Date: 11/24/2021, 8:57 AM
On 11/23/2021 8:15 PM, Bunny wrote:
You mentioned that you might be able to help me with the “modern”
translation of some of these Ancient Roman spices.
The one spice that I am totally mystified (& see in recipes over
& over again) is called “Laser”.
I have found a couple of different possible names, but since I am
not sure about these sources, I would absolutely prefer a different opinion!!!
"Laser", or "laserpitium", or "laserwort", was the extract of a wild giant fennel plant called
"silphium". It apparently only grew in one place, the ancient Greek city of Cyrene, which was near
present-day Shahhat, Libya. It could not be cultivated and it was so popular that it was harvested
to extinction many centuries ago. The only substitute, and a poor one at that, is a spice from the
Middle East called "asafoetida." Some supermarkets and health food stores have asafoetida, and you
can order it online from Amazon.com.
I thoroughly researched and wrote a detailed article about silphium a few years ago. See this page: 8-7-2017
You can also find a few bits about it on these sites:
The Mystery of the Lost Roman Herb