Updated 8 October 2017
Toffee Apples and Togas
by Rita Roberts – A Book Review
This is only a small book, partly auto-biographical, packed full of so much living, loves, friendships, all bound together with tales of antiquity and ancient re-enactments.
Rita Roberts concludes this wonderful work with a selection of her favourite Roman and Medieval recipes. In conjunction, she gives an insight into Roman kitchens, cooking practices, and utensils. This book is worth buying for the recipes alone and for the insight into Roman cooking and the utensils they used.
An excerpt from Toffee Apples and Togas:
About The Roman Gourmet
…Gaius Apicius lived during the rule of Emperor Tiberius in the 1st century AD. The cookery books which he wrote were published some three hundred years later and are the main source of our knowledge of Roman food.
Apicius was able to buy a large selection of herbs and spices from Roman and Greek traders who travelled to the spice markets of Southern Asia. These were then offered for sale in the markets of Rome. Some of the sauces made by Apicius were flavoured with up to twelve different herbs and spices. Many spices such as pepper, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves came from India, Sri Lanka, and China.
The highly flavoured sauces made by Apicius were often used to mask food which may have become stale or rancid because of over-storing. The most commonly used seasoning was called liquamen. Apicius became a very wealthy man, but it is believed he committed suicide by poisoning himself. As a result of his buying so many expensive foods from every part of the known world, he realised that he had only about ten million (10,000,000) sesterces left and he did not consider this enough to maintain his high standard of living…
Ms Roberts is a retired archaeologist (a specialist in identifying ancient pottery), antique dealer, teacher, maker, seller of Roman sauces, and a bit player in the television series The Island, the tragic story of inhabitants of the small island of Spinalonga which is a short, pleasant boat trip from the author’s home on Crete. As if that wasn’t enough, she also translates Linear B (Mycenae and Knossos) tablets.
See examples of Rita’s translations of Linear B tablets here: Linear B, Mycenae and Knossos
Rita Roberts was born in Birmingham in the UK, and now shares her home on the beautiful Greek island of Crete with her partner, John. She has always followed her dreams and age has never been a barrier. I think her mantra is ‘it’s never too late to learn or to follow your dreams’… she is an inspiration.
-Anne Frandi-Coory 17 April 2016
Ms Roberts has since written a wonderful children’s book:
The Minstrel John & The Squirrels
Visit her blog for more information on this delightful story.
Catch up on Rita’s latest archaeological finds, adventures and more wonderful recipes here: RITA ROBERTS’ BLOG