Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Cheese graters have other uses

The children are back at school and the dh is at work. The house is silent for the first time in weeks. Just me and my wip. It is very much at that curate's egg stage -- some parts are good but others -- hold your nose. Still there is time and reworking and rewriting can work wonders. I am not one of those who strives for perfect on the page first time. No, it needs to be perfect on the page just before I send it to my editor and then be willing to change. Or perfect on the page when it goes to the printer.

I suspect my editor is expecting this to have been lifted by several notches by the time she sees it. Fingers crossed it will be.
My current reading is Roman Cookery -- Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens. It is a fascinating study of the precursors of many of today's Italian dishes. Lagana is fried pasta that was then dunked in soup. Pasta as in boiled in water was not invented until the middle ages. But they had the dough.
They used a lot of cheese in cooking, particularly in making bread. The grater was a very important piece of equipment. Apparently in Lysistrada, there is an intriguing reference to a sexual position known as the lioness on the cheese grater. Don't ask, because I have not seen an illustration. But the mind boggles. I may have to find out a way to work this into the story. I will now appraoch a cheese grater with a different mind.

Of course many Greek dishes such as stuffed vine leaves have their precursors in Roman cookery. And like Greek food, the Romans seem to have weighed in heavily on the olive oil. Butter was considered only fit for barbarians. Interestingly, fish sauce which is often mentioned in Apicius has proven to be less well used in overy day cooking.Apicius was sort of the Gordon Ramsay cum Nigella Lawson aspirational cookbok of its time. Most people didn't have the time or the money to make most of its recipes. Salt seems to have been used more frequently. This is just as well as fish sauce always sounds revolting.

The honey harvest is done. 40 pounds in weight or thereabouts. an average year. And as it has turned colder, I am pleased I took the time yesterday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, the lion on a cheese grater. I did Classics for A level and Lysistrata was one of my set texts. I asked my tutor what it meant... and he just went bright red and changed the subject. I'm still none the wiser, so if you ever find out, *do* tell me!