31 August 2010

31 August - Caligula; Sweet Roman Toast

Born on this day in 12 AD, Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus - aka "Caligula" - a really nasty piece of work, of whom the least said, the better.  However, if you want to read Suetonius's take on the man (and the other eleven Roman emperors from Julius Caesar to Domitian), you can find it here.  Suetonius was very definitely NOT a fan of "Little Boots".

There are a lot of good websites with recipes from the Ancient Romans, such as Apicius - De Re Coquinaria (On the Subject of Cooking), which you can find here at one of my favorite websites, The Food Timeline.  Most of the recipes contain ingredients not readily found in the home pantry, but if you want to do a reasonable facsimile of a Roman meal, the recipes also have substitutes that you can either find at the local grocery or ethnic store, or make yourself.

"Hmmm... what shall we have for dinner tonight?"
One of the easier recipes is this one from the 'Latin III' part of the Distance Learning website, which you can access here.  The page is titled "Roman Cookbook" and has menus and recipes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd courses, plus a delightful page of Et ceteras.

"SWEET ROMAN TOAST"  (from the Secundae Mensae)
"White bread, milk, olive oil or butter, liquid honey."
"Remove crusts from the bread and slice it.  Dip in milk and saute in olive oil or butter.  Sprinkle honey on top and serve."

Sounds a lot like 'French Toast' (minus the eggs).  I guess if you don't want to cut the crusts off your loaf of already sliced sandwich bread, you could get a full loaf of white bread from the bakery and proceed from there.  The bakery bread would probably hold up better during the milk dipping.

The Etc. page of the website has a page of phrases translated into Latin, including "Things to Say While Barbecuing", like "Contemplare carunculas illas!" ("Take a look at those steaks!") and "Culices pessimi hac nocte sunt!" ("The mosquitoes are murder tonight!")

"Mea culpa" would be used, of course, if you burned the steaks.