[Sca-cooks] roman feast

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Sat Mar 22 14:36:49 PDT 2008

> I will confess that I did use sweet peas (again, lack of knowledge way 
> back
> then) for that particular feast. However, many of the varieties of fruits 
> &
> vegetables we have available to us now are modern hybrids. Do we refrain
> from attempting something just because we do not have access to the
> "period" variant? For example, I rarely see Pippins in the grocery store,
> but see a lot of modern varieties of apples. Would the Romans have used
> their variety of pea in a fresh state before it was dried?
> Euriol

Sweet pea is Lathyrus odoratus and I doubt you used it in your feast, no 
matter what the bag said.  You would have probably used the garden pea 
(Pisum sativa ssp. sativa) which shows up in England around the 16th 
Century.  The Romans would probably have used the field pea (Pisum sativa 
ssp. arvense) or the maquis pea (Pisum sativa ssp. elatius).  P. arvense is 
commonly available as split peas.

To my knowledge, all peas have been used in both fresh and dried states, 
beginning in the Neolithic.  I would expect the Romans to use both fresh and 
dried peas.  Of the recipes I have been able to locate none specifically 
calls for one state or the other.  Dried peas would likely have been 
available year round and modern green split peas are most likely to be the 
peas used by the Romans.


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