Morbid Delicacies.

Most Goths have a fondness for ancient cultures or history, and I am definitely among those that do. This recently got me thinking about whether it would be possible to replicate meals or desserts from ancient cultures. It turns out that after some research (and a lot of fun), there are tons of ancient recipes available, especially from ancient Rome, where the food was decadent and flavorful.

So, after said research, experimenting, and poking around, I thought I would include some pictures, recipes, and other tidbits so that anyone can host the Ancient Feast of their Gothic dreams. Definitely a great idea for a party theme! First of all, let’s take a look at Ancient Rome.

Romans in ancient times basically ate anything. If they could find it, catch it, or cook it, they ate it. Some of their recipes call for exotic birds like parrots or flamingos, even turtle doves boiled in their feathers.  They even ate dormice.

Slovenian Dormice frying with vegetables photo

Dormice frying with vegetables

However, since not many people would have access to (or be willing to eat) these exotic animals, I thought that this recipe was appropriate.

Baked Chicken*

  • 8 to 10 chicken wings
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. caraway seed
  • 2 tsp. paprika powder
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • olive oil (to baste, and oil baking pan)

1. Crush the seeds with a mortar and pestle.
2. Put the flour in a plastic bag with the crushed cumin, caraway, and paprika. Add a few bay leaves, and make sure everything in the bag is mixed well.
3. Baste the chicken with olive oil, then put the honey and the chicken inside the bag. Mix thoroughly.
4. Seal the bag and let the chicken marinate overnight in the refrigerator. This allows the chicken a chance to absorb all of the flavors.

Susanna Duffy's baked chicken photo

The Susanna Duffy version using chicken drumsticks

5. Lightly oil the baking pan of choice and place the chicken wings in the pan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until forking or knifing the chicken only makes clear grease or juice come out. (A good baking temperature is around 375 degrees Fahrenheit, I just recommend checking the chicken often.)

* : Susanna Duffy says that you can substitute chicken drumsticks for Roman recipes asking for dormice, and chicken wings if you prefer not to use quail.

Roman Cheesecake (Libum)

  • 1/2 cup  all purpose flour
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg already beaten
  • bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup clear honey

1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Beat the cheese until it is  soft, and  stir it into the flour.
2. Add the beaten egg to the cheese and flour mixture until it forms a soft dough.

photo of mixing dough in a bowl

Mixing the dough

3. Divide the dough into 4 to 6 equal chunks and mold each piece into a roll or bun shape.
4. Place on a greased baking tray with a fresh bay leaf underneath it (Decoration, remove bay leaf before eating).
5. Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until golden brown in color.
6. Warm the honey and pour into a plate or bowl, then place the cakes in the dish of honey.
7. Leave the cakes in the honey while they cool and they should absorb all of the honey in the dish. Serve.

On the whole,  the food of Ancient Rome is very rich and they use sauces, marinades, and gravy in their cooking and recipes a lot, basically like a staple of their everyday menu. There are actually a lot of books available on Amazon containing recipes from Ancient Rome, so it is definitely something readily available and easy to try.

The Romans were not the only ones with great recipes. I actually found some excellent Mayan recipes. The Mayans use a lot of beans, maize, corn, peppers and squash, as well as avocados, vanilla, cacao, and cactus fruits.  The good news is that the Mayans have descendant peoples living today and many of their recipes have been passed down and are still enjoyed in the present. Most people know that they put cayenne pepper in their hot chocolate, and if that sounds good,  some of their other recipes are even more delicious.

Fruit Compote (Recipe from Shanti Morell-Hart)

  • 1 and 1/2 cups honey
  • 3 and 1/2 cups water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, (can substitute 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract)
  • 1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 10 small ripe guava fruits
  • 1/2 pound fresh cherries (I use Rainier cherries because they are my favorite)
  •  grapes, halved, for garnish

1. In a three-quart saucepan, combine the honey and water.  Place the pan over medium heat and bring it to a simmer.

2. Stir until the honey is dissolved, making a thin syrup.  Place the vanilla bean in the syrup and reduce heat to low.

pineapple photo


3. Bring another large saucepan of water to a boil.  Plunge the guavas into boiling water for about 20 or 30 seconds, then remove and peel.

4. Add the guavas and cherries to the simmering syrup and poach for 15 minutes, stirring gently.  Add the pineapple and continue to poach for another 5 minutes.

5. Turn off the heat, and allow the fruit to cool while in the syrup. Remove the vanilla bean, rinse, dry and store.

6. Garnish with sliced grapes. Serve either chilled or at room temperature.

Pumpkin Soup (Recipe from Shanti Morell-Hart)

  • 1 small pumpkin (not larger than 14″ )
  • 2 tbsp. palm oil
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 4 cups turkey broth
  • Salt to taste
  •  thinly sliced onions, grilled, for garnish
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pumpkin in baking dish and roast until easily pierced with a knife. (Usually about 1 hour.)

pumpkin soup

Pumpkin soup inside a pumpkin shell

2. Allow pumpkin to cool, slice off the top and scoop out the seeds. Clean the seeds by removing all pumpkin pulps and strings.

3. Toss all seeds with oil and salt, then spread out onto a baking sheet. Return baking sheet to oven and bake seeds for 15 to 20 minutes until golden and crisp. Remove and set aside for garnish.

4. Scrape all pumpkin flesh from the shell and mash until desired consistency is achieved. Place in a large saucepan and season with salt, honey, and allspice.

5. Turn saucepan on medium heat and stir pumpkin mixture, adding turkey broth gradually until soup is desired thin or thickness. Simmer for around 5 minutes or until soup is hot.

6. Garnish with grilled onions and pumpkin seeds. If desired, the soup can be served in small pumpkin or squash shells.

During the time of the Ancient Mayans, the pumpkin would have been baked whole in hot ashes. However, this soup is highly recommended. Like the Romans, the Mayans relied heavily on honey for seasoning and sweetening things.

Hopefully this will inspire you history loving Goths to find recipes worth trying from your favorite ancient cultures. To have the chance to eat as those peoples did everyday is an experience worth having. It allows you to experience culture and history through food and specifically through taste, which is something I believe everyone should try.

Until next time, Bon appetit.


~ by Israfel on April 15, 2011.

2 Responses to “Morbid Delicacies.”

  1. Mmm, delicious dormice… haha!

  2. […] while the Romans were game to east nearly any living thing, including dormice in honey and brown bear, there is no evidence that Fido was on the […]

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