'popielica jubilerska'
ze słynnego warsztatu Faberge.

An astonishment a day- 
drives your depression away...



A forgotten delicacy.

Romans loved the taste of dormice (Glis glis, of the rodent family). The dormouse is a beautiful animal (12 - 19 cm, with a 15 cm tail), valued by us for its beautiful fur, currently under protection, residing in deciduous and mixed forests, feeding predominantly on fruits, seeds and insects. 


For the Romans, the greatest delicacy was dormice dipped in honey and sprinkled with poppy seeds. The dormice traveled to England together with the Roman Legionnaires, but when the fashion for dormice was over, they did not manage to thrive in the wild.

They also did not become a domestic animal, although they were often kept in houses, in quite a perculiar and specific way. After the animal was captured, it was placed in a ceramic container, made especially for this purpose, with perforated walls. The animal was then intensively fed with chestnuts and fruits. It was kept in complete darkeness, and out of boredom, the dormice ate constantly, until they were too fat to be removed from the container, which then had to be broken to release them. It was then time for a feast.

  

Ceramic container, with perforated sides to allow the feeding of the dormice. 

The fatter the dormice, the better they tasted, and they were usually eaten in a single bite. 

The gorging of oneself on fat dormice was so common that it became a sign of gluttony and a threat to the army and their skills. A special officer was even appointed, whose job was to catch the traders of these politically incorrect animals. A ban on keeping overfed dormice led to the overfeeding of other animals such as chickens and pigs. There was even a custom that the specially appointed officer would anounce the weight of an overfed chicken before it was placed on the table. Thus the guests would appreciate the host and have something to boast about afterwards. 

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(C) (selected from publications of 
 R. Antoszewski

Titirangi, Auckland, 
New Zeland

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February  2003

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