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Reclining in the Triclinium—Miracle Roman Foodie Yoga for Spine in Prone Position

RECLINING IN THE TRICLINIUM—Miracle Roman Foodie-Yoga for Spine in Prone Position aka reclinio in triclinio


After semi-preparedness for a festive line-up—North America introduces ‘Black Friday’ to give things an extra buzz—writerly inclination tends toward food (sustenance in Writers’ Cave-Muse never stops).

Appreciation for food by reclining Romans in an overburdened triclinium, full of wine, crushed-ice cocktails and parsnip ‘chips’ (U.S. so-called ‘French’ fries) may seem to be a Saturnalian stereotype.

For those of us inclining towards winter—whether in sunshine, storm or snow—imagining gooses (l.) ducks, turkey or ptarmigan—or solely (rt.) fairy input—it has a precedent. Romans didn’t have ketchup, but they sure made up for it with their version of Parsnip fries.<3

Parsnip fries dipped in heavily doctored double-fermented grape juice sauce = A.D.4thC ketchup & fries —Andrew Coletti food historian


Fourth century Rome’s pinnacle of celebration was month-long Saturnalia—technically beginning December 17th—after sacred Nones & Ides were past—with individual feasts every day every night in run up to January ‘new beginnning’ supervised by backward-forward-looking multi-headed god Janus, pride of Julian calendar.

Remarkably, for a nation which subdued most of the Old World, they were innocents in New World cook recipes which included wonders such as potatoes (Bolivia), tomatoes (Peru, Mexico), and yet superb as culinary masterchefs, evidenced by Pliny (A.D.77) fave, De Re Coquinaria by Apicius, top left. Wealthy Roman citizen, M.G.Apicius was in emperor Tiberius’s time (A.D.42) one of few chefs who wrote his recipes down! pic top left. Vinegar-homophone Oenogarum is a word that connotes ‘wine with fish-sauce’. Oeno from Ancient Greek oînos (wine) and Garum from Ancient Greek garos or garon (a fish sauce).

While salt was used—from coastal marshes, or mined in the high Swiss Alps—because it tends to dehydrate food while cooking, Apicius preferred his no-salt alternative, oenogarum. He added honey to the already potent mix of wine, fermented yeast-enhanced grape juice cooked with wheat paste until thickened.

“Apicius says to fry parsnips in oilive oil. I use my extremely authentic 21stC air fryer & top them with my non-psychedelic but delicious sweet, salty, savory oenogarum sauce” Coletti

Apicius says to fry parsnips in olive oil. I use my extremely authentic 21st-century air fryer, and top them (parsnip fries) with my (un-psychedelic but delicious) sweet, salty, savory oenogarum sauce”

Food historian Andrew Coletti on recipes from ancient Greece, Egypt, Persia and India

Psychoactive Ingredients Add Sacred Touch

Psychedelics were usually included—if it was a really big party bash.

Persian Soma/Haoma, its Mithraic working soldier’s plant equivalent was regularly given to legions on the move, mixed with diluted wine. Kept their mind off sinister dexter sinister dexter #chattinLatin —as with S.American Ayahuasca, it prompted extra energy needed to cover that extra mile.

Made them feel like gods themselves. Worshippers of their personal god Mithras: born-of-the-bull fully cognate, with Zoroastrian eternal-invincible qualities. Sacred is as sacred does. After return to Rome (October annually) military units were given special feasts—their mythical prowess cause for home bread & circuses-style celebrations. They saved winter Solstice for offerings to Mithras whose birth, death & rebirth on that day-night was cue to eat and wallow in blood of bull; to become so intoxicated as to descend into triple floor-licking debauchery, eat-vomit-eat drink-throw up-drink rhythm, amid (sober) roast bull-consuming scantily-clad maidens, encouraged by nubile, sterile slave cup-bearers. For those war-weary veterans who survived, no desire or fantasy was too extreme. Bacchanalia with offerings of water to a god who changed H20 into wine. Any miracle became possible.

Digression: Writer’s Prerogative—to Recline or not to Recline

But, I digress.

Am mystified anyone can eat—and drink—while supporting one’s back, spine, stomach (and digestive system) sideways, with little or no muscular use except to raise a glass or spoon. It seems logical one’s system would object—belch, relieve, recline, restart—repeat ad infinitum. Or until exhaustion sets in.

Twenty-first century Americana swear the Adirondack recliner chair (U.S. deckchair equivalent for Brits) left, is great for the back; has no equal in spine support and posture health; is summertime answer (like the Romans) to reclining. My reincarnated cat, Lulabelle, rt. is firm believer in good ole British garden bench—seats three, four at a pinch—keeps muscle, joints, skull, spine and coccyx functioning, upright. Possibly like the Romans, New Englanders decided reclining is relaxing. After all, it is nearly lying down! So laid-back they’re practically prone—reputed description of flaked-out gabbling monosyllabic NaNo finalists—serious good wishes to those who made it. No-o-o.

So laid-back, he’s practically prone

—quote hippie friend’s way of describing my 2nd [SoCA] husband

Might I suggest that some of us insecure but perennial writers tune in otherwise: I personally can’t raise myself out of an Adirondack unaided—two helpers even better. A British garden bench makes super-duper (upright) outdoor writing ‘retreat’—’cos you can balance the computah on the wooden arm frame while your back gets ‘aligned’—oak staves make magical massage.

I rest my case. Would I have made whoopee with my Roman ancestral ghosts? In triclinio gaudeamus. p.s. sinister-dexter sinister-dexter p.p.s. Borrowed schoolday L. Gaudeamus igitur juvenes dum sumus –ahem ©2021 Marian Youngblood

December 1, 2021 Posted by | ancient rites, authors, belief, blogging, calendar customs, culture, festivals, fiction, history, Muse, pre-Christian, publishing, ritual, sacred sites, seasonal, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment