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This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Hot Dates.

Here at the Roman Baths visitors and staff have been enjoying a hot stuffed date beside the Great Bath to celebrate New Years Day on January 1st. The eating of dates was a Roman tradition to celebrate the coming of a new year.

Rosa and Flavia enjoying their hot dates
In 45BC Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar, creating a new month, January. January is named after and was originally dedicated to the two-faced Roman god, Janus. Janus looked both backwards to the old year and forwards to the New Year ahead. The first of January became a day of celebration, gifts and vows. It also became a day where you could only say good things.

Part of the day’s celebrations was to eat hot, stuffed and peppered dates. The recipe that we used to prepare our dates comes from the Roman cook Apicius. Apicius has left us the most comprehensive guide to Roman cuisine. He lived during the 1st Century AD but his recipes were not collated into one book until the late 4th Century AD. This has led some people to believe that the cookbook attributed Apicius is in fact written by more than one person but under the same name.

Some of the recipes in his cookbook include, Milk-Fed Snails, Stuffed Hare, Hot Lamb Stew and Julian Pottage, which required, among other things, two cooked brains! The recipe for our stuffed dates can be found below.

Hot Dates Ingredients –

6 dates per person

Shelled and finely sliced almonds

3 tablespoons honey

To Prepare –

Stone the dates and stuff with the nuts. Heat the honey in a frying pan and fry the dates briskly then serve.

Hot Dates
For a more authentic Roman experience, add a little pepper to the almonds and roll the dates in a pinch of salt before frying in the honey.

Enjoy and Felix Anno Novo!


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