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Cooking Apicius: Roman Recipes for Today [Paperback]

By Sally Grainger & Andras Kaldor (Illustrator)
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Item description for Cooking Apicius: Roman Recipes for Today by Sally Grainger & Andras Kaldor...

To accompany the new scholarly edition of Apicius (ISBN 1903018137), Sally Grainger has gathered, in one convenient volume, her modern interpretations of 64 of the recipes in the original text. These are not recipes inspired by the old Romans but rather a serious effort to convert the extremely gnomic instructions in the Latin into something that can be reproduced in the modern kitchen and which actually gives some idea of what the Romans might have eaten. Sally Grainger, therefore, has taken great pains to suggest means of replicating the particular Roman taste for fermented fish sauce. It may sound unpleasant, but actually is not too far removed from the fish sauces of the Far East, and any reproduction of Roman cookery must depend on getting this particular aspect right.

Not all the recipes are for mad Roman luxuries such as lark's tongues and boar's bottoms; Grainger has taken care to include perfectly do-able and affordable dishes such as cucumber with mint dressing, duck with turnip, roast lamb with coriander, carrots or parsnips in a cumin-honey glaze, almond and semolina pudding, and deep fried honey fritters.

The advantage of this manual over those that have come before is that it is more accurate and benefits from all the hard work that Sally Grainger and Christopher Grocock have put into getting the text of Apicius itself into some sort of working order.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   128
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.42 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2006
Publisher   Prospect Books (UK)
ISBN  1903018447  
ISBN13  9781903018446  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Cooking, Food & Wine > Gastronomy > History
2Books > Subjects > Cooking, Food & Wine > General
3Books > Subjects > Cooking, Food & Wine > Regional & International > European > Italian
4Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > Rome
5Books > Subjects > History > Europe > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Cooking Apicius: Roman Recipes for Today?

Apicius Revealed  Dec 14, 2006
I was thrilled to receive Christopher Grocock and Sally Grainger's new comprehensive translation of the Apician cookbook, "Apicius, a Critical Edition". It is a masterwork.

I was also pleased to receive Grainger's "Cooking Apicius". Grainger is both a scholar and an excellent cook of Ancient Roman food. Her book is written in a friendly, personal, and sometimes chatty manner, and contains many Britishisms, but, then, she is British, after all.

Her discussions of various ingredients and cooking techniques were informative. I have cooked from the Flower/Rosenbaum translation, and also own Andre Dalby & Sally Grainger's "Classical Cookbook", "Around the Roman Table: Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome" by Patrick Faas, "Roman Cookery: Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens" by Mark Grant, "A Taste of Ancient Rome" by Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa.

I've found all these books instructive, but I enjoy working out the recipes myself and making my own decisions on what substitutes to use here in the US. At the same time, I always appreciate hearing how another cook interprets a recipe, and I very much appreciated Grainger's explanations throughout of her decisions to make certain interpretations or use particular ingredients.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in cooking recipes from the Apician cookbook, but shy of starting out from the original recipes themselves, which can be rather vague.
Not as good as I had hoped  Oct 18, 2006
I have several Roman recipe books that are as well written, and I didn't really find anything new in these recipes, except [...] an [...] Anglo-centric way of writing, which seems to try to make the authors seem "really smart", using wording that many of my 12th grade students will not understand. With comments about growing seasons in modern England, and the cost of certain wines in the UK, and similar side bars, that I found disruptive. The colloqual British language calling minced meat patties "faggots" and choosing to use words of big caliber when smaller, more universally used common kitchen and cooking words would do, make this seem a bit pretentious.

It is a new addition to my library, but why are we given measures in 'big' and 'little' teaspoons and 'coffee cup' measures and 'dessert spoon' measures? These do not fit my standard of a proper measuring system. Are we to believe that the graduated measuring cup is not available in a British kitchen or are we supposed to assume that Ancient Romans drank coffee from a specific size of cup? (They didn't have coffee!!; which is a great blow to serious reenactors...)

I would rather spend my money on "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines (Mass Market Paperback) by Jeff Smith" available here at this (at a much more reasonable price.
Superb reconstructions based on research  Sep 19, 2006
For years, people reconstructing Roman food have taken Apicius literally, and without any thought into the many elements of Roman food. Usually, the food is at best tastless, often inedible, and the excuse is usually an emphatic "this is how the Romans did it! Their taste is not ours". Rather, Apicius is a guide for experienced cooks, much like 18th and 19th century US cookbooks, where the recipe leaves almost all the explanations and cooking instructions out.
Sally Grainger has done meticulous research into the elements of Roman cooking, and actually worked the recipes out into very palatable dishes. I've read through almost all the so called Apicius cookbooks and this is by far the most thorough explanation of the ingredients and how they are made, including mulsum and garum, and in depth descriptions of the unusual seasonings like lovage.
This will change how our reenactment and reconstruction efforts will present Roman food from now on, and make the accompanying academic book that much more interesting.

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