And in the first book of the History of Attica, Clidemus says, that there was a tribe of cooks, who were entitled to public honours; and that it was their business to see that the sacrifices were performed with due regularity. And it is no violation of probability in Athenion, in his Samothracians, as Juba says, when he introduces a cook arguing philosophically about the nature of things and men, and saying—
A. Dost thou not know that the cook's art contributes
More than all others to true piety?
B. Is it indeed so useful A. Troth it is,
You ignorant barbarian: it releases
Men from a brutal and perfidious life,
And cannibal devouring of each other,
And leads us to some order; teaching us
The regular decorum of the life
Which now we practise. B. How is that? A. Just listen.
Once men indulged in wicked cannibal habits,
And numerous other vices; when a man
Of better genius arose, who first
Sacrificed victims, and did roast their flesh;
And, as the meat surpass'd the flesh of man,
They then ate men no longer, but did slay
The herds and flocks, and roasted them and ate them.
And when they once had got experience
Of this most dainty pleasure. they increased
In their devotion to the cook's employment;
[p. 1057] So that e'en now, remembering former days,
They roast the entrails of their victims all
Unto the gods, and put no salt thereon,
For at the first beginning they knew not
The use of salt as seasoning; but now
They have found out its virtue, so they use it
At their own meals, but in their holy offerings
They keep their ancient customs; such as were
At first the origin of safety to us:
That love of art, and various seasoning,
Which carries to perfection the cook's skill.
B. Why here we have a new Palæphatus.
A. And after this, as time advanced, a paunch,
A well-stuff'd paunch was introduced . . . .
. . . . . . . .
Then they wrapped up a fish, and quite concealed it
In herbs, and costly sauce, and groats, and honey;
And as, persuaded by these dainty joys
Which now I mention, every one gave up
His practice vile of feeding on dead men,
Men now began to live in company,
Gathering in crowds; cities were built and settled;
All owing, as I said before, to cooks.
B. Hail, friend! you are well suited to my master.
A. We cooks are now beginning our grand rites;
We're sacrificing, and libations offering,
Because the gods are most attentive to us,
Pleased that we have found out so many things,
Tending to make men live in peace and happiness.
B. Well, say no more about your piety—
A. I beg your pardon—B. But come, eat with me,
And dress with skill whate'er is in the house.