This is a quirky and unusual historical cookery book, already a bestseller in Europe. Packed with fascinating anecdotes, and richly illustrated with witty quotes from classical authors, "Around the Roman Table" is a mouth-watering ride through the food of the ancient world and, as a recipe book, a step back in time. But it is not just the absence of gas-fired hobs and microwaves which make this such a unique experience. America had yet to be discovered, hence ingredients such as potatoes, tomatoes, red peppers and peanuts could not grace the Roman table. This lack of the staples of the European diet, was more than made up for by Roman appetite for foodstuffs we would scarcely feed our dogs. Fish eyes, pigs' ears, wombs, intestines and brains were all served, usually dressed in fiery pepper based sauces. Not all the recipes resort to such unusual fare and over 150 are reproduced here, especially adapted to allow modern cooks to revive ancient dishes in their own kitchens.
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Patrick Faas is a Dutch journalist and academic specializing in the history of food and eating. Around the Roman Table created a real stir because of his highly promotable appearance on a tv show demonstrating a recipe. It involved drowning a mouse in wine, live on camera, for which he was prosecuted, found guilty but escaped with a warning!From Publishers Weekly:
Faas, a Dutch food historian and chef, opens with the caveats that this is "no historical treatise" and that the more than 150 recipes will be difficult to prepare in a modern kitchen. Excuses aside, this is a capable study of the fascinating ancient Roman culture and the foods that graced its tables. A culinary history leads up to and through the Empire, when imported foods were all the rage and forks were unheard of. (Slaves were ordered to grow long hair so that their masters could wipe their hands on it.) Granted that these recipes are unlikely to be usable, as Faas points out, it's still unfortunate that such recipes as Broad Beans with Meatballs leave out certain details (such as, the type of pan used and the cooking time). Although Faas is most enthusiastic about foods that won't cause the modern palate to salivate-e.g., Stuffed Mouse and Dolphin Balls as well as "the meat of nursing puppies"-of greatest interest here are the comparisons between ancient Roman foods and modern Italian cooking. A dish of Fried Courgettes marinated in vinegar would not be out-of-place on today's antipasto table, and the Lupin beans that were once fed to livestock are now brined and eaten as a snack.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Macmillan, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0333904664