Spices in Use

       “The Careful Housekeeper” is the first book of Apicus’ ten cookbooks. This indicated how to keep the house in order in addition to many instructions on how to keep food fresh (Woodman). Chapter I is titled, “Fine Spiced Wine. Honey Refreshers For Travelers”, Chapter VII is called, “To Keep Meats Fresh Without Salt. To Keep Cooked Sides of Pork.”, and Chapter XIII is titled, “Spiced Salts for Many Ills.”, all of which use spices to improve and preserve food or for medicinal purposes (Vehling 67).

       The recipe for fine spiced wine calls for crushed pepper, ordinarily modern black or white pepper grains. However in contexts of honey, sweets, etc. the term “pepper” may refer to a more generalized indication of spices. The wayfarer’s honey refresher also calls for ground pepper, in addition to adding mix spice wine to make the spiced honey (Vehling 68-69).

       The recipe for keeping meats fresh calls for the cook sides of pork or beef to be placed in a pickle of mustard, vinegar, salt, and honey. In fact, this method is still used in modern times, however instead of honey we use more spices, whole pepper, cloves, and bay leaves (Vehling 72).

       The recipe for salts for many ills states that spiced salts are used for indigestion, to move the bowels, against most illnesses, pestilence, as well as prevention of colds. To make these salts, one needs spices such as common salt ground, ammoniac salt ground, white pepper, ginger, thyme seed, celery seed, parsley, saffron, and black pepper (Vehling 78). From the following recipes one can see the prevalence of pepper within his recipes as well as the variety of uses for different spices.