The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines:
China, Greece and Rome
Kiera Hafoc mentioned this book to me, And when I saw it offered by the History Book Club, I bought a copy. It you have ever caught any of Jeff Smith's shows on Public Television, you know how entertaining he can be. He writes just like he talks.
The book does cover three ancient cuisines, but what you get is basically modern cooking from three ancient cuisines with a few old recipes adapted to modern taste and ingredients. You will note a distinct lack of primary sources in the bibliography. This is not to say that you should stay away from the book. On the contrary; it is amusing and witty, and has some recipes you probably won't find many other places--like "Live Drunken Shrimp" and "Looed Duck feet". Smith has adapted several recipes from Apicius, such as "Chestnuts and Lentils Apicius":
Soak ½ pound of dried chestnuts overnight. Drain them and place them in a 4-quart covered saucepan with 2 ½ cups of "brown soup stock" (I would use a beef bouillon here.). Simmer until the chestnuts are tender. Drain the liquid and measure it. Add enough water to make a total of 2 ½ cups of liquid and pour it back in the pan. Add 2 cups chopped and rinsed leeks, 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander, ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black ?pepper, ½ teaspoon of coriander seed crushed in a mortar, 1 teaspoon of dried mint, ⅛ teaspoon of rosemary and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Bring to a boil and add 1 cup of dried lentils. Simmer about 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender and the liquid is absorbed. Add salt to taste. Place the mixture on a serving dish and drizzle with two tablespoons of good olive oil.
Source: Jeff Smith. The Frugal Gourmet Cook, Three Ancient Cuisines: China,
Greece, and Rome. William Morrow and Company, 1989. ISBN: 0-6887S89-4
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