Baking Ancient Roman Ceremonial Cakes

Ancient Roman cuisine holds precious wisdom that can be used as a resource in today's times, when we've lost our way due to the industrialization of food. On Sunday, May 10, at 1:00 PM EDT (UTC-4), join VAWAA Artist, archaeologist, and culinary historian Ursula for a discussion about the concepts underlying ancient Roman cuisine as we bake Libum together — a process that doesn't require the dough to rise. These little breads, or rather cheesecakes, were baked for special occasions (for example birthdays) as ceremonial offerings. The recipe we will refer to is from Cato's rural handbook “De Agri Cultura” (ca. 150 BC).

Joining us from a different time zone? Be sure to convert the time.

What you'll need

- 2 cups of white wheat flour (all purpose flour)
- 2 cups of soft or semi-soft sheep's cheese or white cheese
- 1 egg
- bay leaves
- honey to drizzle
- baking tray
- pre heat oven to 190°C/380°F

How to join

We'll be hosting this VAWAA Online on Zoom. We'll send you the link and details to join via email a few hours before it begins.

About Ursula

Ursula is an archaeologist and cook, passionate about sustainability. For years, Ursula worked on excavation projects in Syria, Turkey and Egypt, where she often lived in small, traditional villages where locals would produce much of the food themselves. Inspired by this way of life, Ursula picked up a variety of recipes and traditional food preparation techniques throughout her travels.

Historic methods of producing and cooking food inspire Ursula academically, but also motivate her lifestyle. “Humanity has been able to sustain itself without extreme over-consumption for millennia, without exploiting the planet,” Ursula explains. She believes that looking back to traditional cooking techniques also encourages getting back to a more sustainable way of living. Ursula’s self-sufficient, solar-powered estate in Southern Italy, shared with her husband, harkens back to simpler times. Ursula grows most of her  food, eats fresh ingredients seasonally, raises chickens, makes wine and olive oil, and in her spare time, practices archery!

Visit her artist page to learn more about her in-person VAWAA.

Sessions are ticketed to support artists, makers and our small team. If you’re experiencing financial hardship, please reach out. We may have a generous participant who has paid it forward and would ask that you pay the love forward by sharing online sessions with 3 new friends.