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Dinner Time
#1
With regards to a period correct camp, what is the food of choice, or favorite dish that you prepare in camp??

I have been having a hard time trying to get my "food thoughts" out of my 18th century re-enacting. I know if it walked, it would pretty much end up in a pot, and then the "staple" issued rations. But what about when the general public wallks up and asks?

I have been slowly getting my Roman library built up, and have a few cook books, but I am not thinking those dishes would have been served unless you were in the actual city. Thoughts??

I hope this is the right area to post, as I am looking for ideas and info about re-creating the basic "camp life" or Castra.

Respectfully,

Wes
Titvs Calidivs Agricola
Wes Olson

Twas a woman that drove me to drink, and I never thanked her. W.C. Fields
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#2
We've roasted ducks, rabbits, and salmon, also gamehen, pork, sheep, trout, deer... all to represent fresh caught meat.

At one event we walked up from a nearby lake with a string of trout (fresh caught at the local fish market).

Fresh baked bread.
Hibernicus

LEGIO IX HISPANA, USA

You cannot dig ditches in a toga!

[url:194jujcw]http://www.legio-ix-hispana.org[/url]
A nationwide club with chapters across N America
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#3
I am thinkig of dried grainsand others food stuffs too. I havea bunch of dried Barley, groats, hominy grits, parched corn etc. I am wondering what would be acceptable?

If any body wants some rally great dried/parched stuff, PM and I'll share! Great schtuff!!!!!!!
Titvs Calidivs Agricola
Wes Olson

Twas a woman that drove me to drink, and I never thanked her. W.C. Fields
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#4
This is the recipe that I'm trying:

500mL of Spelt floor
1and1/2 tsp of dry yeast dissolved in 125ml of warm water
60ml of olive oil
1/2 tsp of salt
2 table spoons of honey (this part I'm still experimenting with)

Roll the dough into a round loaf, let sit for about an hour and then bake at 400 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes.
Titus Licinius Neuraleanus
aka Lee Holeva
Conscribe te militem in legionibus, vide mundum, inveni terras externas, cognosce miros peregrinos, eviscera eos.
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.legiotricesima.org">http://www.legiotricesima.org
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#5
Wheat or spelt would probably have been first choice for grains. Barley would make the men grumble about eating "horse food" (some say men who were in trouble with the Centurio might have their rations changed to barley for a while, too). Whatever wild vegetables were around would probably be eaten, and meats when they could be had. Everything with olive oil.

Wheat, made into hard tack (nothing much new about that) or boiled into pulse (gruel) would be common.
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
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#6
Quote: parched corn

No corn, Wes :wink: It hadn't been imported in Europe yet from the Americas.

Vale,
Jef Pinceel
a.k.a.
Marcvs Mvmmivs Falco

LEG XI CPF vzw
>Q SER FEST
http://www.LEGIOXI.be
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#7
That would depend on what you depict, I guess. A Roman army on the march, under tight discipline or moving in the vicinty of an enemy army, would live on its rations. That means predominatly whatever wheat variety is available, transported unground. IN transit through friendly or conquered territory, or in enemy country away from the main force, the food spources would be more varied and richer. A smaller troop detail likely eats what the locals eat (or would have eaten hadn't the soldiers come by). I don't think Roman armies would have done much hunting or fishing - there are very few areas that could have supported the needs of large bodies of troops for even a day or two, so most would come back empty-handed. Small details, on the other hand, probably did, at least when not on the move. Local purchase or plunder was always a possibility, but would, of course, depend on where you are.

As to the rations carried, I am notorious for not buying the story of highly disciplined, standardised, spartan legionaries. Of course the majority of rations carried would be grain because that was what people ate. If I had the choice, I'd always pick hardtack, but it's likely that wasn't always available. Beyond that, I feel pretty sure that most Roman soldiers were perfectly happy to carry (or sneak into available transport) whatever they could lay their hands on to improve their food. Therefore I would take as possibly available, at least in small-ish quantities, oil, vinegar, cheese, bacon, sausage, salt or dried fish, dried fruit, dried vegetables, peas, lentils, fava beans, salt, herbs, spices, and, of course, garum.

In a marching camp, economy of effort would dictate the troops ate mush. After marching through the day and building camp, will you grind your coren to flour and bake bread? Or will you gnaw unbreakable hardtack? Not if you can get either boiled wheat or bread porridge. Soldiers carried cooking utensils (most likely metal IMO) to do that, and an eight-man pot once bubbling away needs hardly any attention, so you've freed up a man for other duties or rest. The meal has the added virtue of working with almost anything you can find - just chuck it in. Incidentally, I have no evidence that the Romans parboiled wheat or pulses, but the technique is pretty obvious and I'd be a bit surprised if they hadn't, so making mush would be even quicker (raw dried wheatberries take rather long to cook). In the absence of parboiling, dried bread makes the best mush base.

In a longer-lasting camp, you'd see the stereotypical soldier bread 'baked in the ashes'. This can be just coarsely ground meal and water, but the Romans understood well how to enrich breads with cheese, oil, egg or other ingredients. And once you have a fire and a modicum of time, people tend to get creative. I'm by no means an accomplished open-fire cook, but I've done fritters, pan-baked flatbread, eggs cooked in the ashes, fish roasted on hot stones, milk curds and meat-veggie-soup in one fire with a pot and a pan. It's not hard even with fairly basic ingredients. If you have a mortar on hand, you can make moretum or use the fresh cheese to make libum. Or, if you want to be extravagant, grab some honey, fresh cheese and flour and boil the mixture in water, sealed in a pottery vessel. The vessel needs to be smashed after (so try to avoid any expensive replicas) and you have a sweet poudding. The recipe is from Cato - I have no other evidence for the technique but it should also work for savory bread puddings.
Der Kessel ist voll Bärks!

Volker Bach
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#8
I know I have read references to corn, it did not jibe at the time with me that I was reading Roman and not Colonial. Now I'm going to have to dig that back up.
Titvs Calidivs Agricola
Wes Olson

Twas a woman that drove me to drink, and I never thanked her. W.C. Fields
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#9
Caesar uses the term CORN to mean Wheat. The word existed, modern corn did not. Think of it as Wheat Corns.
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#10
Yes, the term corn can mean different things.
Jef Pinceel
a.k.a.
Marcvs Mvmmivs Falco

LEG XI CPF vzw
>Q SER FEST
http://www.LEGIOXI.be
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#11
Well that clears it up. Thanks!
Titvs Calidivs Agricola
Wes Olson

Twas a woman that drove me to drink, and I never thanked her. W.C. Fields
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#12
Corn is teh generic term for grain

The more correct term for what Americans call corn is maize.

Maize on the cob!

???
Hibernicus

LEGIO IX HISPANA, USA

You cannot dig ditches in a toga!

[url:194jujcw]http://www.legio-ix-hispana.org[/url]
A nationwide club with chapters across N America
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#13
Hi Wes,

During an event I strive to be as authentic as possible, with my tent, my bedding and of course my food.

During the day I set up a wicker basket in my tent with food I can nibble at, it usuallu contains: fresh baked bread (spelt flour), oatmeal crackers, German pepper sausage (the Romans loved pepper, the army marched on pork), apple-wood smoked cheese, apples. I can't justify anything else.

In the evening I always cook an authentic soldier's meal, for more detail I recommend my book (sorry!) The Last Legionary, but essentially I limit it to spicy lentils, beef patties, chickem frontiniarum, barbequed livers and onions, or to prawn fritters.... simple camp food.
~ Paul Elliott

The Last Legionary
This book details the lives of Late Roman legionaries garrisoned in Britain in 400AD. It covers everything from battle to rations, camp duties to clothing.
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#14
Quote:During an event I strive to be as authentic as possible, with my tent, my bedding and of course my food.

During the day I set up a wicker basket in my tent with food I can nibble at, it usuallu contains: fresh baked bread (spelt flour), oatmeal crackers, German pepper sausage (the Romans loved pepper, the army marched on pork), apple-wood smoked cheese, apples. I can't justify anything else.

In the evening I always cook an authentic soldier's meal, for more detail I recommend my book (sorry!) The Last Legionary, but essentially I limit it to spicy lentils, beef patties, chickem frontiniarum, barbequed livers and onions, or to prawn fritters.... simple camp food.

I don't mean to sound nitpicky (and I do that kind of thing, too), but this sounds like an awfully luxurious lifestyle. Nothing I couldn't see for a soldier in quarters, but on the march or in the field it would take an awful lot of labour and logistics to organise.
Der Kessel ist voll Bärks!

Volker Bach
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#15
Quote:apple-wood smoked cheese, apples.

Salve Mithras,

Can you tell me how you smoke the cheese?

Vale,
Jef Pinceel
a.k.a.
Marcvs Mvmmivs Falco

LEG XI CPF vzw
>Q SER FEST
http://www.LEGIOXI.be
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