A Taste of Ancient Rome

Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa, Author, Anna Herklotz, Translator, Mary Taylor Sumeti, Foreword by University of Chicago Press $35 (239p) ISBN 978-0-226-29030-0
Neither an update for modern palates nor an anthropological study, this engrossing collection reproduces a two-thousand-year-old cuisine to ``tempt the reader to explore some appetizing dishes from forgotten historical sources.''4 Relying primarily on the writings of Apicius, Cato, Coumella, Juvenal, Martial and Petroniussics , Giacosa recalls the foods and practices of the Roman meal, or cena , the banquet and the tavern. Though established centuries before the introduction of the tomato, eggplant or pasta, ancient Roman cuisine depended on some elements familiar to modern Italian cooking: eggs, vegetables, fish and poultry. Less familiar elements included dormice (served stuffed), thrushes (served roasted) and the widely used sun-fermented fish-based sauce called garum . The 200 recipes here for such representative selections as seasoned mussels and duck in prune sauce are offered in their original Latin and in English; Giocosa also provides additional instructions, as for stuffing pigeons, or substitutions for ingredients like silphium, which is no longer available. The dozens of line drawings of ancient foodstuffs and color plates of Pompeian taverns and food shops complete this culinary portrait. Useful for food historians, a treat for food buffs, the book takes a welcome new look at the origins of a familiar cuisine. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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Paperback - 239 pages - 978-0-226-29032-4
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