[Sca-cooks] Apicius question(s)

Patricia Dunham chimene at ravensgard.org
Tue Nov 3 12:36:51 PST 2009

Welllll....  Vehling is very Victorian, and German.

I've just checked on-line, and most of the pages that give 
translations don't say which sources(!)

Have you tried your local public library?  "Cookery, Roman" is the 
official subject heading.  pretty victorian there too, eh!?  There 
have been several fairly "popular" books in the last decade or so 
(Mark Grant, Patrick Faas, Sally Grainger, Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa), 
any of which would probably be closer to the mark than Vehling. 
Flowers & Rosenbaum, if you're REALLY lucky.

I did find some info on "Laser" on-line.  (On-line sources; take with 
at least a pinch of salt and cross-check often.)
	Laser, laserpitium, silphium- Flowers and Rosenbaum suggest 
replacing this herb with asafoetida. 
www.housedragonor.org/A&S/herbs-gwen.html  oh! reading further on 
that page, one finds Laser is still used today in India and can be 
found in many of the larger import markets. It is commonly known as 
heeng.  I have no idea about the accuracy of that second statement. 
See the Wiki articles about both Silphium and Asafoetida, very 
interesting.  Apparently cooked asafoetida is leek-like, and "giant 
fennel" is part of the same Genus.

a second site said ...
	Silphium: Its other names are 'Laser' or 'ferula asa 
foetida'. I've noticed that it's also called 'hing' in the Indian 
cuisine. It is an onion and garlic substitute and should be used 
rather sparingly because of its very strong taste and smell. 

-- my reaction to this was, OH! silphium!  This was something that 
went extinct from over-use in the Roman period.  It was an extremely 
popular herb, both culinary and medical uses, including birth-control 
side-effects! (Wiki silphium article.)  See M Didius Falco's 
adventures in North Africa! (Two for the Lions, I think?)

Hope that helps some.

>On Tue, 3 Nov 2009 09:58:15 -0800
>  Patricia Dunham <chimene at ravensgard.org> wrote:
>>Before first?  Which Apicius are you using?  just curious, but it 
>>might have a bearing.
>Vehling.  I know there is a more recent, and perhaps better one, but 
>Vehling fit the budget, even at Amazon.

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