After this a cheesecake was served up, made of milk and sesame and honey, which the Romans call libum. And Cynulcus said,—Fill yourself now, O Ulpian, with your native Chthorodlapsus; a word which is not, I swear by Ceres, used by any one of the ancient writers, unless, indeed, it should chance to be found in those who have compiled histories of the affairs of Phœnicia, such as Sanchoniatho and Mochus, your own fellow-countrymen. And Ulpian said,— But it seems to me, you dog-fly, that we have had quite enough of honey-cakes: but I should like to eat some groats, with a sufficient admixture of the husks and kernels of pinecones. And when that dish was brought-Give me, said he, come crust of bread hollowed out like a spoon; for I will not say, give me a spoon (μύστρον); since that word is not used by any of the writers previous to our own time. You have a very bad memory, my friend, quoth Aemilianus; have you not always admired Nicander the Colophonian, the Epic poet, as a man very fond of ancient authors, and a man too of very extensive learning himself? And indeed, you have already quoted him as having used the word πεπέριον, for pepper. And this same poet, in the first book of his Georgics, speaking of this use of groats, has used also the word μύστρον, saying—
But when you seek to dress a dainty dishIn these words, my fine fellow, Nicander describes to us the way in which they ate groats and peeled barley; bidding the eater pour on it soup made of kid or lamb, or of some poultry or other. Then, says he, pound the grains in a mortar, and having mingled oil with them, stir them up till they boil; and mix in the broth made after this recipe as it gets warm, making it thicker with the spoon; and do not pour in anything else; but take the broth out of the dish before you, so as to guard against any of the more fatty parts boiling over. And it is for this reason, too, that he charges us to keep it close while it is boiling, by putting the lid on the dish; for that barley grains when roasted or heated swell very much. And at last, when it is moderately warm we are to eat it, taking it up in hollow spoons. And Hippolochus the Macedonian, in his letter to Lynceus, in which he gives an account of some Macedonian banquet which surpassed all the feasts which had ever been heard of in extravagance, speaks of golden spoons (which he also calls μύστρα) having been given to each of the guests. But since you, my friend, wish to set up for a great admirer of the ancients, and say that you never use any expressions which are not the purest Attic, what is it that Nicophon says, the poet I mean of the old comedy, in his Cherogastores, or the Men who feed themselves by manual Labour? For I find him too speaking of spoons, and using the word μύστρον, when he says—
Of new-slain kid, or tender house-fed lamb,
Or poultry, take some unripe grains, and pound the
And strew them all in hollow plates, and stir them,
[p. 208] Mingled with fragrant oil. Then pour thereon
Warm broth, which take from out the dish before you,
That it be not too hot, and so boil over.
Then put thereon a lid, for when they're roasted,
The grains swell mightily; then slowly eat them,
Putting them to your mouth with hollow spoon.
Dealers in anchovies, dealers in wine;For who can the μυστριοπῶλαι be, but the men who sell μύστρα? So learning from them, my fine Syrian-Atticist, the use of the spoon, pray eat your groats, that you may not say—
Dealers in figs, and dealers in hides;
Dealers in meal, and dealers in spoons (μυστριοπώλης);
Dealers in books, and dealers in sieves;
Dealers in cheesecakes, and dealers in seeds.
But I am languid, weak for want of food.