John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Reader Request Month, day 1

Ten useful things you can learn by reading De Agri Cultura by Cato the Elder:

  1. The best type of soil in which to plant different varieties of figs (chapter 8)
  2. How to prepare feed for cattle (chapter 54)
  3. That you should have as many carts as you have teams (chapter 62)
  4. Smear your oxen's feet with melted pitch to prevent them from being worn down (chapter 72)
  5. How to bake a cheesecake (chapter 84)
  6. The many uses of amurca (the watery residue left when the oil is drained from the crushed olives) (chapters 91-103)
  7. How to prepare a wine that acts as a laxative (chapter 115)
  8. A remedy for dyspepsia and strangury (the frequent need to urinate, even when the bladder is empty) (chapter 127)
  9. What prayers should be said to purify your farmland (chapter 141)
  10. That it is the cabbage which surpasses all other vegetables (chapter 156-7)

Today's list is for roseability_, who wanted to see cheesecake mentioned in a list.

Cheesecake is one of the oldest known desserts. How old? As indicated above, Cato the Elder included a recipe for cheesecake (which he calls savillum) in De Agri Cultura, which was written around 150 B.C. The recipe is as follows:

Take 1/2 pound of flour, 2 1/2 pounds of cheese, and mix together as for the libum; add 1/4 pound of honey and 1 egg. Grease an earthenware dish with oil. When you have mixed thoroughly, pour into a dish and cover with a crock. See that you bake the centre thoroughly, for it is deepest there. When it is done, remove the dish, cover with honey, sprinkle with poppy-seed, place back under the crock for a while, then remove from the fire. Serve in the dish, with a spoon.

Doesn't sound too appealing to me, I'd rather have a big slice of it than a case of strangury.


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