Pullum Frontonianum (Chicken a la Fronto) – Part 1

The following (lengthy) request came from the archaeologist sister of Blogger D, we’ll call her Potkicker T:

‘Ok, here’s the culinary challenge … for my lecture in September I wish to distract the audience as much as possible with nonsense and pretty pictures. So, to make it a bit more lively I want not just to talk about trade and distribution and the Roman economy (like I am supposed to) but also talk about the cultural side of cooking ie what influenced the cooking pot forms and how this ties in with cooking traditions … bored yet? It gets better …’


A broken cumana

‘…one of the North African cooking forms is a direct copy of an Italian form – a shallow frying pan thing that was also, we think, used in the oven as a baking dish. There are no literary references for the North African dish, however, there was this famous Roman called Apicius who actually wrote a cookery book, and in the method for some of his recipes he says to use a ‘cumana’ which is a dish from Cumes (the place of the dig near Naples I was on) and these are more commonly known as Pompeian Red dishes as that is where they were first discovered by archaeologists. For your interest, they were called Pompeian Red wares because the interior has a glossy red coating ie non-stick, and the North Africans were in fact the only ones to imitate this. I digress.

Basically, it would be a hoot if you could cook one of Apicius’ recipes that uses the non-stick frying pan approach and photograph it, I could show it in my powerpoint. What would be even more wicked would be if I sent you a photo of one of these dishes and you/Richard photoshoped the food into it…. And it could all appear on Yumblog. I attach his list of recipes. The one highlighted (Pullum Frontoniarnum) would be the best for my lecture as it uses this pan I think, but basically anything that is fried or oven baked in a shallow pan would work. Conference starts 22 September, so plenty of time.

Anyway, just a thought …’


Several broken cumana … or is it cumani? cumanum?

This is the recipe:

  • 1 fresh chicken – 1-1.5 kg approx
  • olive oil – 100ml
  • liquamen – 200ml
  • 1 branch of leek
  • fresh dill, saturei, coriander, pepper to taste
  • defrituma – little bit of

We will of course be taking up the challenge …

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: