WHAT DID ANTINOUS LOVE TO EAT?
PERHAPS A LITTLE TURKISH DELIGHT
WHAT did Antinous like to eat? Did he like pungent Roman garum fish sauce? Alas, we don't know what Antinous liked to eat.
But we know he was from Bithynia ... modern Turkey ... a land with a rich culinary tradition.
Presumably he was raised on a diet of olives and lentils and spicy chicken and garlicky goat meat and goat cheese and fish/seafood of all kinds. And pork/goat/chicken sausages, of course.
The cherry tree originated in Asia Minor, for starters. He must have eaten dates and pistachios and figs and honey cakes similar to baklava.
He would have had somewhat oriental tastes inspired by Persia, don't you think? He would have loved honey-cinnamon flavor with maybe a touch of almond or pistachio and just a hint of rose water.
The incredibly sweet treat called: TURKISH DELIGHT!
Being a living and breathing "Turkish Delight" himself, Antinous would have loved living in an Imperial palace with "whole rooms simply stuffed with Turkish delight" so he could enjoy all he wanted any time he wanted, served to him in silver dishes by obedient slaves while his doting emperor wiped the powdered sugar from his sweet lips.
Life in the palace would have been magical. All the emperor had to do was snap his fingers and the most incredible things would appear like magic for young Antinous to enjoy ....
Antinous especially would have loved Bithynian wild mountain orchids -- because the plant's tubers are ground to make a flour which is used in all sorts of dessert sweets.
It is called "salep" and is used in a syrupy drink which was very popular throughout the Mideast and Europe until its popularity was overtaken by coffee.
In England, it was called "saloop" and was THE thing to drink before tea was imported from India.
These Bithynian orchid bulbs were incredibly popular in Ancient Rome, where they were ground to make sweet drinks which were believed to be aphrodisiacs (coming from the "testes" orchid) and which had names like "satyrion" and "priapiscus".
Paracelsus, the alchemist/chemist, wrote, "Behold the Satyrion root! Is it not formed like the male privy parts? Accordingly, magic discovered it and revealed that it can restore a man's virility and passion!"
In fact, salep is so popular to this day, that the wild mountain orchids have become practically an endangered species in Turkey/Bithynia.
In modern Turkey, salep is used in a famous ice cream called "dondurma" which is very precious and beloved by all Turks.
Turkish "dondurma" vendors wear a particular outfit and have a little ritual ceremony for serving this very thick and gooey ice cream which involves digging it out with a long spatula and slinging it around to that the cone rings a bell -- and then doing acrobatic tricks with the cone stuck to the spatula.
The ritual ... the anticipation ... the laughter ... the most delicious ice cream in the world ... and it's made from orchids!
This is what Antinous the Gay God serves to everyone aboard the Barque of Millions of Years ... free kisses with every serving ....