Tuesday 21 January 2020

FEAST YOUR EYES ON THIS! #HistoricalFiction author, Brooke Allen, is taking a look at the delicacies that graced the Roman Table #History #AncientRome @1BrookAllen

Delicacies that graced the Roman Table
By Brook Allen

As we begin 2020, many of us will be beginning the usual New Year’s resolution diet. In honor of this, I thought it might be interesting to discuss Roman foods. And the first thing I'll say about them is that ancient tastes were MUCH different than those of today. In fact, just reading about them may help you stick to your resolution!

Here is a listing of some preferred delicacies gracing the noble Roman table. Not all of them were bizarre, but I think it's safe to say that most people today might crinkle their noses at the mention of a few.

DORMICE: Yeah... as in MICE. The Romans actually farmed these little rodents, as they were considered such a delicacy. They were fattened with nuts, often served stuffed with pine-nuts, meats, or grains, then roasted. Sometimes they were dipped in honey, like a chicken nugget. According to Wikipedia, they're still considered yummy in places like Slovenia and Croatia. Thanks, but I'll stick with chicken.

FLAMINGO TONGUES: Actually, the entire bird was considered to be a fabulous course at banquets among the elite. However, the tongues of flamingos were the cats meow. They have a meaty surface that Romans simply loved. And apparently, they tasted fantastic! I'm still sticking with chicken.

GARUM: Garum was the ketchup of the Roman world. It was a fermented fish sauce, and since I happen to love fish, I thought (at first) that here was something I would give a try. However, after some research, I discovered that garum was made using fish intestines, and now I'm back to plain old chicken, again. Still, garum was popular not only in Rome, but the Greeks had already developed a form of it, and later on, the Byzantine people adored the stuff. There are many examples of amphorae (pottery vessels) that were used to store garum, and traces of the substance have even been discovered in Pompeii. 

JELLYFISH: Even though I'm sticking with chicken, many Asian societies still eat jellyfish, and so did the Romans. One popular way of serving it was to prepare it with eggs, according to Marcus Gavius Apicius, a foodie during the reign of Tiberius. Apicius left the world a good many recipes and from his writings, we are left with a great deal of information on eating habits in the Roman world.

EEL: Just like dormice, eels were often farmed and considered haute cuisine. In fact, they are still very popular in Asian cooking. However, if you were a Roman who (like me!) wouldn't stomach eating one, then it was much in vogue just to keep them as pets! In fact, Marc Antony's daughter is said to have owned a pet eel that she adorned with earrings! Julius Caesar, however, may have had a taste for eels. Two commentaries record that he purchased either two-thousand of the slimy snacks (according to Varro) or six-thousand (according to Macrobius) to feed the populace during his Triumphs. 

ICE CREAM: Yes, Romans enjoyed sweets. A sort of "iced-cream" was often served as a dessert, mixed with snow from the mountains, along with milk, cream, honey, nuts, and dates. 

If you're interested in more information on cuisine and feasting in the ancient world, several cookbooks based on foods in the ancient world are now available, translated from original recipes. I have one in my own cookbook collection. The Classical Cookbook by Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger is loaded with recipes and intriguing information on things the ancients ate.

Bon appetit and good luck on the diet!

Antonius: Second in Command

By Brook Allen

The Antonius saga continues…

Having proven himself as a formidable cavalry commander, Marcus Antonius finally earns a position at his kinsman Julius Caesar’s side. However, Caesar is an exacting general, demanding complete allegiance from his staff, even when his decisions put him at odds with the Senate. Marcus’s loyalty to Caesar comes at a cost, and he soon finds himself embroiled in mob violence and military mutinies. As civil war brings Rome’s Republic crashing down, many a relationship is torn asunder, including Marcus’s marriage. Determined to rise triumphant in Rome’s new era, Marcus faces his fears, his failures, and his enemies—not the least of whom is himself.

Amid the crisis of the Ides of March, Marcus must don the mantle of ruthlessness to carve his own legacy in Rome’s history. Enemies have been made, wills have been read, and heirs proclaimed.

But in Rome’s civil unrest, blood answers only to blood.

Antonius: Son of Rome
By Brook Allen

For over two thousand years, Marc Antony has been one of history’s most controversial men. His story was buried with him and written by his enemies. Now his entire saga is revealed in a compelling trilogy by Brook Allen.

After young Marcus Antonius’s father dies in disgrace, he yearns to restore his family’s honor during the final days of Rome’s dying Republic. Marcus is rugged, handsome, and possesses abundant military talent, but upon entering manhood, he falls prey to the excesses of a licentious society. His whoring, gambling, and drinking eventually reap dire consequences. After a series of personal tragedies, Marcus must come into his own through blood, death, and sacrifice. Once he finally earns a military commission, he faces an uphill battle to earn the respect and admiration of soldiers, proconsuls, and kings. Desperate to redeem his name and carve a legacy for himself, he refuses to let warring rebels, scheming politicians, or even an alluring young Egyptian princess stand in his way.

Brook Allen

Brook Allen is a Music Educator in a rural community near Roanoke, VA. Aside from her regular classes, she teaches two ensembles, a Chorus and Recorder Consort. Born in Salt Lake City, UT, Brook was raised in Omaha, Nebraska and has lived all over the U.S., from the Pacific Northwest, all the way down to Florida. She graduated with a B.A. in Music Education and has a M. A. in Liberal Studies, with an emphasis on Roman History. Brook is happily married and has two energetic Labrador Retrievers. Voraciously active, she cycles, hikes, and loves to travel.
Connect with Brook: Website • Twitter • Facebook.

No comments:

Post a Comment

See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx