Numerous stories are attached to that notorious Roman gourmand Marcus Gavius Apicius: his greed was legendary and so apparently was his skill - but skill in what exactly? This article will attempt to disentangle the evidence for Apicius the man (or men) from the text that bears his name: the recipe collection known as de re coquinaria that we often, almost for convenience sake, attribute to one or other of the Apicii. In doing so we will look at the nature of cooks and cooking in the Roman world, particularly in relation to the food texts. I will argue that the recipe collection was in fact written entirely by slave cooks rather then anyone from the elite and as such is a remarkable survival.

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