Tasting Life Twice

Author Crystal King muses on life, history, writing and food.

Can You Imagine What Ancient Rome Was Like?

Can You Imagine What Ancient Rome Was Like?

If not, now you can! This video was set about 200 years after my novel's central character lived, but it still gives a great flavor of what Rome would have been like in ancient times. While the Colosseum wasn't there, nor the Circus Maximus, most of the other major buildings were there in the time that Apicius lived. He would have walked on the stones of the Roman Forum, visited the Temple of Jupiter, looked up through the oculus of The Pantheon. Such power there is in history!
http://vimeo.com/32038695

Crunchy Tasty Dormice

Crunchy Tasty Dormice

In my novel, one of the treats served up by Apicius to his guests (from De  Re Coquinaria, Chapter IX, 396) is stuffed dormice. They were generally eaten as snacks and were a favorite at the tabernas and popinas (taverns and bars) but were also popular with the upper class. Nowadays the lucky little dormouse isn't eaten (although apparently they are still in Slovenia!) but way back then they were often stuffed, fried and eaten whole, bones and all. Below is the recipe found in the cookbook which bears Apicius' name.

A new trend? Ancient Roman baby names? Really?

A new trend? Ancient Roman baby names? Really?

A recent article on the Huffington Post dares to make a bold prediction when it comes to trends in baby names--that monikers from Ancient Rome will soon be popular. She cites the Roman names in the Hunger Games as proof of the new trend. She may be right in that regard. God knows how many Bellas and Edwards are in the world now than before Twilight became popular.
The readers of my manuscript draft were often thrown when they found that one of my characters was named "Melissa." They thought it was too modern, but I just chuckled. While it's not Roman, but Greek, it's a name that is several thousand years old. Angela, Amelia, Bryce (which was a Greek girl's name), Laura and Patricia are also ancient names.

Fifty Shades of Green

Fifty Shades of Green

One of my fave blogs, Jezebel, recently reported on a CelebrityNetWorth article about the Fifty Shades of Grey author, E.L. James,  making one million dollars a week.  Yes, that's right -- A WEEK. For poorly written Twilight fan-fiction turned BDSM erotica.

Summer Lightning Storms

Summer Lightning Storms


The last few days here in Boston have been fraught with rain and sudden, thunderous storms that crack the sky apart with brilliant lightning strikes. My husband and I were caught in one of the outbreaks on Saturday, after a matinee of The Avengers. Thankfully we were in the car before the rain hit but when it did, BOOM! It was crazy driving down Comm Ave and seeing long scars of light rip out of the sky right in front of you, to hit rods on top of buildings, or perhaps the Charles River along one of its curves.

Food for the Gods - Roman Honey Cakes

Food for the Gods - Roman Honey Cakes

Awhile back I posted on one of my blogs about Roman honey cakes, which were primarily used as sacrificial cakes, but versions may have also been used as a snack in the tabernas and popinas.
Sally Grainger is one of the most well-known food historians, especially when it comes to the recipe book that bears Apicius' name. She is also the co-author of The Classical Cookbook, and in that book there is a recipe for Libum, a classic ancient sacrificial cake, first mentioned in Cato's On Agriculture.