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If only a Petronius had written that story! What a story it might have been! But there is only one Petronius in antiquity. His Trimalchio, former slave, successful profiteer and food speculator, braggard and drunkard, wife-beater—an upstart who arranged extravagant banquets merely to show off, who, by the way, also arranged for his funeral at his banquet Apician fashion and, indeed, Petronian fashion! Last but not least: Mrs. Without Petronius and Pompeii the antique world would forever remain at an inexplicably remote distance to our modern conception of life. With him, and with the dead city, the riddles of antiquity are cleared up. Many dishes listed in Apicius are named for various celebrities who flourished at a later date than the second Apicius. It is noteworthy, however, that neither such close contemporaries as Heliogabalus and Nero, notorious gluttons, nor Petronius, the arbiter of fashion of the period, are among the persons thus honored.
Vitellius, a later glutton, is well represented in the book. It is fair to assume, then, that the author or collector of our present Apicius lived long after the second Apicius, or, at least, that the book was augmented by persons posterior to M. Gabius A. The book in its present state was probably completed about the latter part of the third century. It is almost certain that many recipes were added to a much earlier edition.
We may as well add another to the many speculations by saying that it is quite probable for our book to originate in a number of Greek manuals or monographs on specialized subjects or departments of cookery. Such special treatises are mentioned by Athenaeus cf. Humelbergius, quoted by Lister. The titles of each chapter or book are in Greek, the text is full of Greek terminology.
While classification under the respective titles is not strictly adhered to at all times, it is significant that certain subjects, that of fish cookery, for instance, appear twice in the book, the same subject showing treatment by widely different hands. Still more significant is the absence in our book of such important departments as desserts— dulcia —confections in which the ancients were experts. Bakery, too, even the plainest kind, is conspicuously absent in the Apician books. The latter two trades being particularly well developed, were departmentalized to an astonishing degree in ancient Greece and Rome. These  indispensable books are simply wanting in our book if it be but a collection of Greek monographs.
Roman culture and refinement of living, commencing about years before our era was under the complete rule of Hellas. Greek influence included everybody from philosophers, artists, architects, actors, law-makers to cooks. Humelbergius makes a significant reference to the origin of Apicius. We confess, we have not checked up this worthy editor nor his successor, Dr. Lister, whom he quotes in the preface as to the origin of our book. In our opinion, unfounded of course by positive proof, the Apicius book is somewhat of a gastronomic bible, consisting of ten different books by several authors, originating in Greece and taken over by the Romans along with the rest of Greek culture as spoils of war. These books, or chapters, or fragments thereof, must have been in vogue long before they were collected and assembled in the present form.
Editions, or copies of the same must have been numerous, either singly or collectively, at the beginning of our era. Thus a fragmentary Apicius has been handed down to us in manuscript form through the centuries, through the revolutionary era of Christian ascendancy, through the dark ages down to the Renaissance. They have done better than the average archaeologist with one or another find to his credit. The Apicius book is a living thing, capable of creating happiness. Some gastronomic writers have pointed out that the man who discovers a new dish does more for humanity than the man who discovers a new star, because the discovery of a new dish affects the happiness of mankind more pleasantly than the addition of a new  planet to an already overcrowded chart of the universe.
Viewing Apicius from such a materialistic point of view he should become very popular in this age of ours so keen for utilities of every sort. This name is mentioned in the title of the first undated edition ca. His presence and the unreality thereof has been cleared up by Vollmer, as will be duly shown. The squabble of the medieval savants has also given rise to the story that Apicius is but a joke perpetrated upon the world by a medieval savant. This will be refuted also later on. Our book is a genuine Roman.
We desire to do full justice to the ancient work and complete the presentation of its history. The controversies that have raged over it make this course necessary. Our predecessors have not had the benefit of modern communication, and, therefore, could not know all that is to be known on the subject. We sympathize with Lister yet do not condemn Torinus.
If Torinus ever dared making important changes in the old text, they are easily ascertained by collation with other texts. This we have endeavored to do. Explaining the discrepancies, it will be noted that we have not given a full vote of confidence to Lister. The reason would be commercial gain, prestige accruing from the name of that cookery celebrity. Such business sense would not be extraordinary. Modern cooks pursue the same method. Babies, apartment houses, streets, cities, parks, dogs, race horses, soap, cheese, herring, cigars, hair restorers are thus named today.
Neither can this be proven. The copyists have made many changes throughout the original text. Misspelling of terms, ignorance of cookery have done much to obscure the meaning. The scribes of the middle ages had much difficulty in this respect since medieval Latin is different from Apician language. The very language of the original is proof for its authenticity. The desire of Torinus to interpret to his medieval readers the ancient text is pardonable. How much or how little he succeeded is attested to by some of his contemporary readers, former owners of our copies. Scholars plainly confess inability to decipher Apicius by groans inscribed on the fly leaves and title pages in Latin, French and other languages. Why make fun of me? Notwithstanding its drawbacks, our book is a classic both as to form and contents.
It has served as a prototype of most ancient and modern books. Its influence is felt to the present day. The book has often been cited by old writers as proof of the debaucheries and the gluttony of ancient Rome. Nothing could be further from the truth because these writers failed to understand the book. The Apicius book reflects the true condition partly so, because it is incomplete of the kitchen prevailing at the beginning of our era when the mistress of the Old World was in her full regalia, when her ample body had not yet succumbed to that fatty degeneration of the interior so fatal to ever so many individuals, families, cities and nations.
The voluptuous concoctions, the fabulous dishes, the proverbial excesses that have made decent people shudder with disgust throughout the ages are not known to Apicius. These extremely few foolish creations are really at the bottom of the cause for this misunderstanding of true Roman life. Such stupidity has allowed the joy of life which, as Epikuros and Platina believe, may be indulged in with perfect virtue and honesty to become a byword among all good people who are not gastronomers either by birth, by choice or by training. With due justice to the Roman people may we be permitted to say that proverbial excesses were exceedingly rare occurrences.
The follies and the vices  of a Nero, a boy Heliogabalus, a Pollio, a Vitellius and a few other notorious wasters are spread sporadically over a period of at least eight hundred years. Between these cases of gastronomic insanity lie wellnigh a thousand years of everyday grind and drudgery of the Roman people. The bulk was miserably fed as compared with modern standards of living. The contrast between the middle classes and the upper classes seemed very cruel. The seemingly outlandish methods of Apician food preparation become plain and clear in the light of social evolution.
Apicius used practically all the cooking utensils in use today. He only lacked gas, electricity and artificial refrigeration, modern achievements while useful in the kitchen and indispensable in wholesale production and for labor saving, that have no bearing on purely gastronomical problems. There is only one difference between the cooking utensils of yore and the modern products: the old ones are hand-made, more individualistic, more beautiful, more artistic than our machine-made varieties.
Despite his strangeness and remoteness, Apicius is not dead by any means. We have but to inspect as Gollmer has pointed out the table of the Southern Europeans to find Apician traditions alive. In the Northern countries, too, are found his traces. To think that Apicius should have survived in the North of Europe, far removed from his native soil, is a rather audacious suggestion. But the keen observer can find him in Great Britain, Scandinavia and the Baltic provinces today. The conquerors and seafarers coming from the South have carried the pollen of gastronomic flowers far into the North where they adjusted themselves to soil and climate.
Many a cook of the British isles, of Southern Sweden, Holstein, Denmark, Friesland, Pomerania still observes Apicius rules though he may not be aware of the fact. We must realize that Apicius is only a book, a frail hand-made record and that, while the record itself might have been forgotten, its principles have become international property, long ago. Thus they live on. But the character has been preserved; a couple of thousand years are, after all, but a paltry matter.
Our  own age is but the grandchild of antiquity. The words we utter, in their roots, are those of our grandfathers. And so do many dishes we eat today resemble those once enjoyed by Apicius and his friends. Is it necessary to point the tenacity of the spirit of the Antique, reaching deep into the modern age? The latest Apicius edition in the original Latin is dated !
The gastronomic life of Europe was under the complete rule of old Rome until the middle of the seventeenth century. Then came a sudden change for modernity, comparable to the rather abrupt change of languages from the fashionable Latin to the national idioms and vernacular, in England and Germany under the influence of literary giants like Luther, Chaucer, Shakespeare. The great change in eating, resulting in a new gastronomic order, attained its highest peak of perfection just prior to the French revolution. Temporarily suspended by this social upheaval, it continued to flourish until about the latter part of last century.
The last decades of this new order is often referred to as the classical period of gastronomy, with France claiming the laurels for its development. Still, the world moves on. Conquest, discovery of foreign parts, the New World, contributed fine things to the modern table,—old forgotten foods were rediscovered—endless lists of materials and combinations, new daring, preposterous dishes that made the younger generation rejoice while old folks looked on gasping with dismay, despair, contempt.
In fact we are not concerned with the question here more than to give it passing attention. But this classic cookery system has so far only been the  sole and exclusive privilege of a dying aristocracy. The common people as yet have never had an active part in the enjoyment of the classic art of eating. So far, they always provided the wherewithal, and looked on, holding the bag. Modern hotels, because of their commercial character, have done little to perpetuate it. They merely have commercialized the art. Hotelmen are not supposed to be educators, they merely cater to a demand.
And our new aristocracy has been too busy with limousines, golf, divorces and electricity to bemourn the decline of classic cookery. Surely, this is no sign of retrogression but of tenacity. The only fundamental difference between Roman dining and that of our own times may be found in these two indisputable facts—. First Devoid of the science of agriculture, without any advanced mechanical means, food was not raised in a very systematic way; if it happened to be abundant, Roma lacked storage and transportation facilities to make good use of it. Second Skilled labor, so vital for the success of any good dinner, so imperative for the rational preparation of food was cheap to those who held slaves.
Then, good food was expensive while good labor was cheap. Now, good food is cheap while skilled labor is at a premium. That is another story. The chances for a good dinner seemed to be in favor of the Romans—but only for a favored few. Those of us, although unable to command a staff of experts, but able to prepare their own meals rationally and serve them well are indeed fortunate. With a few dimes they may dine in royal fashion. The fly in the ointment is that most modern people do not know how to handle and to appreciate food.
This condition, however, may be remedied by instruction and education. Slowly, the modern masses are learning to emulate their erstwhile masters in the art of eating. They have the advantages of the great improvements in provisioning as compared with former days, thanks chiefly to the great lines of  communication established by modern commerce, thanks to scientific agriculture and to the spirit of commercial enterprise and its resulting prosperity. If the commercialization of cookery, i. Even Spengler might be wrong then. Adequate distribution of our foods and rational use thereof seem to be one of the greatest problems today.
Age-old mysteries surrounding our book have not yet been cleared up. Medieval savants have squabbled in vain. Still, the mystery of this remarkable book is as perplexing as ever. The authorship will perhaps never be established. But let us forever dispel any doubt about its authenticity. Modern writers have never doubted the genuineness. What matters the identity of the author? Who wrote the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Nibelungen-Lied? Let us be thankful for possessing them! The philologist gives his testimony, too. A medieval scholar could never have manufactured Apicius, imitating his strikingly original terminology. Striking examples of this kind have been especially noted in our dictionary of technical terms.
This phrase is curious enough in itself to deserve illustration. It is true old fashioned Plautian Latinity, and if other proof were wanting would of itself demonstrate the genuineness of the Apician text. When Varius was emperor, this phrase of the kitchen was as rife as when Plautus wrote—a proof that occasionally slang has been long lived.
Coote is a very able commentator. Modern means of communication and photography have enabled scientists in widely different parts to study our book from all angles, to scrutinize the earliest records, the Vatican and the New York manuscripts and the codex Salmasianus in Paris. Friedrich Vollmer, of Munich, in his Studien cit. Apiciana has treated the manuscripts exhaustively, carrying to completion the research begun by Schuch, Traube, Ihm, Studemund, Giarratano and others with Brandt, his pupil, carrying on the work of Vollmer.
More modern scientists deeply interested in the origin of our book! None doubting its genuineness. Vollmer is of the opinion that there reposed in the monastery of Fulda, Germany, an Archetypus which in the ninth century was copied twice: once in a Turonian hand—the manuscript now kept in the Vatican—the other copy written partly in insular, partly in Carolingian minuscle—the Cheltenham codex , now in New York. The common source at Fulda of these two manuscripts has been established by Traube. There is another testimony pointing to Fulda as the oldest known source.
Enoche used as a guide a list of works based upon observations by Poggio in Germany in , listing the Apicius of Fulda. Enoche acquired the Fulda Apicius. He died in October or November, It is interesting to note that one of the Milanese editions of bears a title in this particular spelling. Enoche during his life time had lent the book to Giovanni Aurispa. It stands to reason that Poggio, in , viewed at Fulda the Archetypus of our Apicius, father of the Vatican and the New York manuscripts, then already mutilated and wanting books IX and X.
Six hundred years before the arrival of Poggio the Fulda book was no longer complete. Already in the ninth century its title page had been damaged which is proven by the title page of the Vatican copy which reads:. The New York copy, it has been noted, has no title page. This book commences in the middle of the list of chapters; the first part of them and the title page are gone. We recall that the New York manuscript was originally bound up with another manuscript, also in the Phillipps library at Cheltenham. The missing page or pages were probably lost in separating the two manuscripts.
It is possible that Enoche carried with him to Italy one of the ancient copies, very likely the present New York copy, then already without a title. At any rate, not more than twenty-five years after his book hunting expedition we find both copies in Italy. It is strange, furthermore, that neither of these two ancient copies were used by the fifteenth century copyists to make the various copies distributed by them, but that an inferior copy of the Vatican Ms.
One must bear in mind how assiduously medieval scribes copied everything that appeared to be of any importance to them, and how each new copy by virtue of human fallibility or self-sufficiency must have suffered in the making, and it is only by very careful comparison of the various manuscripts that the original text may be rehabilitated. This, to a large extent, Vollmer and Giarratano have accomplished. This name, so Vollmer claims, has been added to the book by medieval scholars without any reason except conjecture for such action.
They have been misled by the mutilated title: Api Remember, it is the title page only that is thus mutilated. The Archetypus , with the book and the chapters carefully indexed and numbered as they were, with each article neatly titled, the captions and capital letters rubricated—heightened by red color, and with its proper spacing of the articles and chapters must once have been a representative example of the art of book making as it flourished towards the end of the period that sealed the fate of the Roman empire, when books of a technical nature, law books, almanacs, army lists had been developed to a high point of perfection.
Luxurious finish, elaborate illumination point to the fact that our book the Vatican copy was intended for the use in some aristocratic household. And now, from a source totally different than the two important manuscripts so much discussed here, we receive additional proof of the authenticity of  Apicius. In the codex Salmasianus cf. They have been accepted as genuine by Salmasius and other early scholars. This course, for obvious reasons, is not to be recommended. To be sure, the excerpta are Apician enough in character, though only a few correspond to, or are actual duplicates of, the Apician precepts.
They are additions to the stock of authentic Apician recipes. As such, they may not be included but be appended to the traditional text. The excerpta encourage the belief that at the time of Vinidarius got. Vinithaharjis about the fifth century there must have been in circulation an Apicius collection of recipes much more complete than the one handed down to us through Fulda. We may safely join Vollmer in his belief that M. This theory also applies to the two instances where the name of Varro is mentioned in connection with the preparation of beets and onions bulbs. It is hardly possible that the author of the book made these references to Varro. Book III , [ 70 ] Still, there is no certainty in this theory either. There were many persons by the names of Commodus, Trajanus, Frontinianus, such as are appearing in our text, who were contemporaries of Apicius.
With our mind at ease as regards the genuineness of our book we now may view it at a closer range. Apicius contains technical terms that have been the subject of much speculation and discussion. Liquamen , laser , muria , garum , etc. They will be found in our little dictionary. But we cannot refrain from discussing some at present to make intelligible the most essential part of the ancient text. Take liquamen for instance. It may stand for broth, sauce, stock, gravy, drippings, even for court bouillon —in fact for any liquid appertaining to or derived from a certain dish or food material.
Now, if Apicius prescribes liquamen for the preparation of a meat or a vegetable, it is by no means clear to the uninitiated what he has in mind. In fact, in each case the term liquamen is subject to the interpretation of the experienced practitioner. Others than he would at once be confronted with an unsurmountable difficulty. Scientists may not agree with us, but such is kitchen practice. Hence the many fruitless controversies at the expense of the original, at the disappointment of science. Garum is another word, one upon which much contemptuous witticism and  serious energy has been spent.
Garum simply is a generic name for fish essences. True, garus is a certain and a distinct kind of Mediterranean fish, originally used in the manufacture of garum ; but this product, in the course of time, has been altered, modified, adulterated,—in short, has been changed and the term has naturally been applied to all varieties and variations of fish essences, without distinction, and it has thus become a collective term, covering all varieties of fish sauces. Indeed, the corruption and degeneration of this term, garum , had so advanced at the time of Vinidarius in the fifth century as to lose even its association with any kind of fish. Terms like garatum prepared with g. The original garum was no doubt akin to our modern anchovy sauce, at least the best quality of the ancient sauce.
The principles of manufacture surely are alike. The fish, intestines and all, was spiced, pounded, fermented, salted, strained and bottled for future use. The finest garum was made of the livers of the fish only, exposed to the sun, fermented, somehow preserved. It was an expensive article in old Rome, famed for its medicinal properties. However, garum has been vindicated, confirmed, endorsed, reiterated, rediscovered, if you please, by modern science! What, pray, is the difference in principle between garum the exact nature of which is unknown and the oil of the liver of cod or less expensive fish exposed to the beneficial rays of ultraviolet light—artificial sunlight—to imbue the oil with an extra large and uniform dose of vitamin D?
The name does not matter. The thing which they knew, does. Pollio, one of the vicious characters of antiquity, fed murenas sea-eel with slaves he threw into the piscina , the fish pond, and later enjoyed the liver of the fish. Our anchovy sauce is used freely to season fish, to mix with butter, to be made into solid anchovy or fish paste. There are sardine pastes, lobster pastes, fish forcemeats found in the larder of every good kitchen—preparations of Apician character.
Muria is salt water, brine, yet it may stand for a fluid in which fish or meat, fruits or vegetables have been pickled. The difficulties of the translator of Apicius who takes him literally, are unconsciously but neatly demonstrated by the work of Danneil. What have we learned of Apicius in the Northern countries? The ancient Holsteiner was not satisfied unless his piece of veal was covered with a nice fat herring.
De gustibus non est disputandum. It all goes into the same stomach. May it be a sturdy one, and let its owner beware. What of our turkey and oyster dressing? Of our broiled fish and bacon? Of our clam chowder, our divine Bouillabaisse? Danneil, like ever so many interpreters, plainly shared the traditional belief, the egregious errors of popular history. People still are under the spell of the fantastic and fanciful descriptions of Roman conviviality and gastronomic eccentricities. Indeed, we rather believe in the insanity of these descriptions than in the insane conduct of the average Roman gourmet. It is absurd of course to assume and to make the world believe that a Roman patrician made a meal of garum , laserpitium , and the like.
They used these condiments judiciously; any other use thereof is physically impossible. They economized their spices which have caused so much comment, too. This very reason, perhaps, caused much of the popular outcry against their use, which, by the way, is merely another form of political propaganda, in which, as we shall see, the mob guided by the rabble of politicians excelled. They have not survived in modern kitchen parlance, because the practice of using spices, flavors and aromas has changed. There are now in the market compounds, extracts, mixtures not used in the old days. Many modern spices come to us ready ground or mixed, or compounded ready for kitchen use.
This has the disadvantage in that volatile properties deteriorate more rapidly and that the goods may be easily adulterated. The Bavarians, under Duke Albrecht, in prohibited the grinding of spices for that very reason! Ground spices are time and labor savers, however. Modern kitchen methods have put the old mortar practically out of existence, at the expense of quality of the finished product. The enviable Apicius cared naught for either time or labor. He gave these two important factors in modern life not a single thought. His culinary procedures required a prodigious amount of labor and effort on the part of the cooks and their helpers. The labor item never worried any ancient employer.
It was either very cheap or entirely free of charge. The selfish gourmet which gourmet is not selfish? Few people appreciate the labor cost in excellent cookery and few have any conception of the cost of good food service today. Hence we moderns with a craving for gourmandise but minus appropriations for skilled labor would do well to follow the example of Alexandre Dumas who cheerfully and successfully attended to his own cuisine. The appetite of the ancients was at times successfully curbed by sumptuary laws, cropping out at fairly regular intervals. These laws, usually given under the pretext of safeguarding the morals of the people and accompanied by similar euphonious phrases were, like modern prohibitions, vicious and virulent effusions of the predatory instinct in mankind.
We cannot give a chronological list of them here, and are citing them merely to illustrate the difficulty confronting the prospective ancient host. The amounts allowed to be spent for various social functions were so ridiculously small in our own modern estimation that we may well wonder how a Roman host could have ever made a decent showing at a banquet. However, he and the cooks managed somehow. Imperial spies and informers were omnipresent. The pitiable host of those days, his unenviable guests and the bewildered cooks, however, contrived and conspired somehow to get up a banquet that was a trifle better than a Chicago quick lunch.
In the light of modern experience gained by modern governments dillydallying with sumptuary legislation that has been discarded as a bad job some two thousand years ago, the question seems superfluous. Difficile est satyram non scribere! Indeed, those who made the laws were first to break them. The minions, appointed to uphold the law, were easily accounted for. Any food inspector too arduous in the pursuit of his duty was disposed of by dispatching him to the rear entrance of the festive hall, and was delivered to the tender care of the chief cook. Such was the case during the times of Apicius. Indeed, the Roman idea of good cheer during earlier epochs was provincial enough. It was simply barbaric before the Greeks showed the Romans a thing or two in cookery.
The methods of fattening fowl introduced from Greece was something unheard-of! It was outrageous, sacrilegious! The speeches, to be sure, passed into oblivion, the fat capons, however, stayed in the barnyards until they had acquired the saturation point of tender luscious calories to be enjoyed by those who could afford them. Many other so-called luxuries, sausage from Epirus, cherries from the Pontus, oysters from England, were greeted with a studied hostility by those who profited from the business of making laws and public opinion.
Evidently, the time and the place was not very propitious for gastronomic over-indulgence. Only when the ice was broken, when the disregard for law and order had become general through the continuous practice of contempt for an unpopular sumptuary law, when corruption had become wellnigh universal chiefly thanks to the examples set by the higher-ups, it was then that the torrent  of human passion and folly ran riot, exceeding natural bounds, tearing everything with them, all that is beautiful and decent, thus swamping the great empire beyond the hopes for any recovery. Most of the Apician directions are vague, hastily jotted down, carelessly edited.
One of the chief reasons for the eternal misunderstandings! Often the author fails to state the quantities to be used. He has a mania for giving undue prominence to expensive spices and other quite often irrelevant ingredients. Plainly, Apicius was no writer, no editor. He was a cook. Even the most ascetic of men cannot resist the insidiousness of spicy delights, nor can he for any length of time endure the insipidity of plain food sans sauce. Hence the popularity of such sauces amongst people who do not observe the correct culinary principle of seasoning food judiciously, befitting its character, without spoiling but rather in enhancing its characteristics and in bringing out its flavor at the right time, namely during coction to give the kindred aromas a chance to blend well.
Continental nations, adhering to this important principle of cookery inherited from Apicius would not dream of using ready-made English sauces. We have watched ill-advised people maltreat good things, cooked to perfection, even before they tasted them, sprinkling them as a matter of habit, with quantities of salt and pepper, paprika, cayenne, daubing them with mustards of every variety or swamping them with one or several of the commercial sauce preparations.
Which painter would care to see his canvas varnished with all the hues in the rainbow by a patron afflicted with such a taste? Perhaps the craving for excessive flavoring is an olfactory delirium, a pathological case, as yet unfathomed like the excessive craving for liquor, and, being a problem for the medical fraternity, it is only of secondary importance to gastronomy. As a matter of fact, the reverse is the truth.
Apicius surely would be surprised at some things we enjoy. Do you recognize it? This mystery was conceived with an illustrative purpose which will be explained later, which may and may not have to do with the mystery of Apicius. Consider, for a moment, this mysterious creation No. Worse yet! Instead of having our appetite aroused the very perusal of this quasi-Apician mixtum compositum repels every desire to partake of it. We are justly tempted to condemn it as being utterly impossible. Yet every day hundreds of thousand portions of it are sold under the name of special fruit salad with mayonnaise mousseuse. The above mystery No. Thus we could go on analyzing modern preparations and make them appear as outlandish things.
Yet we relish them every day. The ingredients, obnoxious in great quantities, are employed with common sense. We are not mystified seeing them in print; they are usually given in clear logical order. This is not the style of Apicius, however. We can hardly judge Apicius by what he has revealed but we rather should try to discover what he—purposely or otherwise—has concealed if we would get a good idea of the ancient kitchen. This thought occurred to us at the eleventh hour, after years of study of the text and after almost despairing of a plausible solution of its mysteries.
The more we scrutinize them, the more we become convinced that the author has omitted vital directions—same as we did purposely with the two modern examples above. Many of the Apician recipes are dry enumerations of ingredients supposed to belong to a given dish or sauce. It is well-known that in chemistry cookery is but applied chemistry the knowledge of the rules governing the quantities and  the sequence of the ingredients, their manipulation, either separately or jointly, either successively or simultaneously, is a very important matter, and that violation or ignorance of the process may spell failure at any stage of the experiment.
In the kitchen this is particularly true of baking and soup and sauce making, the most intricate of culinary operations. There may have been two chief reasons for concealing necessary information. Every good practitioner knows, with ingredients or components given, what manipulations are required, what effects are desired. Even in the absence of detailed specifications, the experienced practitioner will be able to divine correct proportions, by intuition. Call it inspiration, association of ideas or what you please, a single word may often prove a guide, a savior. This is sufficiently proven by the lingua coquinaria , the vulgar Latin of our old work. In our opinion, the ancient author did not consider it worth his while to give anything but the most indispensable information in the tersest form.
This he certainly did. A comparison of his literary performance with that of the artistic and accomplished writer of the Renaissance, Platina, will at once show up Apicius as a hard-working practical cook, a man who knew his business but who could not tell what he knew. These articles, written in the most laconic language possible—the language of a very busy, very harassed, very hurried man, are the literary product of a cook, or several of them. The other chief motive for condensing or obscuring his text has a more subtle foundation. Indeed, we are surprised that we should possess so great a collection of recipes, representing to him who could use them certain commercial and social value.
The preservation of Apicius seems entirely accidental. Experienced cooks were in demand in Apicii times; the valuation of their ministrations increased proportionately to the progress in gastronomy and to the prosperity of the nation. Some cooks became confidants, even friends and advisors of men in high places, emperors, cf. But such invisible string-pullers have not been confined to those days alone. Take Rasputin! Such being the case, what potential power reposed in a greasy cookery manuscript! And, if so, why bare such wonderful secrets to Tom, Dick and Harry? Weights and measures are given by Apicius in some instances.
But just such figures can be used artfully to conceal a trap. Any mediocre cook, gaining possession of a choice collection of detailed and itemized recipes would have been placed in an enviable position. We remember reading in Lanciani Rodolfo L. To be sure, those fellows had every reason in the world for keeping quiet: so preposterous were their methods in most cases! This secrecy indeed must have carried with it a blessing in disguise. Professional reserve was not its object. The motive was purely commercial.
Seeing where the information given by Apicius is out of reason and unintelligible we are led to believe that such text is by no means to be taken very literally. On the contrary, it is quite probable that weights and measures are not correct: they are quite likely to be of an artful and studied unreliability. A secret private code is often employed, necessitating the elimination or transposition of certain words, figures or letters before the whole will become intelligible and useful. If by any chance an uninitiated hand should attempt to grasp such veiled directions, failure would be certain. We confess to have employed at an early stage of our own career this same strategy and time-honored camouflage to protect a precious lot of recipes.
Promptly we lost this unctuous manuscript, as we feared we would; if not deciphered today, the book has long since been discarded as being a record of the ravings of a madman. The advent of the printing press changed the situation. With Platina, ca. The guilds of French mustard makers and sauce cooks precursors of modern food firms and manufacturers of ready-made condiments were a powerful tribe of secret mongers in the middle ages. Kitchen secrets became commercial articles. In perusing Apicius only one or two instances of cruelty to animals have come to our attention cf. Cruel methods of slaughter were common. Some of the dumb beasts that were to feed man and even had to contribute to his pleasures and enjoyment of life by giving up their own lives often were tortured in cruel, unspeakable ways.
The belief existed that such methods might increase the quality, palatability and flavor of the meat. Such beliefs and methods may still be encountered on the highways and byways in Europe and Asia today. Since the topic, strictly speaking does not belong here, we cannot depict it in detail, and in passing make mention of it to refer students interested in the psychology of the ancients to such details as are found in the writings of Plutarch and other ancient writers during the early Christian era. It must be remembered, however, that such writers including the irreproachable Plutarch were advocates of vegetarianism.
Some passages are inspired by true humane feeling, but much appears to be written in the interest of vegetarianism. The ancients were not such confirmed meat eaters as the modern Western nations, merely because the meat supply was not so ample. Beef was scarce because of the shortage of large pastures. The cow was sacred, the ox furnished motive power, and, after its usefulness was gone, the muscular old brute had little attraction for the gourmet. Today lives a race of beef eaters.
Our beef diet, no doubt is bound to change somewhat. The North American prairies are being parcelled off into small farms the working conditions of which make beef raising expensive. Perhaps Northern Asia still holds in store a large future supply of meat but this no doubt will be claimed by  Asia. Already North America is acclimating the Lapland reindeer to offset the waning beef, to utilize its Northern wastes. With the increasing shortage of beef, with the increasing facilities for raising chicken and pork, a reversion to Apician methods of cookery and diet is not only probably but actually seems inevitable.
The ancient bill of fare and the ancient methods of cookery were entirely guided by the supply of raw materials—precisely like ours. They had no great food stores nor very efficient marketing and transportation systems, food cold storage. They knew, however, to take care of what there was. They were good managers. Such atrocities as the willful destruction of huge quantities of food of every description on the one side and starving multitudes on the other as seen today never occurred in antiquity. Many of the Apician dishes will not appeal to the beef eaters.
It is worthy of note that much criticism was heaped upon Apicius some years ago in England when beef eating became fashionable in that country. The art of Apicius requires practitioners of superior intellect. But practitioners that would pass the requirements of the Apician school are scarce in the kitchens of the beef eaters. A glance at some Chinese and Japanese methods of cookery may perhaps convince us of the probability of these remarks. Nothing is more perplexing and more alarming than a new dish, but we can see in a reversion to Apician cookery methods only a dietetic benefit accruing to this so-called white race of beef eaters. Apicius certainly excels in the preparation of vegetable dishes cf.
Properly prepared, many of these things are good, often more nutritious than the dearer cuts, and sometimes they are really delicious. One has but to study the methods of ancient and intelligent people who have suffered for thousands of years under the perennial shortage of food supplies in order to understand and to appreciate Apician methods. Be it far from us to advocate their methods, or to wish upon us the conditions that engendered such methods; for such practices have been pounded into these people by dire necessity.
They have graduated from the merciless school of hunger. Food materials, we repeat, were never as cheap and as abundant as they are today. But who can say that they always will be so in the future? We must not overlook the remarkable intuition displayed by the ancients in giving preference to foods with body- and blood-building properties. For instance, the use of liver, particularly fish liver already referred to. The correctness of their choice is now being confirmed by scientific re-discoveries.
The young science of nutrition is important enough to an individual who would stimulate or preserve his health. But since constitutions are different, the most carefully conceived dietary may apply to one particular individual only, provided, however, that our present knowledge of nutrition be correct and final. This knowledge, as a matter of fact, is being revised and changed constantly. If dietetics, therefore, were important enough to have any bearing at all upon the well-defined methods of cookery, we might go into detail analyzing ancient methods from that point of view.
Without these qualities there can be no higher gastronomy. Without high gastronomy no high civilization is possible. With the progress of civilization we are farther and farther drifting away from it. It guides great chefs, saves time spent in scientific study. Apicius is often blamed for his endeavor to serve one thing under the guise of another. The reasons for such deceptions are various ones. Fashion dictated it. Also the ambition of hosts to serve a cheaper food for a more expensive one—veal for chicken, pork for partridge, and so on. In Europe even today much of the traditional roast hare is caught in the alley, and it belongs to a feline species. There is positive evidence of downright frauds and vicious food adulteration in the times of Apicius.
The old rascal himself is not above giving directions for rose wine without roses, or how to make a spoiled honey marketable, and other similar adulterations. Too, some of our own shams are liable to misinterpretation. What indeed would a serious-minded research worker a thousand years hence if unfamiliar with our culinary practice and traditions make of such terms as pette de nonne as found in many old French cookery books, or of the famous suttelties subtleties —the confections once so popular at medieval weddings?
The ramifications of the lingua coquinaria in any country are manifold, and the culinary wonderland is full of pitfalls even for the experienced gourmet. Like in all other branches of ancient endeavor, cookery had reached a state of perfection around the time of Apicius when the only chance for successful continuation of the art lay in the conquest of new fields, i. We have witnessed this in French cookery which for the last hundred years has successfully expanded and has virtually captured the civilized parts of the globe, subject however, always to regional and territorial modifications.
This desirable expansion of antique cookery did not take place. It was violently and rather suddenly checked principally by political and economic events during the centuries following Apicius, perhaps principally by the forces that caused the great migration the very quest of food! Suspension ensued instead. The heirs to the ancient culture were not yet ready for their marvelous heritage. Both are so subtle and they depend so much upon the psychology and the economic conditions of a people, and they thus presented almost unsurmountable obstacles to the invaders.
Still lo! The usefulness in our days of Apicius as a practical cookery book has been questioned, but we leave this to our readers to decide after the perusal of this translation. If not useful in the kitchen, if we cannot grasp its moral, what, then, is Apicius? Merely a curio? The existing manuscripts cannot be bought; the old printed editions are highly priced by collectors, and they are rare. Still, the few persons able to read the messages therein cannot use them: they are not practitioners in cookery.
None of the Apician editors except Danneil and the writer were experienced practising gastronomers. Humelbergius, Lister, Bernhold were medical men. Two serious students, Schuch and Wuestemann, gave up academic positions to devote a year to the study of modern cookery in order to be able to interpret Apicius. These enthusiasts overlooked, however, two facts: Apicius cannot be understood by inquiring into modern average cookery methods, nor can complete mastery of cookery, practical as well as theoretical, including the historical and physiological aspects of gastronomy be acquired in one year. Richard Gollmer, another Apicius editor, declares that the results of this course in gastronomy were negative. Gollmer published a free version of Apicius in German in If he did not render the original very faithfully and literally, it must be said in all fairness that his methods of procedure were correct.
Gollmer attempted to interpret the ancient text for the modern reader. Unfortunately he based his work upon that of Schuch and Wuestemann and Lister. A year or so later Eduard Danneil published a version of his own, also based on Schuch. This editor is a practising chef ,— Hof-Traiteur or caterer to the court of one of the then reigning princes of Germany. In view of the fact that Gollmer had covered the ground and that Danneil added nothing new to Apician lore, his publication seems superfluous. Unfortunately, the span of human life is short, the capacity of the human mind is limited. Fruitful achievements in widely different fields of endeavor by one man are rare. This is merely to illustrate the extreme difficulty encountered by anyone bent on a venturesome exploration of our subject and the very narrow chances of success to extricate himself with grace from the two-thousand year old labyrinth of philosophical, historical, linguistical and gastronomical technicalities.
We have purposely refrained from presenting here a treatise in the customary scientific style. We know, there are repetitions, digressions, excursions into adjacent fields that may be open to criticism. We really do not aim to make this critical review an exhibition of scholarly attainments with all the necessary brevity, clarity, scientific restraint and etiquette. Such style would be entirely out of our line.
Any bookish flavor attaching itself to our work would soon replace a natural fragrance we aim to preserve, namely our close contact with the subject. Those interested in the scholarly work that has been contributed to this cause are referred to modern men like Vollmer, Giarratano, Brandt and others named in the bibliography. Of the older scientists there is Martinus Lister, a man whose knowledge of the subject is very respectable and whose devotion to it is unbounded, whose integrity as a scientist is above reproach. The labors of Bernhold and Schuch are meritorious also, the work, time, and esprit these men have devoted to the subject is enormous.
As for Torinus, the opinions are divided. Humelbergius ignores him, Gryphius pirates him, Lister scorns him, we like him. Lister praises his brother physician, Humelbergius: Doctus quidem vir et modestus! So he is! The notes by Humelbergius alone and his word: Nihil immutare ausi summus! Unfortunately, the sources of his information are unknown. Lacking these, we have of course no means of ascertaining whether he always lived up to his word that he is not privileged to change. Humelbergius and Lister may have made contributions of value from a philological point of view but their work appears to have less merit gastronomically than that of Torinus.
To us the Basel editor often seems surprisingly correct in cases where the gastronomical character of a formula is in doubt. In rendering the ancient text into English we, too, have endeavored to follow  Humelbergii example; hence the almost literal translation of the originals before us, namely, Torinus, Humelbergius, Lister, Bernhold, Schuch and the latest, Giarratano-Vollmer which reached us in in time for collating. We have wavered often and long whether or not to place alongside this English version the original Latin text, but due to the divergencies we have finally abandoned the idea, for practical reasons alone.
In translating we have endeavored to clear up mysteries and errors; this interpretation is a work quite apart and independent of that of the translation. It is merely the sum and substance of our practical experience in gastronomy. It is not to be taken as an attempt to change the original but is presented in good faith, to be taken on its face value. This interpretation appears in the form of notes directly under each article, for quick reference and it is our wish that it be of some practical service in contributing to the general understanding and appreciation of our ancient book.
For the sake of expediency we have numbered and placed a title in English on each ancient recipe, following the example of Schuch. This procedure may be counted against us as a liberty taken with the text. The text has remained inviolate. We have merely aimed at a rational and legible presentation—work within the province and the duty of an editor-translator and technical expert. We do not claim credit for any other work connected with the task of making this most unique book accessible to the English speaking public and for the competition for scholastic laurels we wish to stay hors de combat. We feel we are not privileged to pass final judgment upon the excellent work done by sympathetic and erudite admirers of our ancient book throughout the better part of four centuries, and we cannot side with one or the other in questions philological, historical, or of any other nature, except gastronomical.
We are deeply indebted to all of our predecessors and through conversations and extensive correspondence with other modern researchers, Dr. Edward Brandt and Dr. Wilson, we are enabled to predict new developments in Apician research. The debates of the scientists, it appears, are not yet closed. A jolly fellow is Apicius with a basketful of happy messages for a hungry world. We therefore want to make this work of ours the entertainment and instruction the subject deserves to be. After all, we live in a practical age, and it is the practical value, the matter-of-fact contribution to our happiness and well-being by the work of any man, ancient or modern, which counts in these days of materialism.
We do not know who Apicius is. We do not know who wrote the book bearing  his name. We do not know when it was written, or whether it is of Greek or of Roman origin. Furthermore, we do not understand many of its precepts! Eager gourmets , ever on the look-out for something new, and curious scholars have attempted to prepare dishes in the manner prescribed by Apicius. Most of such experimenters have executed the old precepts literally, instead of trying to enter into their spirit. The friends of Apicius who failed to heed this advice, also failed to comprehend the precepts, they were cured of their curiosity, and blamed the master for their own shortcomings.
Christina, queen of Sweden, was made ill by an attempt of this kind to regale her majesty with a rare Apician morsel while in Italy as the guest of some noble. But history is dark on this point. But Apicius continued to prove unhealthful to a number of later amateurs. Lister, with his perfectly sincere endeavor to popularize Apicius, achieved precisely the opposite. The publication of his work in London, , was the signal for a number of people, scholars and others, to crack jokes, not at the expense of Apicius, as they imagined, but to expose their own ignorance.
Smollet, Dr. Hunter and others. Even later, in one of the alas! After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. This homely solid wisdom is literally true of our good old Apicius. We have tested many of his precepts, and have found them practical, good, even delightful. A few, we will say, are of the rarest beauty and of consummate perfection in the realm of gastronomy, while some others again are totally unintelligible for reasons sufficiently explained. Many of the ancient formula tried have our unqualified gastronomic approval. If our work has not differed from that of our predecessors, if it shows the same human frailties and foibles, we have at least one mark of distinction among the editors in that we have subjected the original to severe practical tests as much as this is possible with our modern food materials.
We experienced difficulty in securing certain spices long out of use. This is a feeling of partaking of an entirely new dish, met with both expectancy and with suspicion, accentuated by the hallowed traditions surrounding it which has rewarded us for the time and expense devoted to the subject. When we behold hordes of ancient legislators, posing as dervishes of moderation, secretly and openly breaking the prohibition laws of their own making When we turn away from such familiar sights and, in a more jovial mood, heartily laugh at the jokes of that former mill slave, Plautus who could not pay his bills and when we wonder why his wise cracks sound so familiar we remember that we have heard their modern versions only yesterday at the Tivoli on State Street Then we arrive at the comforting conclusion that we moderns are either very ancient and backward or that indeed the ancients are very modern and progressive; and it is our only regret that we cannot decide this perplexing situation to our lasting satisfaction.
Very true, there may be nothing new under the sun, yet nature goes on eternally fashioning new things from old materials. Eternally demolishing old models in a manner of an economical sculptor, nature uses the same old clay to create new specimens. Sometimes nature slightly alters the patterns, discarding what is unfit for her momentary enigmatic purposes, retaining and favoring that which pleases her whimsical fancy for the time being. In the perpetual search for perfection, life has accomplished one remarkable thing: the development of man, the animal which cooks. Gradually nature has revealed herself to man principally through the food he takes, cooks and prepares for the enjoyment of himself and his fellow men.
The gastronomer is grateful for the privilege of holding the custodianship of such precious things, and he guards it like an office of a sacred rite—ever gratefully, reverently adoring, cherishing the things before him Or, they are cranky, hungry, starved, miserable, and they turn savage now and then. Some are gluttonous. If they were told that they must kill before they may cook—that might spoil the appetite and dinner joy of many a tender-hearted devourer of fellow-creatures. Heaven forbid! Being real children of nature, and behaving naturally, nature likes them, and we, too, certainly are well pleased with the majority. The Greek titles of the ten books point to a common Greek origin, indicating that Apicius is a collection of Greek monographs on various branches of cookery, specialization such as highly developed civilizations would produce.
Both the literary style and the contents of the books point to different authors, as may be seen from the very repetitions of and similarities in subjects as in VI and VIII , and in IX and X. The absence of books on bread and cake baking, dessert cookery indicates that the present Apicius is not complete. Apicius is correct in starting his book with this formula, as all meals were started with this sort of mixed drink.
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