Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pleasures of the Table.


Heliogabalus surpassed Vitellius as far as Vitellius surpassed Lucullus in the art of expending vast sums upon the pleasures of the table. According to Lampridius, he cost the government for each of his dinners more than $180,000 in our money! This statement almost transcends belief. At one of his banquets was served an entree consisting of the brains of 600,000 ostriches, quickly followed by another of broiled heels of an incalculable number of tender young camels!

In the days of Shakespeare good digestion probably waited on appetite. Dining was a matter of fact business, and dinners were so lacking in the variety of dishes that an appetite was a necessity. In these days, as in the days of Vitellius, an appetite is a superfluity. Among the high livers it is satiated, dull, dead, worn out. Special dishes are invented to tickle and awaken it.

Lucullus, Vitellius and Heliogabalus are among the great departed, but their memory lives, and even in this day and generation they have their imitators. — New York Press.

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