In our current read, Venus in Copper, Falco, Helena Justina, and the Senator enjoy the must cake Falco bought from a street vendor.
Recipe for must cake: Moisten 1 modius of wheat flour with must; add anise, cummin, 2 pounds of lard, 1 pound of cheese, and the bark of a laurel twig. When you have made them into cakes, put bay leaves under them, and bake.
Cato’s must cake? It’s cheap scoff for slaves. What would he know … Stand aside. Now don’t fluster me … Grind your spices first. Some cumin seeds. I’m also using these anise stars, which are supposed to have a good flavour; my daughter-in-law bought them for me, so I have to use them up. They don’t grind easily. Some trouble-maker is bound to ask “what are these hard bits with the funny taste?” Read all in a Lindsey Davis Saturnalia Newsletter. *
And the modern day recipe: Saturnalia Must Cake
But what is "must"? It seems to be a wine sediment from the fermentation process. It was just today discussed on the Yahoo! Apicius Group. The writer, a winemaker, says that there are two kinds of "must": "marca," which comprises skins, seeds and stalk and which sits on top of the fermenting wine during the short primary fermentation period during late autumn; and "lees," as a very fine and silty grape product, deposited during secondary fermentation and during aging as a sediment. He thinks it 's the "lees" sediment that was used in the must cakes.