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looking for recipes from ancient times

Zengarden Nov 7, 2006 06:13 PM

I know that there are lots of online sites for ancient Roman recipes. Can anyone direct me to sites that would feature dishes that would have been enjoyed by the Pharoahs, Chinese emperors, Greek gods?

I am looking at foods and culinary practices from ancient civilizations.


  1. sarah galvin May 7, 2009 08:58 PM

    I just purchased a book called "Food from the Bible - from Adam's Apple to the Last Supper" at Ten Thousand Villages. It is very interesting.

    1. David A. Goldfarb May 7, 2009 08:42 PM

      Achilles' Souvlaki--

      So brilliant Achilleus spoke, and guided them forward,
      and caused them to sit down on couches with purple coverlets
      and at once called over to Patroklos who was not far from him:
      'Son of Menoitios, set up a mixing-bowl that is bigger,
      and mix us stronger drink, and make ready a cup for each man,
      since these who have come beneath my roof are the men that I love best.'

      So he spoke, and Patroklos obeyed his beloved companion,
      and tossed down a great chopping-block into the firelight,
      with the chine of a fatted pig edged thick with lard, and for him
      Automedon held the meats, and brilliant Achilleus carved them,
      and cut it well into pieces and spitted them, as meanwhile
      Menoitios' son, a man like a god, made the fire blaze greatly.
      But when the fire had burned itself out, and flames had died down,
      he scattered the embers apart, and extended the spits across them
      lifting them to the andirons, and sprinkled the meats with divine salt.
      Then when he had roasted all, and spread the food on the platters,
      Patroklos took the bread and set it out on a table
      in fair baskets, while Achilleus served the meats. Thereafter
      he himself sat over against the godlike Odysseus
      against the further wall, and told his companion, Patroklos,
      to sacrifice to the gods; and he threw the firstlings in the fire.
      They put their hands to the good things that lay ready before them.

      Homer, Iliad, book IX, Tr. Richmond Lattimore

      1. Robert Lauriston Nov 8, 2006 02:59 AM

        Here's a translation of Apicius's "De re qoquinaria":


        The adaptation is pretty free. For example, here's a fairly literal translation of a recipe:

        "Fricassée of Veal: Crush pepper, lovage, caraway, celery seed, moisten with honey, vinegar, broth and oil; heat, bind with roux [i.e., thicken with wheat flour], and cover the meat."

        Here's the adaptation:

        IN VITULINAM ELIXAM (Boiled Veal


        (Apic. 8, 5, 3)

        800g - 1kg veal
        pepper, Liebstoeckl, cumin, celery seeds to taste
        2 tblsp honey
        2 tblsp vinegar
        100ml oil
        100ml Liquamen (or 100ml white wine + 1 tsp salt)
        a little bit of cornstarch


        Cook the veal for about 1 1/2 hour until well done. Mix together honey, vinegar, oil, ligamen and spices in an extra pan. Boil the sauce only shortly and thicken it with cornstarch. Then pour sauce over the veal and let boil on low heat for another 10 minutes. Serve.

        1. p
          pitterpatter Nov 7, 2006 09:12 PM

          I haven't checked out sites on the internet, because this is not my current obsession, but for books I found these two on my shelves, both of which are very fascinating:

          A Taste of Ancient Rome by Ilaria Gozzini Gizcosa
          The Delectable Past by Esther B. Aresty subtitle: The Joys of the Table from Rome to the Renaissance, from Queen Elizabeth
          I to Mrs. Beeton.

          Also, from the Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 1992: Spicing up the Palate; Studies of Flavorings Ancient and Modern. It has quite a few articles on Ancient Rome.

          Oddly enough, all of these were bought at Kitchen Arts and Letters, 1435 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10128 212-876-5550.

          1. DanaB Nov 7, 2006 06:19 PM

            You should check out the book "Food: A Culinary History," which traces cooking from prehistoric times to the present. It's more of an academic view rather than a cookbook, but there is plenty in there on what people cooked in ancient times.

            Here's a link to more info on the book:


            1. d
              DGresh Nov 7, 2006 06:18 PM

              Not quite what you asked, but just a few days ago there was something about "foods of the Bible" in the NY Times--

              RELIGION JOURNAL; Recreating Biblical Meals for the Modern Kitchen


              3 Replies
              1. re: DGresh
                sillyrabbit Nov 8, 2006 01:32 AM

                How timely, I just posted about one of my favorite cookbooks, "Food from Biblical Lands" by Helen Corey. It's part cookbook, part history/religion book. The recipes are excellent. Helen Corey is the author of a very popular but now out of print book, The Art of Syrian Cookery.

                1. re: sillyrabbit
                  Helen Corey May 7, 2009 06:10 PM

                  sillyrabbit - Just read your comment about one of your favorite cookbooks "Food from Biblical Lands". I'm the author and I'm continuing with other books - my more recent one is "Healthy Syrian & Lebanese Cooking" which won first place in the nation by the Natl. Fed. of Press Women. I also have produced a 70 minute DVD cooking show giving you all tips and techniques and favorite foods. You can go to my web site for further info: HelenCorey.org

                  1. re: sillyrabbit
                    Helen Corey May 7, 2009 06:14 PM

                    Let me hear from you: Hcoreyfood@aol.com

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