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Weights and measures

Lovage (ligusticum. levisticum)

In our world of cooking we very often put Salt and Pepper together as a set of seasonings. Aspicius, a Roman chef, mentions Pepper and Lovage together just as we consider pepper and salt. Apparently the flavor of lovage has the ability to inhabit every dish in which it is used as a typical Mediterranean dish.

Lovage was grown all over Europe, even areas where the climate was in fact pretty harsh. In the later days and the present, parsley and celery leaves have been used as substitutes. It is true that both of these are related to the family of herbs to which lovage belongs and they have a milder flavor than lovage, which may have something to do with it's diminished use. Much of Roman cooking has very bold flavors due to the spices used. Some historians believe that the reason for this was that they were eating off pewter plates which contained lead. A symptom of lead poisoning is a diminishing ability to taste mild foods.

In mentioning the herb Aspicius does not bother to tell the reader what part of the lovage plant is used, root, leaves , or seeds. In fact all three can be used , however, since the herb was so often coupled with pepper is probable that the seed was used most often.


Patrick Faas, "Around the Roman Table," Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2005 (ISBN 0-226-23347-2 (paper)

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