Potrawy na uczcie Nazydiena (Horatius, Saturae II 8) a De re coquinaria Apicjusza
Dishes at Nasidien’s feast (Horatius, Saturae II 8) and Apicius’ De re coquinaria
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Two issues were raised in the article entitled „Dishes at Nasidien’s feast (Horatius, Saturae II 8) and Apicius’ De re coquinaria”. First, comparison of dishes the description of which Horace included in Saturae II 8 with heir analogical recipes for these from Apicius’ De re coquinaria. These comparisons lead to the conclusion that, even in Augustan times, developing the culinary art had its supporters and that the chefs were trying to surprise symposium participants with new ideas, which made them experiment in this area all the time. An example of such efforts, among the others, is the method of making a sauce which was used to put on Nasidien’s moray, or wild pigeons whose croups had been cut off. On the other hand, on the example of De re coquinaria we can observe the evolution of culinary art which attached more and more importance to various kinds of spices used in more and more sophisticated sauces which gave a proper taste to diverse dishes of fish, poultry and game. The other issue, which is still present, is proper understanding and interpretation of these fragments of Horace’s Saturae II 8 where the poet gives us a description of dishes prepared by Nasidien’s chefs. Among the others, attention was drawn to the fact that the notion of faecula Coa (Saturae II. 8. 9) shall not be understood, as assumed before, as dried powdered yeast or wine grounds but rather as a substitute for grape honey described by Isidor (Etymologiae XX 3, 13: „Faecula uva pinguis, decocta usque ad crassitudinem mellis, ac refrigata, utilis stomacho”). This understanding of faecula Coa lets us read differently 6-9 verses in Saturae II 8 where the wild boar served by Nasidien was poured over by cheap substitutes, i.e. so called allec sauce (instead of liquamen) and faecula Coa (instead of honey). The Horace’s description, thus, has, in this place an ironic implication. It was also suggested that the 51-53 verses in Saturae II 8, where Nasidien boasts that he was the first one with the idea of boiling eruca sativa (rucola) with inula helenium, should be linked with previous verses which give the description of the sauce used for pouring over moray as eruca sativa boiled with inula helenium did not form a new dish but it was an ingredient of the mentioned sauce. Information about liver of a white goose fed with figs in Saturae II 8, 88 deserves special attention. We cannot find this dish recipe in Apicius’ De re coquinaria. However, we learn from the Plinius’ account that it was Apicius who invented a new method of preparing goose liver (Plinius, Historia naturalis VIII 209: Adhibetur et ars iecori feminarium sicut anserum, inventum M. Apici, fico arida saginatis ac satie necatis repente mulsi potu dato). This method involved feeding those birds with figs before they were killed. This way ensured that goose liver had a right taste and later wine with honey was added to it. However, according to Horace’s information, which cannot be shaken, the custom of feeding geese with figs had been known before Apicius. As, on the basis of preserved records on Apicius’ life, it is difficult to confirm that he lived in Horace’s times it seems necessary to correct the account of Pilnius and to interpret it in the way that the innovation of Apicius involved only serving liver with some wine with honey (muslum), not feeding geese with figs as this practice had been done much earlier.
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