[Sca-cooks] Cato as a recipe source

Stefan li Rous StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Mon Jul 6 16:35:40 PDT 2009

Bear replied to me with:

<Stefan> If so, can you please post the recipes for the olive paste and
particularly the recipes for preserving and preparing green olives? I
previously asked about how you make these inedible olives edible here   
didn't get much info other than some references to a modern book  on
olives. I'm not sure I could ever find the raw olives to try this  with,
but it would be interesting to know how this is done. >>>

<Bear> I'll transcribe them and post to the list when I have a little  
more time.
Today, I am reinstalling the drain system for a central A/C and the hot
water heater safety valve and preparing for and delivering a demo on  
manchet. >>>

Thank you. No rush. This is just some ongoing research/interest. I  
seem to collect such items.

Good luck on the drain system. I keep having to unplug mine after the  
insects? stop up the drain line. Unfortunately, I don't realize it  
until the condensation overflows in the hall closet. Pouring a quarter  
cup of bleach down the drain occasionally is supposed to keep the line  
clear, but I've been forgetting to do that.

<Stefan> The mustacei sounds interesting as well, although I guess you  
would  need
to find a source for fresh, rather than dried, leaves. Would  plucking  
leaves off of a fresh Laurel work? Or are they too dried  out by the  
they're made Peers? :-) >>>

<Bear> Since the object appears to be to impart flavor, dried bay  
leaves should
work fine.  You should have the mustacei recipe in the Florilegium,  
since I
posted a copy to the list a number of years ago. >>>

Okay. I guess that's what I get for not doing what I recommend others  
to do, look in the Florilegium. :-)

Still, none of the recipes specify fresh or dried leaves. I was afraid  
the dried out leaves wouldn't have any volatile oils/juice left to  
flavor the bread or that they might just burn. The recipe didn't say  
anything about smoking the bread over bay leaves. Or does "bay leaf"  
specifically mean the dried leaf, whereas the fresh leaves are only  
referred to as laurel leaves?

Doing a search on "mustacei" in the Florilegium gets several hits,  
including two different redactions. Here they are for comparison for  
those who might be interested. Bear, why were you adding "bay bark"  
and where would you get it? Harvest it from the plant yourself?

         Mustacei (Must Rolls)
         (Cato: de agricultura, 121) From an old Roman cookbook: Marcus
Gavius Apicius: De Re Coquinaria. The book I have is edited and
translated from Latin to German by Robert Maier. Posted and translated
from German to English by Micaela Pantke (hz225wu at unidui.uni- 
         500g wheat flour
         300ml grape juice (or young wine)
         2 TB anise seeds
         2 TB cumin seeds
         100g lard
         50g grated cheese (sheep's cheese would be best)
         ca. 20 bay leaves
         Pour some must over the flour, add anise and cumin seeds, the
lard and cheese. Work it together until you have a reasonable dough.  
rolls, then put one bay leaf under each of them. Bake 30-35 minutes at
180 deg. C.
         Note: It's better to make the must rolls with yeast dough,
because then they can be kept longer, and they are not so hard. To make
the yeast dough, add 40g yeast to the flour + grape juice, leave it a
while until you continue like above.
         Recipe from Cato by way of Giacosa.
         Posted by Bear / Decker, Terry D. (TerryD at  
         Mustaceos sic facito: Farinae siligineae modium unum musto
conspargito. Anesum, cuminum, adipis. P.II, casei libram, et de virga
lauri deradito, eadem addito, et ubi definxeris, lauri folia subtus
addito, coques.
         Prepare mustcei thus: Moisten a modius of fine flour with must.
Add anise, cumin, 2 librae of fat, 1 librae of cheese, and grate bay
twig. When you have shaped them, place bay leaves beneath; cook.
         For each 3/4 cup flour:
         1 Tbsp. lard
         1/2 Tbsp. ricotta
         1 tsp. total anise and cumin
         1 small piece of bay bark, grated
         1 Tbsp. must (to make a soft dough similar to that for a pie
         bay leaves
         Cut the flour with the lard and ricotta; add the anise and  
and, if you can find it, the bay bark. Add enough must to form a ball
(remember that flour doesn't always absorb the same amount of liquid).
Form small flat focaccias from this dough; or roll out the dough to 1/4
inch thickness and cut into shapes. Place 1 or 2 bay leaves beneath each
one, and cook on a griddle over low flame, turning then so they cook
evenly on both sides.
         The name of this dessert survives in cookies that are still  
in various regions of Italy: mustazzit in Lombardy, mostaccioli in
Calabria, mustazzola di Missina in Sicily, and mustazzueli in Apulia.  
curiously, the must has disappeared from all of them over the centuries.

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