By David L Thurmond
Rome was once capable of aid an incredible city inhabitants through supplying it with the rudiments of human foodstuff within the kind of processed meals. This quantity features a cautious research of these nutrition approaches. The paintings is geared up at the foundation of the presumed value of these meals, starting with the so-called Mediterranean Triad of cereals (particularly wheaten bread), olive oil and wine, then facing plant items resembling legumes, greens and culmination, then animal items, and finishing with the condiments (salts, sugars, acids, spices) which have been themselves the brokers for the renovation of different meals. The paintings combines research of literary and archaeological proof from antiquity with that of conventional comparative practices and smooth foodstuff technological know-how.
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Additional resources for A Handbook of Food Processing in Classical Rome: For Her Bounty No Winter
28 chapter one Pliny tells us the authorities recommend aerating cereals and legumes and storing them toward the end of the moon’s cycle (Pliny believes in farming ‘by the signs’). The aeration he refers to is simply tossing the grain in the air with spades periodically to loosen the compaction which facilitates fermentation and other forms of spoilage. But, he adds, many forbid the aeration on the grounds that the weevil will penetrate compacted grain only four inches and so the uppermost layer is sacriﬁced to maintain the purity of the rest.
The processing was much the same. Presumably some such tempering process as we have just discussed was used, though our sources do not say. In any case, Pliny tells us55 the grain is pounded in a wooden mortar with an iron-capped pestle. After the husks have been pounded oﬀ (and sifted, though Pliny does not speciﬁcally say as much) the naked kernel is brayed a second time using the same implements. The resulting cracked grain can be pounded and sifted to standard consistencies, and Pliny speciﬁes three grades of emmer groats: minimum, ‘smallest’; secundarium, ‘seconds’; and grandissimum, ‘biggest’, the last-named called in Greek aphaerêma, ‘select grade’.
Traditionally the rotary hand quern, mola manuaria [Fig. 74 Our ﬁrst 70 Moritz goes to considerable lengths to prove that the mill to which Plautus was famously forced to indenture himself because of ﬁnancial reverses was not a Pompeian rotary mill, as commonly supposed, but this sort of push-mill. 71 Frankel (2003): 2. 72 Frankel (2003): 6–7 and Fig. 6. 73 Mortitz (1958): 97–121. 74 E. Cecil Curwen, “Querns,” Antiquity 11 (1937): 133–51; idem, “More about cereals 41 Fig. 8. Models of hand querns (molae manuariae) from Britain, both pre-Roman (A) and Roman (B–E).
A Handbook of Food Processing in Classical Rome: For Her Bounty No Winter by David L Thurmond