Cooking Apicius: Roman Recipes for Today – Review

Cooking Apicius: Roman Recipes for Today

By Sally Grainger

Reviewed by Loreena Johnson

 

This handy little book is a stroke of genius on the publishers part. A collection

of recipes from Apicius as researched and trialled by the author – who just

happens to be the same as co-authored Apicius – A Critical Review. No

wading through pages of discourse, reviews and examinations of potential

influences – just straight to the recipes.

 

To me, it’s not a stand-a- lone because the recipes are not accompanied by

the original text or even a translation of the original. I personally enjoy

knowing about the context a dish was created and enjoyed in. I was also a

little disappointed in the recipes selected (a solid 64 in total). They are either

totally unreproducible (due to extinction of main ingredient, ethical or safety

reasons) or what I would term ‘safe’ – they will work and be very tasty (and

very accurate) but actually not very different from the flavour combinations we

are used to today.

 

This is a totally personal perspective – and as a primer for someone starting

out presenting Roman style food, it is hard to go past.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Sally Grainger has gathered, in one convenient volume, her modern interpretations of 64 of the recipes in the original text. This is 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 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.”

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