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And so when we had all praised the cook for the [p. 601] readiness of his discourse, and for the exceeding perfection of his skill, our excellent entertainer Laurentius said—And how much better it is for cooks to learn such things as these, than as they do with one whom I could mention of our fellow-citizens, who having had his head turned by riches and luxury, compelled his cooks to learn the dialogues of the incomparable Plato, and when they were bringing in dishes to say, “One, two, three, but where is the fourth, O most excellent Timæus, of those who were guests yesterday, but who are hosts to-day?”Then another made answer, “An illness has overtaken him, O Socrates,” —and so they went through the whole dialogue in this manner, so that those who were at the feast were very indignant, arid so that that all-accomplished man was laughed at and insulted every day, and that on this account many most respectable men refused all invitations to his entertainments. But these cooks of ours, who are perhaps just as well instructed in these things as he was, give us no little pleasure. And then the slave who had been praised for his cleverness as a cook, said,—Now what have my predecessors ever devised or told us of a similar kind to this and is not my behaviour moderate enough, since I do not boast myself? And yet Corebus the Elean, who was the first man who ever was crowned as victor in the Olympic games, was a cook; and yet he was not as proud of his skill and of his art as the cook in Straton in the Phœnicides, concerning whom the man who had hired him speaks thus—
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