Joined Jul 31, 2000
I am reading a little about Petronius, it seems he was the author of a latin novel called Satyricon

Is this Novel something that can be found? I'm particulary interested in reading about "Dinner of Trimalchio"
Joined May 30, 2002

fellini made a movie based on the book also named "satyricon". any good (meaning other than blockbuster) video club should carry a copy. Aside from that, a cursory search on the web via a search engine and the word "satyricon" yields many responses such as this from Southwestern University :)

Joined Apr 23, 2002
As far as I remember - having both seen Fellini´s movie and Petronius´ book long ago - the film doesn´t have that much in common with the book.

Dinner of Trimalchio (Cena Trimalichionis) is part of Satyricon, worth reading if you`re interested in Roman history. You must be aware however that what has come upon us of the book is somewhat "spoilt", as there is no complete copy of the entire book left and there seem to be some faked passages added within 17th (or even 18th?) century.

I am sure you can find a good translation searching, others than that you may wish to browse
which is a very good source.

Joined Feb 11, 2002
CC- Here is Trimalchio's Feast -
it's taken from my copy of "The Roman Cookery of Apicius" translated and adapted for the modern kitchen by John Edwards.

Trimalchio was the glutton in Petronius' Satyricon and his 'cena' (dinner) started at about 4 o' clock and continued into the evening.
The cena had three parts:
the 'gustatio' (hors d'oeuvres). the 'fercula'. which means literally, "dishes which are carried" (from the kitchen) and the 'mensae secundae' (the dessert course). The fercula were at least three in number and could increase to five, seven, or more, according to the purse of the master. Included in the fercula were shellfish and fish dishes, poultry, feathered game, joints of meat, and stuffed animals cooked whole. The variety and size of Roman dinners were infinite - then, as now, people ate and drank in a manner consistent with their desires, prosperity, and luck.

Trimalchio's Feast

Gustatio (Hors d'oeuvres)

White and black olives
Damsons (plums) and pomegranate seeds
Dormice sprinkled with honey and poppy seeds
Beccaficos in spiced egg yolk
Grilled sausages
Honeyed wine

Fercula (Prepared dishes)

Foods of the Zodiac served on a round plate (on the sign of the Ram, chickpeas; on the Bull, beef; on the Twins, kidneys; on the Virgin, a sterile sow's womb; on the balance, scales supporting tarts and honey cakes; on the Scorpion, a scorpion fish; on the Archer, an eyefish; on the Goats's horns, a lobster; on the Waterbearer, a goose; on the Fishes, two red mullets) served with bread and surrounding:
Roasted fattened fowls, sow bellies and hare
Roast whole wild boar with dates, suckled by piglets made of cakes and stuffed with live thrushes
Boiled whole pig stuffed with sausage and black puddings

The fercula served with Falerian wine 100 years old

Mensae secundae (Dessert)

Fruits and cakes
Boned fattened chickens and goose eggs
Pastries stuffed with raisins and nuts
Quince-apples and pork disguised as fowls and fish
Oysters and scallops

Trimalchio Serves Dessert To His Sated Guests
"Our trials would have had no limit if the dessert courses had not been carried into the dining room: pasrty thrushes stuffed with raisins and almonds followed by quince-apples transfixed with thorns to resemble sea urchins. Even this we could have endured had not the strangest dish of all been served - so strange that we would have preferred to die of starvation rather than submit our stomachs to more rich food. For we thought the dish placed in front of us was a fattened goose surrounded by fish and every kind of bird.
"Friends", said Trimalchio, "whatever you see here was made from the flesh of a single animal...may my patrimony swell and not my waist if my cook didn't make everything out of a pig. The man couldn't be more valuable. If you like he can make a fish out of a sow's belly, a wood pigeon out of bacon, a turtledove out of ham, or a chicken from the pig's knuckle. And because he's got such an apt mind I bought him a present in Rome: carving knives made of the Norican (Austrian) steel". Trimalchio ordered the knives brought instantly to the dining room and then sat marvelling at them. He even gave us leave to test the edges on our cheeks."
Petronius, 69-70
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Thank you all very much :)

Monkeymay, I appreciate you taking the time to write out the feast from your book.
Joined Feb 11, 2002
My pleasure, Cape Chef. The feast of Trimalchio's has always been of interest to me (I always loved the idea of the foods of the Zodiac) -
I am glad to share it with you.
Oh to cook and participate in such a feast!
Joined Jul 31, 2000
The standard text of classical gastronomic literature is Trimalchio's feast from the The Satyricon of Petronius, a fictonal extravaganza built on an unmistakable and amusing basis of fact, during which guest were offered a hare tricked out with it's wings to look like pegasus, a wild sow with it's belly filled with live thrushes, quinces stuck with thorns to look like sea urchins, a hog stuffed with sausage links, roast pork carved into a model fish, and several other frivolities of the kind. It was satire, but only just, and it's idiosyncratic granduer proves on analysis to have been largely a matter of kitchen cosmetics, ruinously expensive only in the number of slaves employed to produce it

From Food in History
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