Aromatic plants are used to enhance the flavour of raw or cooked foods, and sometimes also to improve certain meats or drinks that have matured or even spoiled. They are used on their own or usually in a mixture. Reading the recipe book of Apicius, a Roman gastronome from the 1st century, shows the importance of spices in ancient cuisine. In order of importance, pepper, lovage, cumin, rue and coriander are the most frequently mentioned.

Condiments are used without any particular preparation, green or dried, chopped, crushed or ground. They can also be mixed with wine, beer, honey, vinegar, brine, cheese or olive oil.

“Added to the maceron, mint and onion, the honey spices up the cheese.”  Columelle

“Mix together as many unciae of violets as pounds of oil, and leave this mixture for forty days in the open air.” Palladius

Author: Jean-Luc Mulkens

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