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Edesia is the Roman Goddess of Food Who presides over banquets. With Bibesia, the Goddess of Drink, She ensured that the feast went well and the food was excellent. Her name comes from the Latin verb edes, "to eat" or "to consume", and both She and Bibesia were given offerings during the meal to ensure their presence and blessings. She is the numen, or divine spirit, of feasting, which was apparently considered a magical and important act by the Romans deserving of its own Goddess. The verb edes can also mean "to spend money on food", connecting Edesia with luxury as well as with city life, in which most food was bought, rather than like in the country where the people grew much of their own food.

Roman banquets could be quite elaborate affairs, with many courses offered. Roman cooking was quite advanced and fairly specialized, and they ate a rather wider variety of foods than we do in modern times (notwithstanding being limited to "Old World" foodstuffs, which rules out things like tomatoes, peppers, and corn—I know, imagine an Italy without marinara sauce or polenta!), some of which we probably wouldn't touch today outside an episode of Fear Factor, like brains with bacon, or fattened dormice (so, how many of those make a pound?). That said, though, there are some wonderful recipes from ancient Roman times, especially those taken down by Apicius, who lived about 80 BCE to 40 CE, under the Emperors Augustus and Tiberius. Balance of flavors and beauty of presentation were highly regarded in that time, and elaborate sets of chased silver servingware have been found.

[One example from Apicius that I've actually made, and which I found wonderful, was a dish of pork stuffed with mussels, served with mustard sauce and celery. I'm going to have to dig out that recipe—the heat of the mustard was nicely balanced by the coolness of the celery (much like Buffalo wings are served with celery and blue cheese dressing nowadays). Another dish I've tried and loved was a pear patina or custard, where the pears are cooked in white wine, sweetened with honey, and flavored with cumin. CUMIN?!? you shriek? Honest-to-Goddess, it works. Unbelievably well. —Hmmm, I suspect that, like going grocery shopping, one should never write about food while hungry. Anyway, back to Edesia—]

Given the attention given to food preparation and feasting in Roman times, Edesia perhaps can be thought of as the patron Goddess of gourmet food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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