Summer Banquet Blog HopToday I’m taking part in the Summer Banquet Blog Hop in which readers will discover wonderful new historical fiction…and more than a little bit about new foods and culinary trivia. I’m not giving away a prize because I apparently forgot to sign up properly, but please do visit the other stops!

The heroine of my novels, Cleopatra Selene, was the Queen of Mauretania–a large kingdom that embraces modern-day Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

This region is best known today for couscous and mint tea, but in the days of Cleopatra Selene, couscous would likely have been far too time-intensive a dish even if it is true that the Carthaginians imported semolina in ancient times. And, of course, black tea leaves seem not to have made their way from the East yet, so the ancient mint “tea” was likely an herbal tisane.

But one dish that is likely to have been served in Cleopatra Selene’s court is the lungfish, which can swim, crawl, and live out of water for months. In fact, they burrow into mud nests at the beginning of the rainy season and can be caught by simply cutting their homes from the earth and transporting them. This would have made them a very convenient snack for the ancients, who didn’t have refrigeration to keep their seafood fresh.Yummy Lung Fish!

While the lungfish looks like an eel, its taste is apparently much stronger. So much stronger, in fact, that is is considered an acquired taste. I had fun playing with this idea in my forthcoming novel, DAUGHTERS OF THE NILE, when my heroine tries to taunt the emperor’s daughter into eating one.

  1. Random Bits of Fascination (Maria Grace)
  2. Pillings Writing Corner (David Pilling)
  3. Anna Belfrage
  4. Debra Brown
  5. Lauren Gilbert
  6. Gillian Bagwell
  7. Julie K. Rose
  8. Donna Russo Morin
  9. Regina Jeffers
  10. Shauna Roberts
  11. Tinney S. Heath
  12. Grace Elliot
  13. Diane Scott Lewis
  14. Ginger Myrick
  15. Helen Hollick
  16. Heather Domin
  17. Margaret Skea
  18. Yves Fey
  19. JL Oakley
  20. Shannon Winslow
  21. Evangeline Holland
  22. Cora Lee
  23. Laura Purcell
  24. P. O. Dixon
  25. E.M. Powell
  26. Sharon Lathan
  27. Sally Smith O’Rourke
  28. Allison Bruning
  29. Violet Bedford
  30. Sue Millard
  31. Kim Rendfeld