Silphium, often called asafetida (or devil’s dung) makes a comeback?

Silphium, often called asafetida (or devil’s dung) was an important medicinal and culinary herb in ancient Rome. It was believed to have been harvested to extinction, due to its supposed aphrodisiac properties. What we now know as the spice, asafetida, is really more of a substitute. It seems to have been rediscovered in Turkey!



  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,633 admin
    edited September 2023

    This is amazing! I haven't had the chance to watch the whole video yet but I read the blog post.

    Always so exciting when a "thought-to-be-extinct" plant reappears!

    I am going to have to look into the books mentioned. Apicius and Cooking Apicius.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,457 admin

    I've been really getting into ancient roman cooking, and so far I am extremely impressed! The flavors are not much like modern or Neapolitan Italian food at all. The combination of flavors is really more like Chinese food, using herbs and spices and balancing all 5 flavors. It seems to have been a big influence on classical French cuisine, especially in terms of the sauces. Everything is seasonal and they use a LOT of herbs like costmary, pennyroyal, rue, oregano, several members of the apiacea family. One, called "laser" seems to be like osha. They also use a lot of fermented fish sauce called garum, mixing it with olive oil, wine, vinegar and honey and spices like are used in 5 Spice, so it does have an Asian sort of flavor combined with Greek style grilled meats and fish and a lot of stewed or poached dishes.