A fertum recipe (without numbers)

By the way, it occurred to me that, having alluded to fertí in my last post, I might as well make public my recipe for this staple gift to the gods. After wine and incense, a fertum is probably the most common offering in Antiquity (except perhaps for flowers? or maybe milk or honey?). The way I make mine is ever so slightly jazzed up from other recipes I’ve seen on the interwebs. I present it here the way I make it—without measurements:

Ingredients:

  • flour (ideally from farro, though other grains could be used in Antiquity as well; I’ve been using spelt flour, and I bet you could get away with buckwheat, regular whole wheat, etc.)
  • clear, filtered water
  • salt (in this one instance, I see an advantage in using sea salt, because it can give you these nice big chunks that work well in this) [not a believer in sea salt generally]
  • pepper (fresh-ground of course!)
  • ground thyme
  • maybe a bit of basil or rosemary or whatever else you think the gods in question would like
  • olive oil (the kind for frying not dipping)

Take a couple good handfuls of flour and dump them in a mixing bowl. Splash in enough water so that it’ll mix together in a decent batter. Stick your hands in there and work the water into the flour. When it’s a uniform consistency (and no later), grind in a very generous quantity of salt and pepper. Sprinkle in a dash or two of thyme, a shake of olive oil, and whatever other spices you think are appropriate, and mix it together a bit.

Heat some more oil in your cast-iron skillet. When the oil’s good and hot (hot enough so that water will splatter if you shake a drop or two in), turn down the heat a bit, roll the batter into little roundish glops, and put them in the skillet to cook. I do mine pretty small, like golden dollar pancakes, but you may want to go a bit bigger. I get a batch of about seven in my skillet.

Let them fry till they’re golden brown (not burnt!). You may want to flatten out the tops with a spatula while the bottom side is going. They’ll be ready to flip over when the batter starts making a faint whistling sound (if not before). Let the other side get golden brown, and put them out to dry on a drying rack or something (otherwise the condensation will make them all soggy).

Voilà! a meal fit for a god. They actually do make tasty little morsels, if you want to try one for yourself for quality control purposes. The key is using enough salt and other seasonings: Plain old flour/water/oil is awfully bland. Besides, I think it’s not really a fertum without salt (just as mola salsa is not mola salsa without salt).

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About DeoMercurio

I’m a Gaulish polytheist, now back living in lands ceded by the Council of Three Fires after several years’ sojourn in Anatolia and in the land of the Senecas, with frequent travels to Gaul along the way. My grandfather’s family came from the area around Trier, and I identify closely with the Treveri in my religious practice.
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