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The Romans Had A Sweet Tooth

What treasure in 1987 did archaeologists find in a floor drain of the Roman Forum? This "treasure" was 86 loose teeth, all intact but with advanced stages of dental decay attributed to excessive consumption of honey. The Romans did not realize the effect of honey on their teeth.

For example, in The Deadliest Hate, we learn from Miriam that honey was commonly served at breakfast:

The public dining room of The Three Graces was abuzz that morning with the chatter of tourists and the bustle of waiters shouldering silver trays laden with olives and goat cheese, pomegranates and blackberries, biscuits spiced with ground locusts, and mugs of watered curds flavored with honey.

Miriam herself had a sweet tooth. Here’s her recipe for Roman honey cake:

5 oz. sifted wheat flour 3/4 tsp instant dried yeast

1/2 tsp ground rosemary

1 tsp cinnamon

2.5 oz. almonds, ground

3.5 fluid oz. sweet white wine

2-3 tablespoons honey 3.5 fluid oz. milk

The topping:

Extra honey to drizzle

Chopped hazelnuts

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour into a baking dish or cake tin and leave in a warm place to rise. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. While still hot, drizzle with honey and sprinkle on chopped hazelnuts.

Serve the cake to your book club after reading The Deadliest Hate. To learn more about the story, just click here. But don’t forget to brush your teeth after eating the cake.


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