Shrewd advice

’17 Spoiled Honey Made Good
Ut mel malum bonum facias

How bad honey may be turned into a saleable article is to mix one part of the spoiled honey with two parts of good honey.’

from De Re Coquinaria, the only (known) cookbook to have survived the Roman Empire.


Note the comments from two editors/translators of this version of the work, one “List” and one “V”:

‘List. indigna fraus!

V. We all agree with Lister that this is contemptible business. This casts another light on the ancients’ methods of food adulteration.’

Those conniving ancients. Imagine, adulterating honey with honey. And, not even keeping it secret!

Indeed, it has taken us centuries of scientific progress to reach the vantage point from which we can adulterate foods with stuff that has no resemblance to anything natural. And, if you’re really good, you can get away with not telling anyone about it. But that would be silly, because you could get sued. So rather put the shit in the food, display it on the labels, and pray that people will shut up and buy it anyway. Apparently that works too.