Winter produces this, that summer bears;
says the bard of Syracuse.1
So that it is not easy to put all
sorts of things on the table at one time; but it is easy to
talk of all kinds of subjects at any time. Other men have
written descriptions of feasts; and Tinachidas of Rhodes has
done so in an epic poem of eleven books or more; and Numenius the Heraclean, the pupil of Dieuchas the physician; and
Metreas of Pitane, the man who wrote parodies; and Hegemon
of Thasos, surnamed Phacè, whom some men reckon among
the writers of the Old Comedy. And Artemidorus, the false
Aristophanes, collected a number of sayings relating to
cookery. And Plato, the comic writer, mentions in his Phaon
the banquet of Philoxenus the Leucadian.
A. But I have sought this tranquil solitude,
To ponder deeply on this wondrous book.
B. I pray you, what's the nature of its treasures
A. “Sauce for the million,” by Philoxenus.
B. Oh, let me taste this wisdom. A. Listen then;
I start with onions, and with tunnies end."
B. With tunnies? Surely, then, he keeps the best
And choicest of his dishes for the last.
A. Listen. In ashes first your onions roast
Till they are brown as toast,
Then with sauce and gravy cover;
Eat them, you'll be strong all over.
So much for earth; now list to me,
While I speak of the sons of the sea.
And presently he says:—
A good large flat dish is not bad,
But a pan is better when 'tis to be had.
And presently again:—
Never cut up a sardine
Or mackarel of silv'ry sheen,
Lest the gods should scorn a sinner—
Such as you, and spoil your dinner;
But dress them whole and serve them up,
And so you shall most richly sup.
Good sized polypus in season
Should be boil'd,—to roast them's treason;
But if early and not big,
Roast them; boil'd ain't worth a fig.
Mullets, though the taste is good,
Are by far too weakening food;
And the ills it brings to master
You will need a scorpion plaster.