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merely looks to this one point, how he ought to cook the food properly, and does not foresee and consider in what manner it should be served, or when and how arranged, he is no longer a cook (μáyeɩpos), but a mere caterer (ooпoιós), which is by no means the same thing, but very far different. Thus everybody who commands a force is indeed commonly called a general, yet he who is able in a crisis to collect himself, and see his way through it, is the real general; the other is a mere general officer. So likewise in our profession, any chance fellow could prepare or cut up good material, or boil it and blow the bellows, but this is a mere caterer, a cook is quite another thing. He must consider the place, the hour, the host, and again the guest (or the guest who has dined there before?) when and what fish he should buy. For you can procure all kinds at any time, but you will not find them equally grateful or agreeable. Archestratus, indeed, has written on the subject, and has the reputation among many of having said things of some use, but in most points he is ignorant, and has not made one sound remark. Don't listen to or learn all you hear; what is written for the vulgar public, is as vain as if it had never been written. For you cannot lay down fixed rules about cookery, since it cannot be tied down within limits, but is complete master over itself, so that, however well you may apply the art, if you miss the right moment of chance (that is, if chance be against you) all your skill is worth nothing.' B. 'Sir, you are a great man!' A. 'This fellow who, you say, has just arrived with much experience in rich
dinners, I shall make him forget them every one, if I merely show him a haggis, and put a dinner before him with the odour of our Attic air' (Mein. iii. 547).
This is the tone of numerous comic fragments. Like the doctors, it was grossly unfashionable for cooks to speak Attic Greek; if they did not use Homeric phrases, they were bound to speak Doric Greek', for there is no doubt that in Sicily the art of cooking had attained its highest development, equalled, if anywhere in Greece, at Elis only, where I suppose the Olympic festival stimulated the natives to extraordinary efforts during the great quadrennial meeting.
It was the fashion at Athens to hire both cooks and appointments for a dinner-party, and to commission the cook to undertake the marketing; the lights, tables, and other ware seem to have been supplied by a separate class of tradesmen 2. It appears, too, strangely enough to our own notions, that the employer went into the pottery-market (ròv Képaμov), crying out, 'Who wants to take a contract for a dinner?' so that market cries, which certainly existed, as appears from Aristophanes (Meineke, iii. 68) were not confined to the sellers. A remarkable fragment in the Painter of Diphilus, gives the advice of an experienced caterer on this matter. I quote it here, though occurring in a later generation than Plato's, as there seems to have been no change at Athens in this respect, and it
1 We have our own parallel in the French menus set forth on fashionable dinner tables. I suppose we shall never get into the habit of good English for these purposes, in place of the mongrel, and generally misspelt, jargon dignified in these documents with the title of French.
2 Called TраπεŠоTоιοí, Meineke, iii. 83, 501.
is more convenient to discuss all our evidence on these customs at once and in connection. He is addressing his colleague, the трапεČопоιós, who was to supply the appointments. Never fear, Draco, you shall never find me with you in the way of business, that you will not be occupied with your contract all day, and live in the highest luxury. For I never go to a house till I scrutinise who the man is, that is giving the sacrificial feast, or the occasion of the dinner, or whom he has invited; and I have a table in which are classified under general heads the parties with whom I engage myself, as well as those of whom I keep clear. Let us look, for example, under the mercantile head. Suppose a skipper is fulfilling a vow, who has lost his mast or broken his rudder, and was obliged to heave his cargo overboard from being waterlogged, I dismiss such a fellow, he does nothing heartily, but merely to satisfy his obligation. During the very libation he is computing in his own mind what share he can put upon his ship's company and passengers, and so each man feels that he is dining at his own expense. But another has sailed in from Byzantium on the third day without accident, successful, delighted at making his ten or twelve per cent., prating about the passage-money, ready for any debauchery. Such an one I take by the hand as he is disembarking, I remind him of Zeus Soter, I insist on serving him. Such is my habit. Again, some young fool in love is squandering his patrimony. I go, of course 2. Another set having collected money
1 Cp. Meineke, iv. p. 394.
2 Anaxippus (Mein. iv. 460) who makes a learned cook descant on the
for a club dinner, come rushing into the potterymarket, shouting, "Who wants an engagement to cook a dinner?" I let them shout, for if you went you would get cuffs, and have to work all night. If you ask for your wages, you get impudence. "The lentils," he says, "had no vinegar." You ask again, and he replies, "Go to the devil, first of all cooks!" and so on. But I am now bringing you to a house of doubtful reputation, where an èraípa is celebrating the festival of Adonis. lavishly with others of her class; you will get your fill and carry away plenty besides.'
Having shown by these quotations the sauciness and self-importance of these people, I shall add another curious passage on the grandeur of their language. Like all Greeks, they excelled by their acuteness and education the corresponding classes in other nations. So in Epicurus' days, they at once laid hold of his celebrated principle that pleasure was the summum bonum. Of course they applied it without the reservations of its illustrious author, and explained it, not as he did, to be mainly mental pleasure, but as æsthetical pleasure, in which their profession could claim a prominent place. His intimacy, indeed, with that prince of pleasure-seekers, Menander, and the open support of him by the pleasure-providing classes, produce upon us the strong impression that the moral effect of Epicurus' teaching, even in his own day, and from his various dinners suitable to various persons, mentions this class: 'a youth with his mistress is eating up his patrimony, I set before him cuttle fish, and various shell fish, set off with rich sauces; for such a creature is not a trencher man (deinvŋtikós) but has his mind intent on love.' The philosopher on the contrary has a large appetite, and must be fed accordingly.
own lips, was not far removed from the somewhat coarse exposition in Cicero's writings. But of these things there will be future opportunity to speak. I return to the grandiloquent language of the cooks.
Strato, a poet of unknown date, but probably late in the Middle Comedy, and about Alexander's time, introduces an unfortunate host, saying: I have taken a male sphinx, and not a cook, into my house, for by the gods I simply can't understand one word of what he says. He came equipped with a new vocabulary; for no sooner was he in the house than he asked me in portentous style, "How many of the articulately speaking (μéроñas) have you invited to dinner; speak?" "Is it I ask the articulately speaking to dinner? You are mad. Do you think I know such company? Not one of them is coming-a good joke, I declare, for me to ask the articulately speaking to dinner!" "There will not be present then any Wassailer at all?" "Not Wassailer, I think. Let me see, Philinus is coming, Moschion, Niceratus ;" this and that other fellow, I counted them up by name, there was no Wassailer at all among them. "There is no such person coming at all," said I. "What do you say, no one at all?" and he grew very angry, as if insulted at my not inviting some of the Wassailers—very strange conduct.' The cook then goes through oxen and sheep in their Homeric names, and asks, will they be sacrificed, so as to be available for the feast. The host cannot understand him, and when he deigns to explain, retorts testily: "I neither understand you 1 Meineke, iv, 545.