Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Philosopher's Kitchen

My wife is a librarian and this makes for a dangerous combination for a marriage (an embarrassing and hopelessly out of touch combo, if you ask our thirteen-year-old daughter).

Anyhow, my wife brought to my attention a wonderful book: The Philosopher's Kitchen: Recipes from Ancient Greece and Rome for the Modern Cook by Francine Segan (Random House, Inc., 2004). This cookbook contains recipes (I believe) students would actually eat. There is no talk of lark tongues, sow's bladders, or peacock brains (which, unfortunately, most students then choose to remember and confirm the general public's views of "typical" Roman food which always ends up in the "vomitorium") but reasonable and realistic items. Even more impressive, many recipes have photographs of the final product, making them look very tempting and enjoyable.

The table of contents lists:

  • Ad Gustum: Appetizers
  • Fire: Soups and Stews
  • Earth: Salads and Vegetables
  • Water: Seafood
  • Air: Poultry
  • Macellum: Meats
  • Panis: Breads
  • Ambrosia: Desserts
  • Menus and Entertaining

Opening the book at random, one finds "Herb Crisps" (p.186):

  • A quote from Aesop
  • A short introduction to the recipe with reference to the photograph on an earlier page
  • The modern recipe
  • The original recipe (from Chrysippus)
  • And the entry ends with a item of interest (which are delightfully scattered throughout the textbook) which mentions how the ancient Egyptians kneaded bread with their feet.

This book is a must-have for any teacher who makes food a part of the classroom experience or anyone who loves to cook!

Also tempting... the author has penned Shakespeare's Kitchen. Now I have to find that one too!

*The fine print: I have no connection with Francine Segan or Random House Books. This is not a spam promotion. I merely found this delightful book and wanted to share the excitement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You just might find Shakepeare's Kitchen in your school or local library.