This entire feast was inspired by Anthimus’s On the Observance of Food. I knew of no other cook who had tackled this manuscript for a feast and the more I looked into Merovingian and Frankish history, the more I became fascinated by exploring the food of the Northern edges of the Roman Empire. Then my father gave me an antique copy of Vehling’s Apicius, printed on handmade paper in 1936. Even though I knew there were many redacted Roman recipes available, I tried to stay away from previous redactions and choose what struck me as new and interesting flavors.
As this was a Coronation feast, there were two presentations for the new Crown. The first was a whole roast salmon stuffed with herbs and sprinkled with whole poached miniature octopus in honor of the Queen, whose device includes an octopus, argent. The next was a whole beef roast encased in a pastry bull’s head in honor of the King, whose device includes bull’s heads.