAGUS MUST BE [peeled, washed and] DRIED AND IMMERSED
IN BOILING WATER BACKWARDS.
[GR] The stalks are sorted into bundles according to size, then tied.
They're then stood in the boiling water with their heads above the water
level, so the stalks boil, and the heads steam, and thus cook slower than
the stalks, so the Asparagus is cooked properly at both ends. Or you could
just cheat and use tinned Asparagus.
 ALITER CUCURBITAS MORE ALEXANDRINO (Alexandrine Style Gourd)
PRESS THE WATER OUT OF THE BOILED GOURD, PLACE IN A BAKING
DISH, SPRINKLE WITH SALT, GROUND PEPPER, CUMIN, CORIANDER SEED, GREEN
MINT AND A LITTLE LASER ROOT; SEASON WITH VINEGAR. NOW ADD DATE WINE AND
PIGNOLIA NUTS GROUND WITH HONEY, VINEGAR AND BROTH, MEASURE OUT THE CONDENSED
WINE AND OIL, POUR THIS OVER THE GOURD AND FINISH IN THIS LIQUOR AND SERVE,
SPRINKLE WITH PEPPER BEFORE SERVING.
[GR] I think this would then have to be roasted when it says 'Finish'.
The book calls the gourd 'Pumpkin'. Maybe this is a case of calling the
vegetable by the terminology of the populace of the time of translation.
Current thinking has Laser (not extinct) as a similar flavour to garlic.
 BETAS (Beets)
TO MAKE A DISH OF BEETS THAT WILL APPEAL TO YOUR TASTE
SLICE THE BEETS WITH LEEKS AND CRUSH CORIANDER AND CUMIN; ADD RAISIN WINE,
BOIL ALL DOWN TO PERFECTION: BIND IT, SERVE SEPARATE FROM THE BROTH, WITH
OIL AND VINEGAR.
[GR] You could again cheat and use tinned cooked sliced beets with this
recipe, adding cooked (steamed to keep all the flavours in), a slosh of
Madeira and a drizzle of olive oil. The vinegar is already in the tinned
 NE LACTUCAE LAEDANT (A Harmless Salad)
2 OUNCES OF GINGER, 1 OUNCE OF GREEN RUE, 1 OUNCE OF MEATY
DATES, 12 SCRUPLES OF GROUND PEPPER, 1 OUNCE OF GOOD HONEY AND 8 OUNCES
OF EITHER AETHEOPIAN OR SYRIAN CUMIN. MAKE AN INFUSION OF THIS IN VINEGAR,
THE CUMIN CRUSHED, AND STRAIN.
[GR] This was intended (it seems) to defuse the harm that lettuce does
to one's guts. For those who don't think that lettuce is harmful, this
can also be used as a great dressing. The use of measurements is rare,
but more common with 'medicinal' usage. This would be way too much for
a single salad, but a proportionately smaller amount isn't that hard to
do. The best lettuce to use (to my knowledge) is Cos, rather than the
standard (and modern) Iceberg. Endives are also useful here, and are mentioned
in the recipe .
 CAROTAE ET PASTINACAE (Carrots and Parsnips)
CARROTS [AND/OR] PARSNIPS ARE FRIED WITH A WINE SAUCE.
[GR] Presumably the vegetable(s) are fried first, and then served with
the sauce. An important note here that carrots of the Roman time were
NOT orange in colour. This colour wasn't developed until around the 15th-16th
centuries. The correct colours for carrots in Roman times were white or
 PATINA VERSATILIS (A nut custard which can be turned over)
THE DISH, CALLED TURN-OVER, IS THUS MADE. CRUSH VERY FINE
WALNUTS AND HAZELNUTS TOAST THEM AND CRUSH WITH HONEY, MIX IN PEPPER,
BROTH MILK AND EGGS AND A LITTLE OIL.
[GR] This is a molded custard dish which is turned over to serve. Very
 PATINA EX SOLEIS (Sole in White Wine)
A DISH OF SOLE IS THUS MADE: BEAT THE SOLE, PREPARE AND
PLACE THEM IN A SAUCE PAN, ADD OIL, BROTH AND WINE, ORIGANY AND ADD OF
THE FISH JUICE; THEN BIND THE SAUCE WITH RAW EGGS TO MAKE A GOOD CREAMY
SAUCE IF IT; STRAIN THIS OVER THE SOLE, HEAT ON A SLOW FIRE, SPRINKLE
WITH PEPPER AND SERVE.
[GR] One of the book's editors says the egg should just be the yolk.
The 'broth' here could be made stronger by adding a fish sauce (Roman
 FABACIAE VIRIDES ET BAIANAE (Green Beans)
GREEN BEANS ARE COOKED IN BROTH WITH OIL, GREEN CORIANDER,
CUMIN AND CHOPPED LEAKS, AND SERVED.
[GR] The green beans referred to here are not the long beans commonly
referred to as 'green beans' nowdays. They seem to have been (bean?) the
round, flat beans known as 'broad beans'.
 IUS VIRIDE IN AVIBUS (Green Sauce for Fowl)
PEPPER, CARAWAY, INDIAN SPIKENARD, CUMIN, BAY LEAVES, ALL
KINDS OF GREEN HERBS, DATES, HONEY, VINEGAR, WINE, LITTLE BROTH, AND OIL.
[GR] This can always be advertised as fowl green sauce. Sorry, my sick
sense of humour is coming through. The broth referred to here could be
the chicken's stock
 ASSATURAE (Choice Roasts)
ROASTING, PLAIN, ASSATURAM SIMPLICEM GENEROUSLY SPRINKLED
WITH SALT, AND SERVE IT [GLAZED] WITH HONEY.
[GR] Any meat will do and it'll taste great. Simple recipe to take to
pot-luck orgies for the reenactor who can't cook.
 JUS IN COPADIIS (Sauce for Tidbits)
PEPPER, LOVAGE, PARSLEY, SHALLOTS, TOASTED ALMONDS, DATES,
HONEY, VINEGAR, BROTH, REDUCED MUST AND OIL.
 TYROPATINAM (Custard)
ESTIMATE THE AMOUNT OF MILK NECESSARY FOR THIS DISH AND
SWEETEN OT WITH HONEY TO TASTE; TO A SEXTARIUM [GR - PINT/600ml] OF FLUID
TAKE 5 EGGS; FOR A HEMINAM [GR - HALF PINT/300ml] DISSOLVE 3 EGGS IN MILK
AND BEAT WELL TO INCORPORATE THOROUGHLY, STRAIN THROUGH A COLANDER INTO
AN EARTHEN DISH AND COOK ON A SLOW FIRE (in hot water bath in oven). WHEN
CONGEALED SPRINKLE WITH PEPPER AND SERVE.
[GR] This is basically a recipe for baked custard, even including setting
it in a tray of water in the oven.
 MEL ET CASEUM (Cheese and Honey)
PREPARE CHEESE EITHER WITH HONEY AND BROTH OR WITH SALT,
OIL AND CORIANDER.
[GR] My favourite way is to use Ricotta or cottage cheese with honey
and coriander, combining the two options. I doubt that the broth referred
to here is either meat stock or liquamen, but rather a brine (salt water)
 BULBOS (Bulbs)
COOK THE BULBS INTO A THICK PUREE AND SEASON WITH THYME,
ORIGANY, HONEY, VINEGAR, REDUCED WINE, DATE WINE, BROTH AND A LITTLE OIL.
 FINGI FARNEI (Morels)
IN SALT WATER, WITH OIL, PURE WINE, AND SERVE WITH CHOPPED
 BOLETOS FUNGOS (Mushrooms)
FRESH MUSHROOMS ARE STEWED IN REDUCED WINE WITH A BUNCH
OF GREEN CORIANDER, REMOVE BEFORE SERVING.
[GR] Or, another combination is also good: Mushrooms in wine or reduced
wine and chopped coriander.
 ALITER HAEDINAM SIVE AGNINAM EXCALDATAM (Another Lamb Stew)
PUT PIECES OF KID OR LAMB IN THE STEW POT WITH CHOPPED
ONION AND CORIANDER. CRUSH PEPPER, LOVAGE, CUMIN AND COOK WITH BROTH,
OIL AND WINE. PUT IN A DISH AND TIE WITH ROUX.
[GR] Tie with Roux = Thicken with Flour (wheat, not corn).
 PORCELLUM HORTOLAMUN (Pig a la Jarginiere)
THE PIG IS BONED THROUGH THE THROAT AND FILLED WITH QUENELLES
OF CHICKEN FORCEMEAT, FINELY CUT (roast) THRUSHES, FIG-PECKERS, LITTLE
SAUSAGE CAKES MADE OF THE PIG'S MEAT[GR -rissoles], LUCANIAN SAUSAGE,
STONED DATES, EDIBLE BULBS (glazed onions) SNAILS TAKEN OUT OF THE SHELL
(poached) MALLOWS, LEEKS, BEETS, CELERY, COOKED SPROUTS, CORIANDER, WHOLE
PEPPER, NUTS, 15 EGGS POURED OVER, BROTH, WHICH IS SPICED WITH PEPPER,
AND DILUTED WITH 3 EGGS, THEREUPON SEW IT TIGHT, STIFFEN AND ROAST IN
THE OVEN. WHEN DONE, OPEN THE BACK AND POUR OVER THE FOLLOWING SAUCE:
CRUSHED PEPPER, RUE, BROTH, RAISIN WINE, HONEY AND A LITTLE OIL.
[GR] What a recipe! Definitely on my wish list. A larger than normal
oven is needed. Apparently the way to do this is to par-cook the pig whole,
then put everything else (pre-cooked) in, with the eggs poured over to
bind the filling (sort of an omelet?). The final roasting must be done
slowly and carefully.
 ALITER LEPOREM EXLIXUM (Boiled Hare)
DRESS THE HARE; [boil it]. IN A FLAT SAUCE PAN POUR OIL,
BROTH, RAISIN WINE, SLICED ONION, GREEN RUE AND CHOPPED THYME AND SO SERVE
[GR] A boiled hare with side sauce.
 GLIRES (Stuffed Dormouse)
IS STUFFED WITH A FORCEMEAT OF PORK AND SMALL PIECES OF
DORMOUSE MEAT TRIMMINGS, ALL POUNDED WITH PEPPER, NUTS, LASER, BROTH.
PUT THE DORMOUSE THUS STUFFED IN AN EARTHEN CASSEROLE, ROAST IT IN THE
OVEN, OR BOIL IT IN THE STOCK POT.
[GR] From my recent readings, a good substitute for laser could be garlic
(mentioned as a standard Roman dish in so many places, but not at all
in this book). The Dormouse is a fat arboreal rat-sized creature. So you
can't get dormice? Neither can we! There was an executive decision made
by Emma Turkington and myself that most 'exotic' animals taste like chicken
anyway. We substituted chicken breasts, stuffed them and roast them, and
then, in the fine tradition of early cookery, put currants and chives
to give them a dormouse 'look'. Very amusing. Very Roman.
 IUS IN PISCE ELIXO (Sauce for Boiled Fish)
PEPPER, LOVAGE, PARSLEY, ORIGANY, DRY ONIONS, HONEY, VINEGAR,
BROTH, WINE, A LITTLE OIL, WHEN BOILING, TIE WITH ROUX AND SERVE IN A
[GR] Tie with Roux = Thicken with Flour (wheat, not corn)
A list of vegetables mentioned in Apicius, in the recipes not mentioned
A stewpot or kettle.
Notes on Apicius
If you're at all interested in Roman reenactment, a translation of Apician
recipes should be on your shelves, happily sitting beside Connolly, Gibbon,
Robinson and Bishop & Coulston.
The words in UPPERCASE are an English translation
mainly from three Latin editions, dated 1541, 1542 and 1922, with reference
to other editions. There are rarely any amounts mentioned for the recipes.
Thus to cook the more complex Roman food successfully, you must reach
the Zen/Karma of Roman cooking. This is basically found through experimentation,
and the use of taste and smell while cooking. This is not hard for those
cooks among us who find that following a recipe completely is like pulling
teeth, but the more amount-bound of us may run into trouble.
I've left out all the "Gross" recipes, Sow's Vulva, Sow's
belly with paps, Liver, Brains, etc. etc. You'll have to buy the book!
Bread and Cakes
There are no recipes for breads or cakes in these volumes, for reasons
Anyway, other sources point to the use of plainish Focaccias, flat bread
and yeast breads (one from Pompeii had a pattern on the top that was basically
radiating lines. This bread pulls apart nicely into hand-sized triangles).
Romans would have eaten yeast-risen cakes, or layered unleavened pastries.
They didn't have baking powder.
There are many references to Honey Cakes in Roman literature, and also
to their stickiness. I'm wondering if they had those wonderfully sticky
middle-eastern sweets like baklava, sesame cakes etc. They had all the
ingredients, and loved sweets, and commented on sticky honey cakes, so
to my way of thinking, it's a distinct possibility. You'd have to be careful
when picking the style of sweet, because some have ingredients that weren't
available in Ancient Rome.