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There are some, whose genius invents nothing but new kinds of pastry. To waste one's care upon one thing, is by no means sufficient; just as if any person should use all his endeavors for this only, that the wine be not bad; quite careless what oil he pours upon his fish. If you set out Massic1 wine in fair weather, should there be any thing thick in it, it will be attenuated by the nocturnal air, and the smell unfriendly to the nerves will go off: but, if filtrated through linen, it will lose its entire flavor. He, who skillfully mixes the Surrentine. wine with Falernian lees, collects the sediment with a pigeon's egg: because the yelk sinks to the bottom, rolling down with it all the heterogeneous parts. You may rouse the jaded toper with roasted shrimps and African cockles; for lettuce after wine floats upon the soured stomach: by ham preferably, and by sausages, it craves to be restored to its appetite: nay, it will prefer every thing which is brought smoking hot from the nasty eating-houses. It is worth while to be acquainted with the two kinds of sauce. The simple consists of sweet oil; which it will be proper to mix with rich wine and pickle, but with no other pickle than that by which the Byzantine jar has been tainted. When this, mingled with shredded herbs, has boiled, and sprinkled with Corycian saffron, has stood, you shall over and above add what the pressed berry of the Venafran olive yields. The Tiburtian yield to the Picenian apples in juice, though they excel in look. The Venusian grape is proper for [preserving in] pots. The Albanian you had better harden in the smoke. I am found to be the first that served up this grape with apples in neat little side-plates, to be the first [likewise that served up] wine-lees and herring-brine, and white pepper finely mixed with black salt. It is an enormous fault to bestow three thousand sesterces on the fish-market, and then to cramp the roving fishes in a narrow dish. It causes a great nausea in the stomach, if even the slave touches the cup with greasy hands, while he licks up snacks, or if offensive grime has adhered to the ancient goblet. In trays, in mats, in sawdust, [that are so] cheap, what great expense can there be? But, if they are neglected, it is a heinous shame. What, should you sweep Mosaic pavements with a dirty broom made of palm, and throw Tyrian carpets over the unwashed furniture of your couch! forgetting, that by how much less care and expense these things are attended, so much the more justly may [the want of them] be censured, than of those things which can not be obtained but at the tables of the rich? Learned Catius, entreated by our friendship and the gods, remember to introduce me to an audience [with this great man], whenever you shall go to him. For, though by your memory you relate every thing to me, yet as a relater you can not delight me in so high a degree. Add to this the countenance and deportment of the man; whom you, happy in having seen, do not much regard, because it has been your lot: but I have no small solicitude, that I may approach the distant fountain-heads, and imbibe the precepts of [such] a blessed life.
1 Pliny advises, that all the best Campanian wines should be exposed night and day to the sun, moon, rain, and winds.
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