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Wednesday, July 26, 2017


The Eruption of Vesuvius - Pether
Photo from: pepperberryfarm
Plineo, Pliny, Galius  Plinius Secundus, Pliny the Elder, AD 23/4 (?)-79 (in the eruption of Mount Vesuvicus, Italy). He was a Roman nobleman, admiral serving in Germany, Spain and Italy, historian, author of Natural History, an encyclopedic work published in 77 AD. naturalist and he loved food.  

The Natural History work is of disputed accuracy but served as the authority on scientific matters up to the end of Middle Ages. His work was unchallenged during that time for lack of more reliable information and it was a basic text for general education. It consists of some 37 books on a variety of information including anthropology, zoology, botany and pharmacology of the vegetable kingdom.

Pliny believed in magic and superstition. He mixed fact with fiction but he presented a methodical work and through his perceptiveness indicated details of which others were not cognizant. In this glossary, his medicinal opinions are cited from time to time. Sometimes they are correct and other times they must be taken with a grain of salt, such as in Books 12-19 Botany, 20-7 on medical properties of plants, he advises that wrinkles can be removed with asses’ milk! So who wants a face lifting if a she ass is available? See azcúcar de caña, duranzo and indica.
Sealing Marinated Meat
Photo by: Lord-Williams

Pliny learned the secret of bee keeping when in India. He brought bees back with him to test. As a result he is said to have created a powerful marinade combining the honey from the bees, wine from Pompeii, known as the best in the world of all Roman history, and herbs. It was so delicious that it was said that just the smell of it opened the appetites of all who passed by.

Next, Pliny wanted heat as powerful as the marinade and choose the Vesuvius volcano when it erupted. Under the pretense of saving the citizens of Pompeii, he sailed his fleet of ships to Pompeii to organize the evacuation of the city.

Secretly, Pliny tested his theory of heat by selected the hottest spot to roast his pork over the lava splashing over Pompeii. As he died during the eruption the secret of his recipe were lost forever.

[ES: Grieve. “Spurges.” 1995; ES: Johnson. Sep 22, 14; and Historia. 1995:I:7-34]

Eric Johnson in “Tales from The Cook Pliny The Elder’s Fire Roast Pork,” recreated the recipe:
5 lbs pork ribs, butt, chops, sirloin, or whatever cut you have.
Ready to Melt in Your Mouth
Photo by: Lord-Williams
2 cups honey
1 bottle red wine- chuck is best for this recipe, half of the bottle for you. The other for the pork.
1 large onion minced
1 bunch of fresh oregano


Cut the pork into strips or individual ribs and set the pork aside. Smash the fresh oregano with the flat of your knife and put it in a large bowl. Combine the onion, wine and honey with the oregano in a bowl. Mix it well. Marinade the pork over night. Cook the pork on a very hot fire to sear and partially char the pork.

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