Unformatted text preview: Reading 17-1 3 to silphion laud its pleasant and enhancing qualities in taste and scent. It appears likely that the Syrian, Parthian, and Median silphion and other so-called silphia of Pliny were all variants of asafoetida, bearing their own regional traits. Apparently the scarcity of Cyrenaic silphion elicited a change in taste through the acceptance of inferior substitutes. Almost any gum-producing plant even remotely resembling silphion became a candidate for f lling the function previously reserved for the Cyrenaic species. The extensive use of silphion in early sauces of the Greek and Roman cookery made it as important as celery and parsley are in the sauces of international cuisine, as frequent and familiar an ingredient as cognac and crème fraîche are in the cuisine of France. Hence, the recurring interest in silphion’s history and fate. In the 5th century BC Aristophanes (445–385 BC), the comic playwright satirizing the works and days of his fellow Athenians cannot refrain from portraying them eagerly preoccupied in the art of sauce-making:...
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- Summer '10
- History, Centuries, century BC, Silphion, Cyrenaic silphion, century BC Aristophanes, lst century BC