Sunday, February 13, 2011

Manius Curius' Turnips

According to Plutarch, Cato the Elder learned his farm-loving and luxury-hating ways from Manius Curtius who lived in a villa down the road. Cato was amazed at how this three-triumph having, Pyrrhus-out-of-Italy-driving, belligerent-tribe-subduing man lived such an impressive life of utter simplicity on his small farm. And, there is even a famous story about this man's favorite food! See, once upon a time some Rome-hatin' Samnites tried to bribe Manius Curtius with gold. And oddly they chose to try to do this while he was cooking dinner. But, this enabled Manius Curtius to point to his pot of boiling turnips and cry out, "He who is content with radishes has no need for gold!" or some such impressive phrase. He then went on about liking to defeat those who had gold rather than possess it himself, blah blah blah. What matters to us is the decisive role Manius Curtius' favorite dish plays in the story!
Manius Curtius' Turnips
1) Boil turnips until they are how you like them, 20 minutes or so.
2) Eat. 
3) Feel resistance to bribery grow in your heart.

Now, don't boil them in stock or add seasoning or anything that tastes good - this will get in the way of their bribery-resistance powers!


Lew said...

Are there any ancient recipes that help one receive and accept more bribes?

Jake Morton said...

I will look for some! However, a safe guess is that the ancient Greek and Romans would say to eat anything from a place farther East than you are from. Luxurious eating leads to physical and moral decay! Carthago delenda est!

Lew said...

Wasn't Carthage west of Rome?

Google Maps

Jake Morton said...

The Carthage joke was supposed to follow the previous sentence -- because that sentence sounded like something Cato would have said (who is the one who went around saying Carthago delenda est). However, while Carthage was West of Rome, it was a Phoenician colony, and Phoenicia is quite East of Rome.