consigliato per te

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    Episode 152 – Intro to Baijiu with Derek Sandhaus

    To infuse your Ming River Baijiu with peppercorns…well, first you need your bottle, so head over to and order a bottle right to your doorstep if you live here in the US. With shipping, it’ll cost around $40, which is a great deal. Then, you’re going to want to throw just a small handful of your Sichuan peppercorns in the bottle overnight. If you taste the bottle the next day and you still want more flavor infused in there you can add some more and wait a little longer, but a light touch with infused spirits is important – otherwise you risk ruining the bottle if you get overzealous.
    Next, onto the clove syrup. Similarly – you’re going to want to throw a small handful of whole cloves (not powdered) into your 1:1 sugar:water mixture on the stovetop, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Once, you’re approaching a simmer, go ahead and cut that heat and leave the lid on your sauce pan for an hour or two before you strain out the cloves and bottle your syrup for the fridge.
    Show Notes
    This is a rich conversation with a lot of moving parts. In it, we tackle the history, production methods, and cultural importance of Baijiiu, all of which branch into still other fascinating lines of inquiry. Below, we’ll provide links to some of the topics we discuss, as well as an extensive set of bullet points taken from a seminar that Derek conducted with the WSET (see embedded video below).
    Here are some important links, as promised in the audio interview:
    Related Episodes
    Links & References
    Baijiu Crash Course
    This summary was taken from a seminar in mid-2020 hosted by the WSET, wherein Derek presents a structured, hour long crash course on Baijiu production methods. You can review the bullet points below or simply enjoy the video here: LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 151 – Measurements: A Proportional Cocktail Guide

    To make the Negroni Sbagliato, you’ll need:
    Now, unlike your classic Negroni, the Sbagliato riff is actually a “built” drink, rather than a stirred one. And that simply means that you’re going to take a rocks glass with ice, add your Campari and sweet vermouth, top it with a 1 oz pour of sparkling wine (or perhaps a bit heavier pour…who are we kidding), and then stir gently to combine the ingredients before garnishing with a classic orange twist.
    Now, Negroni fans, don’t get salty here, but you could argue that the Sbagliato improves on the classic Negroni in two noteworthy ways: it simplifies the mixing process and lightens the ABV of the cocktail significantly. This makes the Sbagliato an excellent brunch or porch sippin’ drink, so in those moments when your brain thinks “Negroni” but your body isn’t quite ready to get on board, the Negroni Sbagliato might just be the bastardized formula that saves the day.
    Show Notes
    In this interview, we cover a lot of design-related topics; for example – how to keep a clean, minimal aesthetic while still visualizing the complexity and unique character of a given cocktail. Below, you’ll find links to some of the particular people, places, and things we mention during the conversation, as well as a number of pictures and videos from the book.
    Check out these images and Alternate Reality (AR) GIFs from Measurements: A Proportional Cocktail Guide. If you download the Artivive app, you can actually interact with these visualizations when you purchase Nick’s Book. LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 150 – Great Northern Cocktails with Shawn Soole

    To make it, you’ll need:

    2 oz Canadian Whisky (but if you’re in the US market, rye whiskey would be an appropriate substitute)

    ¼ oz Fernet Branca

    ¼ oz Simple Syrup

    1-2 dashes of Aromatic Bitters (Angostura is traditional, but feel free to use our Embitterment Aromatic Bitters for a slightly different take on the drink)

    Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, stir for about 20 seconds until everything is well chilled and diluted, strain into a stemmed cocktail glass, and garnish with an expressed orange twist.
    As you can see, the Toronto Cocktail sort of wedges itself in between an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan. The Fernet could be seen as either a very bitter, lightly sweet vermouth (this would be the Manhattan interpretation), or as an additional bitter with enough sugar to warrant cutting your simple syrup (this would be the Old Fashioned riff).
    Shawn had a hand in bringing this drink to the forefront as a result of his thorough historical research, so we’ll dig into it in greater depth during this interview.
    Show Notes
    During this conversation, we go wide and deep, covering everything from foraged cocktail ingredients to Philip Duff’s affection for the proud nation of Canada. Here are some links to some of the times we cover. LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 149 – Distilling the Future

    To make it, you’ll need:
    Combine all these ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake for about 15 seconds until everything is well chilled and diluted, then strain into a stemmed cocktail glass and enjoy.
    The big appeal of the Brown Derby cocktail – which was invented in LA a few years prior to the repeal of Prohibition – is that it doesn’t contain anything that was hard to source here in the US. We grow our own grapefruits down in Florida, we got dem bees makin’ honey all over the place, and of course, we’ve got our beloved national spirit, Bourbon.
    And that was important during Prohibition because during that time it was hard to get your hands on lots of fancy European Liqueurs and other imported mixers. So the Brown Derby is truly a drink of its time – it takes the whiskey sour format and evolves it in a compelling way, but it knows its limitations and stays in its lane.
    Show Notes
    Chris Swonger is a spirits industry veteran with a penchant for political advocacy. After graduating from Texas Tech, he jumped in his pickup truck and headed to Washington, DC to pursue a career on the hill and later used his talents while working for some of the largest spirits brands on the planet. After a decade long hiatus working in the tech industry, Chris returned to take the reins of DISCUS,, and Spirits United. Below, you’ll find links to some of the topics covered in this interview. LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 148 – Art of the Recipe (Part III: Ben Turner)

    What’s shakin, cocktail fans?
    Welcome to Episode 148 of The Modern Bar Cart Podcast!
    Thanks for joining us for this third installment of our “Art of the Recipe” series, where we’ve been digging deep to learn about the history, craft, and artistry behind the recipes we follow to sustain our bodies and enjoy life.
    This time around, we’ve got an interview episode for ya with Los-Angeles-based artist Ben Turner (@b3njaminlturn3r on Instagram), who is the creator of Earth No Patio – a podcast centered around the art of the recipe.
    Compared to a lot of podcasts out there, Earth No Patio is WEIRD. In fact, the first time I tuned in, I almost deleted it immediately – you’ll hear the full story about why I didn’t in just a few minutes. But if I had to summarize Earth No Patio, I’d call it an eclectic mashup of technical food and drink recipes, world music, and soundscapes that has more to do with building a feeling in the listener than it does with telling a linear story or advancing an explicit idea.
    In the words of our talented audio engineer Samantha Reed:

    Ben’s show is […] meditative, […] inspirational, poetic, weird, experimental, mesmerizing. I feel […] simultaneously that I don’t understand anything, but also like he’s explaining something in a way that I’ve intrinsically known my whole life but never put into words before.

    Some of the topics we cover with Ben Turner, creator of Earth No Patio include:

    How Ben’s experiences in the art and culinary world led him to this structured, yet highly associative experiment of pairing recipes with soundscapes.

    Why some of the best (or most efficient) recipes can seem almost boring or banal, but tend to be extremely thoughtful in their structure and sequence.

    The intuitive process by which Ben selects the recipes he features on Earth No Patio – from bland, unassuming Italian eggplant recipes, to Ayurvedic dishes that comment on bile color and bodily excrement.

    Why Ben views cocktail recipes as punctuation in his podcast, as well as a few thoughts on the wild and funky barscapes he’s been playing with in recent episodes.

    What to drink while chatting with Avante Garde composer and artist John Cage, and much, much more.

    We’ve got clips from Earth No Patio scattered throughout this episode so you can get a little sample of Ben’s work, and we’ve also got a fun little announcement about halfway through that you should keep your ears peeled for.
    Featured Cocktail: The Tallulah
    This episode’s featured cocktail is the Tallulah, a cocktail recently featured on Earth No Patio. It’s a modern cocktail – certainly not a classic – but it’s basically a mashup of Jack & Coke and a Corn n’ Oil or an Old Fashioned. Inspired by the southern tradition of adding salted peanuts to Coca Cola, the Tallulah cocktail (like sweet tea and shoofly pie) somehow gets away with having way more sugar than most drinks with similar profiles, which is certainly part of its charm. To make it, you’ll need: LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 147 – The Home Bar Awards

    The Sidecar is one of those cocktails with somewhat contentious origin stories. It’s not as cryptic as the Martinez or some of those other Jerry Thomas era drinks, but it has its share of intrigue. The inventor of the sidecar is believed to have been invented sometime in the very early 1920s by a bartender named Pat MacGarry, who worked at a joint called “Buck’s Club” in London. However, another gentleman with a lot of pull in the prohibition-era cocktail scene decided to wheedle his way in to steal some of the credit. That man was none other than Harry MacElhone, proprietor of of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, birthplace of such storied drinks as the Bloody Mary and the French 75.
    Now, here’s why this history lesson is necessary. Originally, the Sidecar was an “Equal Parts” cocktail, as published in Harry MacElhone’s 1922 book, Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails. So, in terms of the ingredients, that would come out to one oz each of Cognac, Cointreau, and Lemon juice, which are the bones of the cocktail. This has come to be known as the “French School” of the Sidecar.
    However, in 1930, London bartender Harry Craddock published his legendary Savoy Cocktail Book, which offered a 2 : 1 : 1 ratio of Cognac to Cointreau to Lemon juice. This came to be known as the “English School” of making the drink.
    Eric’s Take

    Now, if you’re asking me which version I prefer, of course, I’m going to lean toward the English school because it most closely resembles your classic “sour ratio,” and this three ingredient drink really does want to be a sour. The mellowness of the orange liqueur is the perfect mediator between the zippy lemon juice and the rich cognac, and my main concern with this drink being in equal parts is that it turns out both too sweet and too sour at the same time. When you do this, the Cognac somehow becomes the mediator between the lemon juice and the orange liqueur, and if there’s anyone who’s supposed to be driving the motorcycle this sidecar is attached to, it should really be the base spirit.

    Anyway, give us a shout-out on Instagram or Facebook to let us know which version of the Sidecar cocktail YOU prefer, and please, just because it’s called a sidecar doesn’t mean you should drink one before your next motorcycle ride. In fact, definitely don’t do that.
    Show Notes LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 146 – Art of the Recipe (Part II: Craft)

    Regarding weights and measures, England had a bunch of legislation on the books, but no unified and consistent system until the British Weights and Measures Act of 1824 – about 20 years before Acton’s book was published. America, on the other hand, decided it would go ahead and figure out its own system of weights and measures, despite recommendations from Francophile Thomas Jefferson, who liked the metric system. That, by the way, was rolled out in France in 1799. If you look at cocktail recipes to this day, there’s almost always one set of instructions for US measurements, and another developed for the metric system – which means that you’re never making a completely faithful version of a drink if you swap between the two. So, although we take it for granted today when we see consistent volume or weight measurements on a recipe, there were very few consistent standards even a century or two ago, which actually lends a bit of curb appeal to all those relational recipes that just threw measurements out the window.
    Now let’s talk about time – right – Acton famously included “cooking time” on all her recipes. Well, it might surprise you to learn that until the middle of the 1800s – and for poor families quite a bit later – nobody besides the uber rich could afford a clock in their home – let alone one that was portable enough to be moved to the kitchen. To me, this doesn’t so much invalidate Acton’s recipes as it emphasizes the importance of making informed estimates about things like the passage of time. Even if it’s aspirational, Acton gives her readers a target to shoot for, which in itself was revolutionary.
    Finally, we have the issue of heat (or temperature). I won’t dwell on this too long, but suffice it to say that Acton’s cooking was all done on wood or coal stoves, so there was no such thing as setting the oven to 350 for one hour. That wouldn’t come along until much later, and since I just promised you that we’d be moving along to cocktails, which don’t require cooking, let’s fast forward to the last decade or two, where one popular drinks historian makes an important contribution to beverage recipes and our ability to re-create them.
    Wondrich, Mr. Boston, and Beyond
    Enter David Wondrich, good ol’ Davey-boy. Cocktail historian, noteworthy for his work at Esquire and just about every other respectable print and digital publication that has a regular drinks column. He is, of course, the author of two very important books, Imbibe! – which is a great entry point to spirits and cocktails – and Punch, which gets real deep and historical and has, in my opinion, even better writing than his first book.
    Now, Wondrich faced a question that pretty much anyone interested in cocktails has raised at some point, which is: what did these classic drinks taste like when they were first invented? The first step, of course, is to dig up some sort of documentation that reveals a cocktail’s ingredients and measurements, and hopefully even its origins. But if you’re a true, primary source historian like Wondrich (and not like all these lazy bloggers and journalists I complain about during our featured cocktail segment), you might rightly be faced with a recipe that involves measures like “flagons” or “gills” or “wine glasses.” In both his books, he provides easy conversions for all sorts of arcane weights and measures, which is what makes them useful both as historical texts and as recipe manuals.
    Wondrich’s books – as texts that bridge history and craft – are quite different from many others that were popular earlier in the century. Here, I think of the Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide which takes the form of a reference book like a dictionary or encyclopedia with short entries about each drink. Hold up Mr. Boston next to Imbibe!, and it looks like apples and oranges…kinda because it is. While Wondrich leans heavily on historical context, Mr. Boston and similar texts care more about the materials (and maybe a few sketchy notes on the process) needed to produce a given drink.
    This reminds me quite a bit of the difference between Apicius, which we discussed in Part I, and Modern Cookery. Apicius, like Mr. Boston, is targeted at professionals – people who might consult it as a part of their day-to-day occupation (and perhaps even under a deadline). Books like Imbibe! and Modern Cookery are much more concerned with giving tools to people who are operating in their own homes – and if you’ve made it this far, I think it’s kind of cool to appreciate some of the heritages from which we can trace today’s popular cocktail books.
    Like Acton, Wondrich begins Imbibe! with a list of tools and techniques that anyone who plans to read the ensuing pages will need to know or reference, and this explicit definition of terms is important because the assumption is that the reader hasn’t attended culinary school (or in Wondrich’s case, arcane cocktail school).
    Going back to Brillat-Savarin, and even further to the Epicurean atomistic physics we covered in Part I, I think one way to distinguish these two different types of recipe books from one another (and to value them each for their own sake) is to think of texts like Apicius and Mr. Boston as being concerned with the quantity and type of ingredients, and texts like Imbibe! and Modern Cookery as being concerned with how those ingredients are manipulated and configured (and why). So the next time you purchase a book of recipes, or come across a sexy recipe blog on the internet, I’d encourage you to try and pass what you read through that filter. It could tell you what the recipe and its author are best-suited to communicate, and it could also offer insights on what might be missing in order for you to truly grasp the process.
    The Role of Narrative in Recipes
    Before I wrap up this episode with a list of my best practices for writing a well-crafted recipe drawing on all the stuff we’ve learned in the first two installments of this series, I’d like to take a quick pit-stop in our current time to consider a recipe trend I find charming – but only to a point.
    Here’s when this trend first really occurred to me – and let me preface this by saying I do not own a television and I do not watch network TV on the reg, so I’m often oblivious to certain popular trends until they smack me in the face. That’s exactly what happened here.
    Siba’s Table
    It was New Year’s 2018, and my wife and I were in Lisbon for a trip she was taking as a business school requirement. And, wouldn’t you know it – I happened to contract just about the worst case of Norovirus that anyone has ever had the pleasure to meet. So there I was, lying feverishly in a hotel room in a foreign country, and the station I told my wife to leave on while she left for the day happened to be the Food Network – but not the good ol’ American Food Network – remember, we’re in Europe, so I was watching some UK version of the Food Network and they happened to be airing an all-day marathon of a show called Siba’s Table.
    Now, I grew up watching chefs like Emeril Legassi and others who did cooking demonstrations – often in front of live studio audiences – but where the show was centered wholly around the food. But Siba had a style all her own. All I can remember about that day is lapsing in and out of fever dreams, listening helplessly (for I could not reach the remote) about how we were making this dish because Siba’s in-laws were visiting, and we needed to make this dessert because she was being visited by a childhood friend who had a mango tree in her backyard, and all the while we got to watch her husband entertain their two kids while Siba shopped for ingredients and prepped the dishes.
    I don’t know if it was the cramps and cold sweats or the deluge of unnecessary plot lines that had me more bent out of shape that day, but I continue to be fascinated by the use of narrative (or story arcs) in recipes, and very quick to point out when someone goes overboard.
    The Pioneer Woman
    The U.S. has its own version of Siba’s Table in the form of The Pioneer Woman, who not only has a show with a similar format on The Food Network, but she also has a line of cheaply made cookware and serving ware that will break if you look at it the wrong way – I can tell you that from personal experience. In essence, the host, Ree Drummond is out there on her Oklahoma ranch living the American dream. Did the kids just get done wrastlin’ in the hay field? Let’s whip up grandma’s famous lemonade! Is the husband tired from a day milking horses out in the south pasture? Time for some deep fried shepherd’s pie! And for dessert? Well, you’ll get a heapin’ helpin’ of staged, scripted banter that somehow makes you feel like you’re just another member of the family.
    I think you can see where I’m going with this. At a certain point, a recipe is no longer a recipe when you spoon feed it to people in the form of “info-tainment.” It may have been a recipe at one point, but when the delivery is somehow contingent on filling a 20 minute time slot to feed you ads…well, I’m gonna go ahead and unsubscribe.
    When and How Narrative Can Work
    That’s why I began this episode with Pablo’s wonderfully thoughtful and beautifully articulated story about his Sherry Martini with Pickled Morels. Let’s walk through it so I can show you what I mean in light of Siba’s Table and The Pioneer Woman:

    Was there a story or an initiating incident? Yep. The story was, it’s Spring, and spring means morel mushrooms. Pablo likes to forage them – it’s a good excuse to get some exercise outdoors.

    Was there a problem to solve or a reason why he made this recipe? Absolutely. He foraged some morels that were dry, and he was able to re-purpose them by pickling them and using them as a cocktail garnish.

    Was useful information conveyed? Yes. Not only did Pablo give us the cocktail recipe, which he customized using carefully chosen ingredients from his bar and explaining why he selected each one, but he also gives us a bonus recipe in the form of his pickling liquid. He also told us about Morels and how to identify them.

    I love a good story – but all good stories are real, just like Pablo’s, not constructed in order to prevent you from changing the channel. Remember that last detail of Brillat-Savarin’s favorite fondue recipe? 

    Call for the best wine, which will be copiously drunk, and you will see miracles.

    There’s no doubt that he himself had done so one day while serving or enjoying that very recipe and he was consequently the participant in or witness of some sort of minor miracle – or at least a cheese-and-wine-induced hallucination. It might seem silly, but even this is a “real” detail that I don’t mind encountering in a recipe because it teaches me something about the delicious potential that can be unlocked when you can arrange the atoms and void in your ingredients in just the right way, and in that sense, it is extremely valuable.
    Tips for Writing Great Recipes
     Now it’s time to see if we can synthesize what we’ve learned over the past two installments of this “Art of the Recipe” series and turn them into a few helpful tips that will help you to be a better recipe writer the next time someone asks you for the secrets behind your favorite dish or drink.
    Tip #1 – Be Careful What You Assume
    Jerry Thomas might have assumed that the ingredients in his “Gin & Pine” cocktail were pretty obvious, but here we are, a century and a half later, scratching our heads. This is the “think about your audience” instruction that all writers need to consider before publishing something because your end product is going to be vastly different based on the assumptions you make about what your audience knows and has access to regarding tools and ingredients. So, if you make an assumption – make it a good one, based on reflection and evidence.
    Tip #2 – Be specific about your materials LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 145 – Art of the Recipe (Part I: Origins)

    To be fair, Romans borrowed the idea that the world is comprised of atoms – just like they borrowed their gods – from the Greeks. Philosophers like Democritus and Parmenides paved the way for the notion that the universe is composed of particles that are so small as to be invisible to the naked eye. In fact, Democritus went so far as to explain that the size and shape of atoms had a direct impact of taste perception, claiming that: Bitterness is caused by small, angular, jagged atoms passing across the tongue; whereas sweetness is caused by larger, smoother, more rounded atoms passing across the tongue.
    But it was the Greek philosopher Epicurus who advanced the theory and really honed it to create an atomistic worldview that explained all objects and phenomena in terms of either atoms or void. Unfortunately, no primary sources of Epicurus’ writing exist, but historians widely regard the Roman poet Lucretius and his epic poem De Rerum Natura (The Nature of Things) to be an accurate mouthpiece for Epicureanism. We’ll return to that term in a moment and discuss its relation to food and drink in particular.
    If that epic poem, De Rerum Natura, sounds familiar, you may be recalling it from our “Cocktails in a Tim`e of Plague” episode where I reference its detailed account of the plague of Athens. But aside from that bizarre final chapter, the rest of the poem is much more concerned with unpacking the atomistic nature of the universe. The basic premises of Epicurus’ atomic physics are as follows:

    The Universe is comprised entirely of atoms and void

    Atoms are unlimited in quantity, but have a limited number of types (like letters in an alphabet)

    Different arrangements of atoms create different materials and experiences (like the same letters can be used to make different words)

    And finally, all that exists was set in motion by an event he called “the swerve,” which is when one atom changed course and bumped into other atoms, causing a chain reaction of movement and recombination. (Today’s scholars obviously draw very close parallels between this and the Big Bang Theory, but many earlier Christian scholars viewed this as a validation of the idea of Free Will).

    Let’s check out Lucretius’ explanation of Epircuean flavor theory. He writes [quote]:

    And it is so straightforward to explain the sense of taste
    On tongue and palate, that any extra effort is a waste.
    First of all, in our mouth we taste the flavors when we chew,
    Squeezing out the savor from our victuals as we do,
    Just as you might squeeze in your fist a sponge that’s sopping wet
    Until it’s almost dry. The flavors we press out then get
    Dispersed through pores all over the palate, distributing among
    The tortuous passageways of the more loosely textured tongue.
    Then, if the particles of flavor that ooze out are smooth,
    They sweetly brush against the tongue, and sweetly touch and soothe
    All watery and moist places about the tongue. The more they tend
    To be prickly, on the other hand, the more the bodies rend
    And sting the senses as they are released.

    If you know anything about flavor, this is a pretty accurate account of taste receptors, especially considering it was written during ancient times. And what I love most is how down-to-earth Lucretius is with his descriptions. Listen to how he accounts for the different traveling speeds of certain atoms using lightning and thunder as a case study:

    Why is it that we hear the thunder after the flash appears
    To our eyes? Because the particles that travel to our ears
    Always take longer reaching us than those that reach the eyes
    And trigger sight. Here’s an example you can recognize:
    If you see someone far off with a double-headed axe
    Felling a massive tree, you see the strokes before the thwacks
    Reach your ears.

    The reason I bring all this up is because the Roman empire paved the way for a lot of progress to be made in food and cooking. Their trade networks made it easy for people to access to spices, wines, and ingredients from far-off places. They tended not to completely strangle cultures in the places that they conquered, allowing for the circulation of many different ideas and documents. And of course, out of a society that worshipped gods and idols, we have the emergence of an atomistic worldview eerily similar to our own.
    Now, to this day, lots of chefs will explain that cooking – or creating a recipe for that matter – is simply applied chemistry and physics. So it comes as no surprise that in a culture rich in ingredients and wealth and with thinkers who understood that manipulating the building blocks of matter would produce different results emerged a set of recipes greater and more influential than any that had come before.
    Enter Apicius, or rather, the Apicii.
    This is a surname that refers to a number of noteworthy Roman gourmandes who lived sometime around the first century BCE and were renowned for their culinary taste. Thus, the name became an eponym for anybody who was the roman equivalent of a foodie – kind of like Don Juan is synonymous with being a womanizer. So when a collection of hundreds of recipes began circulating among the wealthy kitchen owners of Rome, Apicius became a pretty good name for the book.
    This is truly a snapshot of Roman culture worth looking into, especially because it’s available for free via Project Gutenberg, which I’ll link to in the show notes. In total, the collection contains ten chapters arranged by category that list recipes for everything from Rose Wine, to Ostrich, to stuffed dormouse.
    Here’s a recipe for Roman Vermouth:


    Here, we begin to see something that resembles today’s recipes, something we might have a snowball’s chance at re-creating if only we could figure out how much a “Theban Ounce” weighs. But unfortunately, the specificity of this recipe is one of very few exceptions in the book – rather than the rule. Check out this recipe for milk fed snails and you’ll see what I mean: