The Romans would eat three times a day: a quick breakfast, a light snack for lunch, and a more consistent dinner starting between 3 and 5 PM that for rich families could even last up to 6-8 hours on special occasions.The ancient Romans’ diet was mainly based on cereals, vegetables, legumes and cheese, while meat and fish were mainly consumed by rich people.Talking about fruit, ancient Romans used to mainly eat apples, pears, plums, chestnuts, figs and grapes.It’s interesting to know that the ancient Romans used to love apricots – for example, they used to add them to a common stewed pork dish – which were imported to Rome from Armenia.There was a black one which was affordable by the poor and a white luxury one called “panis candidus” – which means “candid bread” for the rich.The most common seasoning was the “garum”, a spicy sauce made with fish entrails and fermented in direct sunlight.There were many different qualities of wine and most of them had quite a strong taste, reason why they were usually diluted with water and mixed with spices, culinary herbs or honey. .

Caulis (Cabbage Stalks and Leaves)

The Romans introduced both red and green cabbage into Gaul as the Republic expanded.The Greeks and Romans both believed that diet and health were intimately linked.The effect of different kinds food and drink on the prevention and treatment of specific diseases is the topic of much of Volume II of A. Cornelius Celsus’s 8-volume treatise on Roman medicine, which was written during the reign of Tiberius Caesar.Chrysippus of Cnidus wrote a treatise on vegetables that described the health-promoting benefits of cabbage The women of Athens ate it after delivering a baby.Cabbage was often served at the beginning of a meal because it was believed to protect the one who ate it from drunkeness.The heads were divided into 6 to 8 parts, blanched by briefly placed in boiling water, and plunged into salted vinegar to rapidly quench the cooking process.* Raisins are just dehydrated grapes, so perhaps any red wine or red-wine substitute will be fine in this recipe.Passum was made from grapes that were spread in the sun until they were reduced by half in weight.Food, Cookery, and Dining in Ancient Times: Alexis Soyer’s Pantropheon. .

Of Cabbages and Celts

The Celts of central and western Europe had much to do with the distribution and popularization of cabbage as a food plant.Introduction of "cabbage" into Europe has been generally ascribed to the Romans, but it seems probable that the Celts introduced it even earlier.Shortly before the beginning of the Christian Era the Romans spread into northern Europe and into Britain.In view of those movements, it is not surprising that the history of the development of the cabbagelike group of vegetables has been confused between the Mediterranean or Asia Minor, on the one hand, and northern and western Europe on the other.Kopf Kohl (German), cabus and caboche (French), cabbage (English), kappes, kraut, kapost (Tartar), kopi (Hindu), and others, all are related to the Celto-Slavic cap or kap, meaning "head.".Kaulion (Greek), caulis (Latin), kale (Scottish), kaal (Norwegian), kohl (Swedish), col (Spanish), are related to the Celto-Germanic-Greek caul, meaning "stem.".Because of its popularity among Europeans, it was doubtless planted in what is now the United States by some of the earliest colonists, although there is no written record of it until 1669.It is believed to have found its way eastward in comparatively recent times and is still of minor importance in the Orient. .

Cook a classical feast: nine recipes from ancient Greece and Rome

In the classical world it was part of occasions from religious rites to ostentatious parties.There is plenty of information available on what the ancient Greeks and Romans ate and drank – in written texts and in archaeological finds – which can help us bring their gastronomical creations to life in the 21st century.Here we have compiled a few recipes from the ancient world, which you can recreate at home to make your own classical feast!These recipes are from The Classical Cookbook, by Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger, which uses Greek and Latin texts to create dishes from Homeric Greece to the Roman Empire.‘Cabbage should be sliced with the sharpest possible iron blade, then washed, drained, and chopped with plenty of coriander and rue.Incidentally, you can eat this as a meze.’ – Mnesitheus, quoted in Oribasius, Medical Collections 4, 4, 1.Oribasius (4th century AD), a well-known doctor of the late Roman Empire, borrowed it from a much older book of dietary advice by Mnesitheus, a medical writer from Athens who lived in the 4th century BC.Doctors were interested in this dish because it was said to cure headaches and was good for stomach upsets.Pliny claimed if taken before a meal it prevented drunkenness, and if taken after drinking it could cure a hangover!Whatever its medicinal value, Mnesitheus was quite right about cabbage in honey vinegar being delicious as a starter or side dish and it’s simple to make.Toss with the herbs and 3 tablespoons of honey vinegar and sprinkle with the asafoetida powder and a little salt.‘First, lightly digging into the ground with his fingers, he pulls up four heads of garlic with their thick leaves; then he picks slim celery-tops and sturdy rue and the thin stems of trembling coriander… He splashes a grass-grown bulb with water and puts it to the hollow mortar.Then at length he runs two fingers round the mortar, gathering the whole mixture into a ball, so as to produce the form and name of a finished moretum.’ – Moretum 88–120.If we take the recipe at face value, it may include fifty cloves of garlic, a pretty potent mixture!In this case the farmer would have used a large, coarsely made bowl with a grainy texture that helped to break down the ingredients.If you are grinding by hand, start with the garlic and salt; break it down to a pulp, then add the cheese and herbs.Remove stones from green, black or mixed olives, then prepare as follows: chop them and add oil, vinegar, coriander, cumin, fennel, rue, mint.The recipe from Cato dates to about 200 BC, but olives provided relish and flavouring all through ancient times.The olive tree had been under cultivation in Greece for a thousand years, if not longer, when the Iliad and Odyssey were composed (around the 8th century BC).Fennel leaf will not be easy to find unless you grow it yourself, so the chopped root will serve as a substitute.To make life easier buy good quality pitted olives.Try it with pitta bread, accompanied by a sharp sheep’s cheese such as feta.This recipe is adapted from various ancient sources – a poem attributed to the Greek poet Philoxenus of Cythera talks about shrimps glazed with honey being served at a banquet, but it does not help in recreating the dish!Fish sauce (for its salt) and olive oil would undoubtedly have been among the ingredients, along with the honey.Place the oil, fish sauce and honey in a saucepan and add the prawns.Serve as a first course with a crusty loaf of bread and a simple salad.The next day remove the meat from the marinade, pat it dry, and then roast it in an oven pre-heated to 200°C/gas mark 6, well-seasoned and with olive oil.When the meat is nearly ready, pound the dates to a pulp and add to the remaining red wine, honey, fish sauce and oil.Bring to the boil in a saucepan and cook out briefly and then thicken with cornflour (corn starch, you can mix with a little water to avoid lumps).When the joint is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving thick slices and serving with a little of the sauce on the side.Crush pepper, cumin, coriander seed, fresh mint, asafoetida root.Blend with honey, vinegar, fish sauce, concentrated must and oil, and pour the whole over the gourd.This dish is the sort of simple dinner that Romans would likely have had in bars and restaurants where you could easily while away an evening.Remove the stones from the dates and put the flesh in the mortar with the pine kernels.Transfer to a bowl and add the cumin, coriander, pepper, mint and asafoetida and mix well.Scrape down the mash and add the honey, defrutum, oil, fish sauce and vinegar.The oil is put in a frying-pan resting on a smokeless fire, and when it has heated, the wheat flour, mixed with plenty of water, is poured on.And at this point the cooks turn it, putting the visible side under, next to the pan, and bringing the sufficiently fried side, which was underneath at first, up on to the top, and when the underneath is set they turn it again another two or maybe three times till they think it is all equally cooked.When reading the Roman physician Galen’s description of making pancakes, it is hard to remember that he is writing 1,800 years ago!The early Greek poet Hipponax had written of pancakes ‘drugged with sesame seeds’.This was likely a breakfast meal and one that was possibly sold on the streets of ancient Athens from portable braziers.Serve all four pancakes hot with the remainder of the honey poured over and sprinkled with sesame seeds.Make a loaf of this, with leaves under it, and cook slowly in a hot fire under a brick.’ – Cato, On Agriculture 7.The poet Ovid, writing of Roman religious festivals, tells us some tantalising details.Grease a baking tray and place two large bay leaves in the centre.Sieve the flour, and add two tablespoons to the cheese mixture one at a time, stirring gently and slowly between each addition until they are incorporated.You can cover the cake in an earthenware vessel for authenticity or bake it as it is in a hot oven (200°C/gas mark 7) until golden brown and firm to the touch for 20–25 minutes.Remove from the oven and immediately score the cake across the centre and pour the warmed clear honey into the gap.‘On Hecate’s Island,’ says Semus in Deliad II, ‘the Delians sacrifice what they call basyniai to Iris, goddess of the dawn.It is wheat dough, boiled, with honey and the so-called kokkora (which are a dried fig and three walnuts).‘ – Athenaeus 645.‘Another sweet: Take durum wheat flour and cook it in hot water so that it forms a very hard paste, then spread it on a plate.Were the dried fig and the walnuts ingredients in basyniai, or were they a separate offering to the goddess?The second recipe, quoted from Apicius, is a little clearer as to the method of making he sweets.Bring the water to the boil and add the sifted flour in one go, beating vigorously to incorporate.These recipes and more can be found in The Classical Cookbook by Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger, published by The British Museum Press.We would love to see your ancient feasts – send us pictures of your creations on Twitter and Instagram using @britishmuseum. .

Did Divine Cabbages hasten the fall of the Roman Empire?

What we were looking at was a variant of Brassica Oleracea, or wild cabbage, commonly known in the US as collard greens, in England as colewort and in Dalmatia as rašika or raštika.Ancient Egyptians wrote that the earth god Geb, coupled each evening with the sky goddess Nut as the sun set.Scroll forward a few thousand years and the Emperor Diocletian has had enough of running the Empire and has abdicated, leaving behind four Caesars to govern as a tetrarchy.Now once again common Diocles, he retired to his native Dalmatia where he had had a massive palace built at Spalatum (today’s city of Split), and devoted himself to gardening, in particular cabbages, his beloved brassica oleracea, or olera.“Utinam Salonae possetis visere olera nostris manibus instituta, profecto numquam istud temptandum iudicaretis”.Scroll forward another couple thousand years, and today collard greens are still very popular in Dalmatian cuisine, but also in the deep south of the USA, and a few other places. .

New Year's Lessons from the Romans – Eat Cabbage

De brassica quod concoquit: on the medicinal value of the cabbage according to the Roman Marcus Cato.Brassica est quae omnibus holeribus antistat [It is the cabbage which surpasses all other vegetables] Nam venae omnes ubi sufflatae sunt ex cibo, non possunt perspirare [For when all the veins are gorged with food, they cannot breathe].He continues: Cabbage promotes general physical health and claims to be a remedy for nearly all bodily ills, including headache, eye ache, infections/swelling of internal organs, stiff joints, sores, digestive problems.Cook down chopped (or shredded) cabbage and onion with 1-2 tbsp.Add 2 cans of peeled whole tomatoes, roughly chopped, with juice.Add raisins and remaining seasonings, including hot sauce and chili flakes to taste.Add 3 cups liquid of your choice to desired thickness and simmer for about 30 minutes. .

The History of Broccoli as a Food

As far as vegetables are concerned, broccoli is a bit divisive–people either love it or hate it, but its history as a preferred source of food and nutrition has existed since the Roman Empire.The stalks and flower florets are eaten both raw and cooked and have a flavor reminiscent of cabbage, though broccoli is also related to kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.There are records of Thomas Jefferson, who was an avid gardener, experimenting with broccoli seeds brought over from Italy in the late 1700s, but although commercial cultivation of broccoli dates back to the 1500s, it did not become a popular foodstuff in the United States until Southern Italian immigrants brought it over in the early 1920s. .

Cabbage: Its History, Uses And Culture

Caesar's armies carried cabbage with them and used it not only for food, but bound wounds with the leaves to reduce infection.Cabbage was introduced into Europe by the conquering Romans and there the plant was bred into the familiar form we recognize today.It was easily cultivated in the cooler parts of northern Europe and quickly became a popular food.It produced a large harvest in the short growing season and was a wonderful addition to the meager diet of the rural folk.The explorers of the 17th and 18th centuries carried cabbage in their ship's stores for their crews to eat and the high Vitamin C content helped stave off the scurvy that was so common among sailors.By this time, a pickled form of the vegetable was popular in Europe and the French from the Alsace area gave it the name of "Choucroute"(sauerkraut).It has even been noted that on one of Captain Cook's voyages that sailors who were injured in a storm had their wounds bound with cabbage to help prevent gangrene.Cabbage also is high in dietary fiber and low in calories, which makes it an ideal food for those watching their weight.The best cabbage is grown in cool weather, in rich soil and has a steady source of moisture.Cutworms like cabbage plants, so it's advisable to place a collar of some sort around the young transplants.Tiny round holes appear and flea beetles can eat a new planting of cabbage to the ground almost overnight if left unchecked.Planting a more desirable food such as Chinese Giant Mustard will distract the flea beetles from the cabbage.They tend to split if left in the field after heavy rains, so be aware of the weather conditions as they mature.If red cabbage is used, be sure to add vinegar at the start of cooking to retain the bright color. .

History of Cabbage

Theophrastus (371 – 287BC), which is considered “father of botany”, mentions cabbage in his texts, so we know that Greeks knew about them at least as early as 4th century BC.They also used it for medicinal purpose as relief from gout, headaches and the symptoms of poisonous mushroom ingestion.During the time of Charlemagne (Charles the Great, 8th century), cabbages were directed to be cultivated in the “Capitulare de villis”, a text that gave rules and regulations on how to manage the lands and laws in the country.Proof for this we find in manuscripts of that time where they appeared in illuminations and in other texts where they were mentioned as the food of both wealthy and poor.Cabbage became necessary on long ocean journeys because it has high amounts of vitamin C which prevent scurvy.While it can be eaten raw, as a salad, cabbage can be steamed, pickled, stewed, sautéed or braised. .


oleracea), and belongs to the "cole crops" or brassicas, meaning it is closely related to broccoli and cauliflower (var.Under conditions of long sunny days, such as those found at high northern latitudes in summer, cabbages can grow quite large.They can be prepared many different ways for eating; they can be pickled, fermented (for dishes such as sauerkraut), steamed, stewed, roasted, sautéed, braised, or eaten raw.[5] A related species, Brassica rapa, is commonly named Chinese, napa or celery cabbage, and has many of the same uses.The original family name of brassicas was Cruciferae, which derived from the flower petal pattern thought by medieval Europeans to resemble a crucifix.[5] Many European and Asiatic names for cabbage are derived from the Celto-Slavic root cap or kap, meaning "head".The cabbage inflorescence , which appears in the plant's second year of growth, features white or yellow flowers, each with four perpendicularly arranged petals.The inflorescence is an unbranched and indeterminate terminal raceme measuring 50–100 cm (20–40 in) tall,[13] with flowers that are yellow or white.Each flower has four petals set in a perpendicular pattern, as well as four sepals, six stamens, and a superior ovary that is two-celled and contains a single stigma and style.The fruit is a silique that opens at maturity through dehiscence to reveal brown or black seeds that are small and round in shape.Leaf types are generally divided between crinkled-leaf, loose-head savoys and smooth-leaf firm-head cabbages, while the color spectrum includes white and a range of greens and purples.Cabbage has been selectively bred for head weight and morphological characteristics, frost hardiness, fast growth and storage ability.The appearance of the cabbage head has been given importance in selective breeding, with varieties being chosen for shape, color, firmness and other physical characteristics.[16] Breeding objectives are now focused on increasing resistance to various insects and diseases and improving the nutritional content of cabbage.Although cabbage has an extensive history,[23] it is difficult to trace its exact origins owing to the many varieties of leafy greens classified as "brassicas".[24] A possible wild ancestor of cabbage, Brassica oleracea, originally found in Britain and continental Europe, is tolerant of salt but not encroachment by other plants and consequently inhabits rocky cliffs in cool damp coastal habitats,[25] retaining water and nutrients in its slightly thickened, turgid leaves.However, genetic analysis is consistent with feral origin of this population, deriving from plants escaped from field and gardens.Because of the wide range of crops developed from the wild B. oleracea, multiple broadly contemporaneous domestications of cabbage may have occurred throughout Europe.Nonheading cabbages and kale were probably the first to be domesticated, before 1000 BC,[28] perhaps by the Celts of central and western Europe,[5] although recent linguistic and genetic evidence enforces a Mediterranean origin of cultivated brassicas.While unidentified brassicas were part of the highly conservative unchanging Mesopotamian garden repertory,[30] it is believed that the ancient Egyptians did not cultivate cabbage,[31] which is not native to the Nile valley, though the word shaw't in Papyrus Harris of the time of Ramesses III has been interpreted as "cabbage".[33] Ptolemaic Egyptians knew the cole crops as gramb, under the influence of Greek krambe, which had been a familiar plant to the Macedonian antecedents of the Ptolemies.[32] By early Roman times, Egyptian artisans and children were eating cabbage and turnips among a wide variety of other vegetables and pulses.[38] The more traditionalist Cato the Elder, espousing a simple Republican life, ate his cabbage cooked or raw and dressed with vinegar; he said it surpassed all other vegetables, and approvingly distinguished three varieties; he also gave directions for its medicinal use, which extended to the cabbage-eater's urine, in which infants might be rinsed.According to Pliny, the Pompeii cabbage, which could not stand cold, is "taller, and has a thick stock near the root, but grows thicker between the leaves, these being scantier and narrower, but their tenderness is a valuable quality".The Greeks and Romans claimed medicinal usages for their cabbage varieties that included relief from gout, headaches and the symptoms of poisonous mushroom ingestion.At the end of Antiquity cabbage is mentioned in De observatione ciborum ("On the Observance of Foods") by Anthimus, a Greek doctor at the court of Theodoric the Great.Cabbage appears among vegetables directed to be cultivated in the Capitulare de villis, composed in 771–800 AD, that guided the governance of the royal estates of Charlemagne.[46] French naturalist Jean Ruel made what is considered the first explicit mention of head cabbage in his 1536 botanical treatise De Natura Stirpium, referring to it as capucos coles ("head-coles").[48] In India, cabbage was one of several vegetable crops introduced by colonizing traders from Portugal, who established trade routes from the 14th to 17th centuries.[51] Sauerkraut was used by Dutch, Scandinavian and German sailors to prevent scurvy during long ship voyages.Jacques Cartier first brought cabbage to the Americas in 1541–42, and it was probably planted by the early English colonists, despite the lack of written evidence of its existence there until the mid-17th century.Cabbage is generally grown for its densely leaved heads, produced during the first year of its biennial cycle.Plants are generally started in protected locations early in the growing season before being transplanted outside, although some are seeded directly into the ground from which they will be harvested.[14] Seedlings typically emerge in about 4–6 days from seeds planted 13 mm (1⁄2 in) deep at a soil temperature between 20 and 30 °C (68 and 86 °F).[14] Closer spacing reduces the resources available to each plant (especially the amount of light) and increases the time taken to reach maturity.When being grown for seed, cabbages must be isolated from other B. oleracea subspecies, including the wild varieties, by 0.8 to 1.6 km (1⁄2 to 1 mi) to prevent cross-pollination.Fungal diseases include wirestem, which causes weak or dying transplants; Fusarium yellows, which result in stunted and twisted plants with yellow leaves; and blackleg (see Leptosphaeria maculans), which leads to sunken areas on stems and gray-brown spotted leaves.[64] The fungi Alternaria brassicae and A.

brassicicola cause dark leaf spots in affected plants.They are both seedborne and airborne, and typically propagate from spores in infected plant debris left on the soil surface for up to twelve weeks after harvest.Rhizoctonia solani causes the post-emergence disease wirestem, resulting in killed seedlings ("damping-off"), root rot or stunted growth and smaller heads.Clubroot, caused by the soilborne slime mold-like organism Plasmodiophora brassicae, results in swollen, club-like roots.[66] The cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni) is infamous in North America for its voracious appetite and for producing frass that contaminates plants.Factors that contribute to reduced head weight include: growth in the compacted soils that result from no-till farming practices, drought, waterlogging, insect and disease incidence, and shading and nutrient stress caused by weeds.Vacuum cooling rapidly refrigerates the vegetable, allowing for earlier shipping and a fresher product.The simplest options include eating the vegetable raw or steaming it, though many cuisines pickle, stew, sautée or braise cabbage.It is frequently eaten, either cooked or as sauerkraut, as a side dish or as an ingredient in such dishes as bigos (cabbage, sauerkraut, meat, and wild mushrooms, among other ingredients) gołąbki (stuffed cabbage) and pierogi (filled dumplings).Other eastern European countries, such as Hungary and Romania, also have traditional dishes that feature cabbage as a main ingredient.[79] Cabbage is also a moderate source (10–19% DV) of vitamin B6 and folate, with no other nutrients having significant content per 100-gram serving (table).The Ancient Greeks recommended consuming the vegetable as a laxative,[47] and used cabbage juice as an antidote for mushroom poisoning,[83] for eye salves, and for liniments for bruises.[85] Ancient Egyptians ate cooked cabbage at the beginning of meals to reduce the intoxicating effects of wine.The cooling properties of the leaves were used in Britain as a treatment for trench foot in World War I, and as compresses for ulcers and breast abscesses.The latter toxin has been traced to pre-made, packaged coleslaw mixes, while the spores were found on whole cabbages that were otherwise acceptable in appearance.Biological risk assessments have concluded that there is the potential for further outbreaks linked to uncooked cabbage, due to contamination at many stages of the growing, harvesting and packaging processes.Contaminants from water, humans, animals and soil have the potential to be transferred to cabbage, and from there to the end consumer.Cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables contain small amounts of thiocyanate, a compound associated with goiter formation when iodine intake is deficient. .


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