Leek was very popular with the Ancient Romans. However, it might have looked different from the one we know it today because you can find old recipes which use an entire bundle of leek.
Dates were imported, dried ones from Egypt, North Africa and Ancient Near East. Only in Sicily, palm trees were able to bring ripe fruits. Dates were sold as a delicacy during plays in theaters. Together with plums, figs and raisins, they were used as sweetener and wine or syrup was produced from them. During Saturnalia, an ancient Roman festival, dates wrapped in a golden tin foil were given as presents to poor people.
POSTCARD Nr 2:
The Capitoline Wolf – I choose this picture from Rome although I am sure that everybody knows this story already: Rhea Silvia, daughter of King Numitor, was one of the female servants of the goddess Vesta. They watched over the divine fire to prevent it from extinguishing which would bring a disaster to mankind. The task was very demanding, the virgins were not allowed to have children. However, Rhea gave birth to twins. Their father was the war god Mars. Some say Rhea put the babies in a wicker basket on the river, the others say the mother was thrown with her children from the bank into the Tiber but they were saved by the god of the river. Anyway, a she-wolf found the boys and suckled them until they were found by Faustulus, a shepherd, who named the boys Romulus and Remus. When they grew up, they decided to build a new city, but as it happens, they quarreled a lot, and after Remus was killed, Romulus founded the city of Rome on the Palatine Hill on April 21st, 753 BC. The citizens of Rome celebrate this day even today with fireworks.
The wolf became a symbol of Rome, the most famous she-wolf can be found in the Capitolini Museums. It is called La Lupa Capitolina.
It was believed that the bronze statue was made in the 5th century BC and the figures of the twins were added in the 15th century. However, recent studies suggest that also the statue of the she-wolf was made much later, in the 13th century. There are some other wolf statues in Rome but you can find very similar statues also in Hamilton in New Zealand, Buenos Aires, Toronto, Paris, Tokyo, Bucharest, Washington and many other cities all around the world.
RECIPE Nr. 3:
SOUP WITH LEEK AND DATES
500 g leek
250 g potatoes
100 g dried dates without stones
50 g butter
750 ml vegetable stock
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp chopped thyme
125 ml yoghurt
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice
nutmeg, black pepper, salt
Slice washed leek, dice onion and grate or slice potatoes. Cut dates in small pieces and stew on butter for a short time. Add onion and leek and stew for 5 minutes under mixing. Pour the stock, add potatoes and pressed garlic. Season with nutmeg, pepper and salt and cook covered for 25 minutes. Mix parsley, lemon juice and the yolk with yoghurt and add the mixture to the soup. The soup shouldn’t be very hot to avoid the yoghurt and yolk to curdle. Add salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Text: © Copyright Ingrid, Travelpotpourri
Fotos: © Copyright Ingrid, Travelpotpourri