Zomos; a Pottage
the Heidelberg Papyrus

(part of an ongoing series in which I share recipes presented at The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail)
Put wheat groats, coriander, leeks, onion, dill, basil, and a little aniseed into a
mortar. Boil on the stove and moisten with water, wine, garum, and wine
vinegar all mixed together. When it has boiled and you are about to take it off
the heat, sprinkle on some ground pepper.
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1/2 oz coriander
1 oz leek, white part, trimmed and soaked.
3 oz onion, diced
1 tsp dried dill
1 oz basil, fresh, chiffonade, or 1 tsp dried
1/4 tsp aniseed, crushed
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
reserve 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
Crush items together,
Place in pot with tight fitting lid according to your preference.
Poach in water with red wine, wine vinegar.
When done cooking, add pepper.
This recipe has been adapted for gluten, the original calls for wheat groats.
The translator suggests presenting this as a sauce with butter beans (oop),
rather than as pottage.

I would like to discuss your thoughts on this dish, both as presented

in Grant’s book and my presentation of it, in comments.
Grant, Mark. Roman Cookery. London: Serif Cookery, 1999. 131. Print.

2 thoughts on “Zomos; a Pottage

  1. I don’t have Grant. Is there a text for the original? Especially, I’d like to know whether the original is presented as a sauce or not.

    I googled the term zomos, and Dalby (_Food in the Ancient World from A to Z,_ page 307) seems to think zomos is a soup. _The Vocabulary of Science_ says zomos is “broth.”

    I know the Romans did a lot of porridge-type foods, and this sounds like a tasty one. Before I googled, I would have interpreted this as a sort of wet porridge, runnier than a risotto but not soupy. But apparently a soupy product is what’s called for here.

    How did you serve it at the event?

    • According to Grant, this is more pleasing as a sauce for butter beans. That frustrated me, because I do not see how adding a culturally inappropriate ingredient to the dish as a main component enhances it, particularly in a book seemingly intended to entice people to an appreciation and understanding of historical food.

      I presented it more as a risotto, a wet but not soupy grain dish. It was presented at about the same density as oatmeal or grits.
      I did not think to look up the term, and thank you for that. I appreciate knowing Dalby is available, and will refer to it now that I know it is there.
      Now my mind is rolling around how to best present a dish that is not yet soup but no longer cohesive.
      I prefer not to serve soups, as I find them messy and challenging to serve cleanly for larger service.

      According to Wikipedia, the document is available
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deipnosophistae

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