“Cake with legs” .. How did the American “cheesecake” originate in ancient Rome?

“Cake with legs” .. How did the American “cheesecake” originate in ancient Rome?

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – They were nutritious, easy to prepare and excellent as a snack, especially when sprinkled with poppy seeds and served in cubes.

The ancient Romans ate a delicious honey cheesecake, known as savillum, as it is believed to be the true ancestor of cheesecake (or cheesecake), which is prepared in the modern American way.

Instead of using soft Philadelphia cheese, the cake was made with fresh goat’s milk, which came directly from the shepherds.

The first fully documented recipe in history, which describes in detail the preparation of a delicacy similar to modern dairy, dates back to the third century BC and was written by a senator, military general and prominent Roman historian.

“Cato the Elder was not just a great writer and philosopher, he was a gourmet and supporter of rural traditions and food,” said Giorgio Francetti, a food scientist in ancient Rome and author of Eating With the Ancient Romas.

Franchetti explained that Cato the Elder recorded his favorite Savilium cake recipe, in one of his major works, De Agri Cultura.

cheesecake "cheesecake"
American cheesecake is currently very popular in Italy. , Plain textCredit: Silvia Marchetti

cake for the feet

Many legends and stories have been woven about the origin of this popular dessert, says Francetti, insisting that it has Roman origins.

Thanks to the expansion of the Roman Empire, the Savillum cake spread everywhere, eventually reaching England, then the New World and evolving over time, taking local turns.

“Savillum had very long legs, he roamed the globe,” said Franchetti, who discovered many ancient Roman recipes. “It was a very simple cake made with daily ingredients, goat milk, honey and eggs … Thanks Cato, we know the quantities,” he said. details of each component.

Citing another story, a general primitive dessert with cheese and honey was first made by the Greeks, in the 8th century BC.

This candy was used as an energy booster for Olympic athletes.

However, the few Greek secondary sources that mention the dish do not provide any specifics about how the cake was made or looked, let alone an accurate recipe.

Francetti added that even if it was approved and refined by the Romans in Greece, it was those who globalized Savillum, not the Greeks.

cheesecake "cheesecake"
The Romans liked to eat cubes of cheesecake (or cheesecake) as a snack between meals. , Plain textCredit: Giorgio Franchetti

In his recipe, Kato gives precise instructions and tips on how to make a cheesecake.

First you need to mix about 327 gr of flour, 807 gr of goat cheese, an egg and about 80 gr of honey in an earthenware dish coated with olive oil.

Finally cover the pot and set on fire.

Kato advises checking the center of the bread so that it is thick.

The recipe says: “Once the cake is baked, add honey and sprinkle poppy seeds on it and then put it back on the stove to finish baking before serving.”

Savillum cake was certainly served without a spoon, as the Romans liked to eat it with their fingers, but it was cut into cubes to make it lighter.

Today, you can find Savillum’s legacy in many classic Italian cakes.

Most pastries and desserts made with cheese products like ricotta and mascarpone can be traced in it.

cheesecake "cheesecake"
Simona Orlandi, owner of Biscomania, said American cheesecake is “refreshing and fun” during the summer in Italy. , Plain textCredit: Silvia Marchetti

Biscomania is a boutique specializing in cakes and biscuits in the small rural town of Cabina, near Rome.

The boutique prepares traditional American cheesecake and Italian rolls with pistachio, Nutella and red fruit jam.

Philadelphia cheese, mascarpone, ricotta or yogurt are used, depending on the tastes of customers who tend to buy them for special occasions.

And while many cheesecakes require baking, some are stored in the refrigerator.

Simona Orlandi, owner of Biscomania, says: “Apart from the US, unripe dairy is probably the most popular among Italians. Many families have started making it at home because it does not require preparation, baking or even fermentation … It is a wonderful one. cake and experience for yourself. “

cheesecake "cheesecake"
Milk ingredients include goat cheese, honey, eggs and flour. , Plain textCredit: Giorgio Franchetti

And since Italian foods are usually quite rich, Orlandi recommends avoiding cheesecake as a dessert at the end of the meal, as it requires a lot of extra digestive power.

“Even though we have lost track of what happened to Savillum over time, we know she was fully embodied in the cheesecake,” Franchetti said.

“It was invented and spread by the ancient Romans thousands of years ago, and today the Romans took it from places that were under Roman rule. In a way, cheesecake has come home.”

.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.