General Discussion

A discerning Chowhound from antiquity.

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A discerning Chowhound from antiquity.

Michael Lewis | Jul 25, 2001 04:17 PM

Even in the degenerate Emperor Nero's times there were those who were uncomfortable about vacuous gastronomic novelty seeking.

The pheasant won from Colchis
And African guinea-fowls
Taste good because these birds are rare,
While the plain white goose and the duck
With speckled bright feathers
Have merely an ordinary savour.
Parrot-fish drawn from from distant shores,
A catch from the Syrtes costing a shipwreck,
Are all the rage; we're tired of mullet now.
The mistress excels the wife,
Cinnamon puts the rose to blush.
The very far-fetched will pass for the best.

Petronius, Satyricon 4:93.

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