ta­ble talk

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - LIFESTYLE - ed halmagyi fast-ed.com.au

OUR con­tem­po­rary ob­ses­sion with food and cook­ing can seem like the apex of a shared civil­is­ing ten­dency. Af­ter all, to have such wealth and free­dom that we can in­dulge the in­tri­ca­cies of nu­anced flavour and culi­nary tech­nique is his­tor­i­cally rare.

But one maxim has held true through­out the ages – the pro­cesses that bring great food to life must be taught and shared. And so the cook­book was born.

The old­est complete cook­book is an English com­pen­dium from the court of Richard II whose con­tents in­clude the prepa­ra­tion of dol­phin por­ridge and jel­lied chicken milk. Who said Bri­tish cook­ery was bor­ing? Even older recipes abound. A col­lec­tion of Ro­man dishes from the first to fifth cen­turies cu­rated un­der the ti­tle “De re co­quinaria” and shared widely dur­ing the Im­pe­rial pe­riod.

Fur­ther back, recipes be­gin to frag­ment, ow­ing both to the man­ner of record­ing and the pas­sage of time. The old­est known recipe was dis­cov­ered on an Akka­dian tablet from south­ern Baby­lo­nia, de­scrib­ing a method for mak­ing a lo­cal ver­sion of beer. Howe How­ever, of all these trea­sure trea­sured his­tor­i­cal no­ta­tion no­ta­tions, none is more amus­ing that the recipe shard th that sur­vives from the Syra­cu­san cook Mithae­cus. Steeped in his na­tive Greek her­itage and flaunt­ing his adopted Si­cil­ian wealth, he was a b badly be­haved but widely re­spected chef. It seem seems some traits do not cha change through the ag ages. Quoted in a book by h his con­tem­po­rary Athanaeus, he re­ferred to a method for pre­par­ing fish with olive oil and cheese. His is not re re­ally a recipe, ho how­ever, but a sar sar­cas­tic in­sult to lo­cal ten ten­den­cies. Mithae­cus foun found the idea of fish and c cheese bar­baric. For he was not just one of our first co cook­book writ­ers, he was the ear­li­est critic.

Mithae­cus found the idea of fish and cheese bar­baric.

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