‘If you hate tasteless meat, let an Umbrian boar
Fed on acorns from holm-oaks flex your round dish:
Since Laurentian’s no good, fattened on reeds and sedge.
Roe-deer reared in a vineyard aren’t always edible.
The gourmet will hunt for forelegs of pregnant hare.
What the age and qualities of fish and fowl should be
Is a question previously hid from all but my palate.
There are some whose only talent is finding new pastries.
But it’s not enough to have only one specialisation:
As if one were worried solely that the wine’s not bad,
And then careless what oil was poured over the fish.
If you decant Massic wine under a flawless sky,
Any cloudiness will be cleared by the night-time air,
The bouquet that sets the nerves on edge will fade:
But its full flavour’s lost if it’s strained through linen.
Cleverly add the lees of Falernian to Surrentine,
And collect the sediment using a pigeon’s egg,
The yolk sinks to the depths with any impurity.
Fried prawns and African snails will revive the flagging
Drinker: for, after wine, lettuce floats in an acid
Stomach that prefers instead to be stimulated
And freshened by sausage and ham, in fact prefers
Something piping hot brought in from a greasy stall.
The recipe for a rich dressing is worth careful
Study. The base consists of sweet olive oil: mix in
Undiluted wine, and salt, the sort a Byzantine jar
Smells of: when it’s been boiled with chopped herbs,
And sprinkled with Corycian saffron, let it stand,
Then add the oil squeezed from Venafran olives.’