Ancient Roman Recipes

Pumpkin Squash - Gustum de cucurbitas


Culinary Articles » Old Recipes and Ancient Recipes » Ancient Roman Recipes

Ancient Roman Recipes
Pumpkin Squash

To have the harder ones palatable, do this:
Cut the fruit into pieces.
Boil and squeeze the water out of the boiled fruit.
Arrange the pieces in a baking dish.
Put in the mortar pepper, cumin and silphium, (See note for silphium)
that is, a very little of the laser root (See note for laser root)
and a little rue. (See note for rue)
Season this with stock.
Measure a little vinegar and mix in a little condensed wine,
so that it can be strained and pour this liquid over the fruit in the baking dish.
Let it boil three times, retire from the fire and sprinkle with very little ground pepper.

Also known as silphion or laser root was a plant of the genus Ferula. Generally considered to be an extinct "giant fennel". It became extinct by the end of the 1st century A.D. It had a very strong taste and smell and was used as an onion and garlic substitute. A modern substitute for silphion is asafoetida.

Laser Root
Same as Silphium.

Asafoetida is a strong smelling spice and should be used sparingly. Its predecessor was silphium. Asafoetida was used as substitute for silphium when Alexander the Great invaded Asia. His soldiers discovered a plant that was almost identical with silphium when they were crossing the northeastern provinces of the Persian Empire. Cooks that are interested in recreating ancient Roman recipes today use asafoetida when silphium is called for.

Rue is a genus of strongly scented evergreen subshrubs 20-60 cm tall, in the family Rutaceae, native to the Mediterranean region, Macaronesia and southwest Asia. It was used extensively in Middle Eastern cuisine in olden days, as well as in many ancient Roman recipes (according to Apicius), but because it is very bitter, it is usually not suitable for most modern tastes. However, it is still used in certain parts of the world, particularly in northern Africa. Try arrugula or radish leaf as a substitute for rue.

Gustum de cucurbitas (Latin Version)

Cucurbitas coctas expressas in patinam conpones. Adiccies in mortarium piper, cuminum, silfi modice id est laseris radicem, rutam modicum, liquamine et aceto teraperabis, mittes defritum modicum ut coloretur, ius exinanies in patinam. Cum ferbuerint iterum actertio, depones et piper minutum asparges.