Taste, The Final Frontier: Can Museums Recreate the Flavours of History?

Selected Classical Recipes
Athenian Cabbage – The Classical Cookbook
Parthian Chicken – The Classical Cookbook
Lentils with Chestnuts – A Taste of History

GrecoRoman Pt 5.

Museums today are exploring different methods of display that incorporate senses other than sight and allow visitors to experience knowledge in new ways. It is not uncommon to see exhibits featuring soundscapes and opportunities for touch. Though growing as an interpretive tool, smell is still fairly rare.

But what about taste?Read More »

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But What If We Don’t Like It? Cooking Roman Staples and the Dilemma of Authenticity

Selected Classical Recipes
Layered Cheesecake – The Classical Cookbook
Fish in Coriander Crust – The Classical Cookbook
Nut Cake – Roman Cookery

GrecoRoman Pt 5.

When making the array of ‘Roman staples’ (of which many didn’t make it into the post), I encountered a problem. I frequently didn’t like them. However, I’d bought the ingredients, I was hungry, I was darn well going to eat them.

I have been lucky to have so much choice in selecting recipes. I could have easily chosen only items I know I would like. But I forced myself to step outside my boundaries -and heavily resisted the inclination to adjust the recipes to my taste. Making food I like wasn’t the point (but was usually an added benefit). The point was seeing if I could learn something new about the Greeks and Romans through their food. But how much can you learn if it isn’t authentic?Read More »

Trial by Spice: Testing the Stomachs (and Noses) of Brave Food Historians

Selected Classical Recipes
Butter Beans in Herb Sauce- Roman Cookery
Lentil and Barley Soup – Roman Cookery
Vitellian Peas- The Classical Cookbook
Spiced Wine – The Classical Cookbook

GrecoRoman Pt 3.

Roman food historians perform a brave and perilous duty testing out ancient recipes. Without ingredient quantities, dishes have to be prepared countless times until they are ‘gotten right’. Of course, at this point we still don’t know (and barring the invention of a time machine, never will) if we have it correct, at the very least we can now eat it! However, to any who wish to pursue Roman cuisine, a cautionary word is found in Plautus:Read More »

Historic Kitchen: The Prep Stage

Featured GrecoRoman Recipes
Sapa – Roman Cookery, Mark Grant
Honey Omelette – A Taste of History, Jane Renfrew

GrecoRoman Pt 1.

I suppose I should begin by saying that I am not an expert in Historic Cooking. BUT, I have a deep passion for history and an (arguably) deeper love for food. An interest in historic cooking began early in my career as an archaeologist. While on a site in central Jordan, we dug upbuckets of animal bones and jar stoppers each day. Clearly, we were excavating an area in which mass amounts of food preparation (and during other occupation phases, disposal) took place. In a random thought, I wondered how they spiced their meat. What did it taste like? What preparation and serving techniques did they use? Read More »