This type of mint isn’t in fashion now, but it was once used as a answer to an array of ailments from constipation to snake bites. Here, a bit about pennyroyal, a culinary herb, fragrance, and flea repellent. A photo of a thicket of pennyroyal. Look at those flowers! Mint is one of my favorite… Continue reading Pennyroyal: A Minty, Bug-Repelling Herb
Lovage: The (Once) Ubiquitous Herb
Monstrous lovage is the single most frequent herb in the entire collection of books of Apicius, but is seldom seen in conventional cooking today. Here is a brief history of the herb that once dominated the culinary world. A photo of lovage leaves. Don’t they look like Italian parsley? In his magnum opus Naturalis historia… Continue reading Lovage: The (Once) Ubiquitous Herb
Rue: The Herb of Grace
A popular condiment, an antidote to poisons, and a caterpillar repellent, rue truly seems to do it all. Here’s a description of a surprisingly dangerous herb that has since fallen out of popularity, but was very much in vogue in ancient Rome. A photo of a rue bush. Fully mature plants can grow up to… Continue reading Rue: The Herb of Grace
Defrutum and Caroenum and Sapa, Oh My!
Sweeteners were pretty hard to come by for Roman cooks, so they resorted to using an ingredient with many other culinary purposes. Here you can read about these syrups and how to make them yourself. A mosaic of a bunch of grapes, from the Bardo National Museum, Tunis. After a bit of a break, I’ve… Continue reading Defrutum and Caroenum and Sapa, Oh My!
Garum, Glorious Garum: Fish Sauce in Rome
The Romans loved their condiments. Some of the most popular were made of salted fish innards! Here you can discover more about the four varieties of this foul sauce and create your own at home. The ruins of a garum factory in the former Roman settlement of Baelo Claudia in Spain. One of the most… Continue reading Garum, Glorious Garum: Fish Sauce in Rome
Silphium: A Miracle Herb
Silphium was one of the many herbs used by Roman cooks. It appears in dozens of recipes but has gone extinct and its true identity is hidden. Here is a brief history of the plant and its modern substitutes. A Cyrene didrachm (silver coin) showing a silphium plant on the reverse. Silphium: a plant so… Continue reading Silphium: A Miracle Herb