A. What is the number of the guests invited
To this fine marriadge feast? And are they all
Athenian citizens, or there are some
Foreigners and merchants?
B. What is that to you,
Since you are but the cook to dress the dinner?
A. It is the first part of my art, O father
To know the taste of those who are to eat.
For instance, if you ask a Rhodian,
Set a fine shad or lebias before him,
Well boil’d and hot, the moment that he enters,
That’s what he likes; he’ll like it better so
Than if you add a cup of myrine wine.
B. Well that idea of dhads is not a bad one.
A. Then, if a Byzantine should be your guest,
Steep all your offer such a man in wormwood.
And let your dishes taste of salt and garlic..
For fish are all so plenty in their country,
That the men all are full of rheum and phlegm
And Menander says, in his Trophonius –
A. This feast is for a guest’s reception.
B. What guest? Whence comes he? For those points, believe me,
Do make a mighty difference to the cook.
For instance, if some guests from the islands come
Who always feed on fish of every sort
Fresh from the sea, such man like not salt dishes,
But think them make-shifts. Give such men their food
Well-season’d, forced, and stuff’d with choicest spyces
But if you ask a guest from Arcady
He is a stranger to the sea, and loves
Limpets and shell-fish; – but the rich Ionian
Will look at nough but Lydian luxuries,
Rich stimulating, amatory meats
In The Deipnosophists or Banquet of the Learned – Vol. I. – Book IV, Athenaeus
Banquete, Alessandro Allori