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Food & History

The Romans are still with us —

Jeff Cheek —

The Roman Empire fell some 1,600 years ago but their influence — is still with us. Drive through rural Spain and you will find aqueducts — still carrying water to villages. They were built by the Romans. Part — of the original wall around Zaragoza still stands. Emperor Augustus Caesar — had his own version of a Veteran's Bureau. Old Legionnaires from the 6th — Macedonian and the l0th Gallacian Legions were discharged and permitted — to take up land in Spain. They named the city they founded after the Emperor. — Two thousand years later, the name Augustus Caesar has evolved into Zaragoza.

There is no physical evidence in America, but they are — with us, too. Look at the way we measure distance. The word mile comes — from the Latin "mille passuum" or one thousand paces. A pace was five — feet so the Roman mile was 5,000 feet. Our mile is 5,280 feet. What happened — ?

We can blame the English for this odd number. When Rome — conquered England in the First Century, they discovered that the natives — had established a furlong to measure distance. A furlong was the distance — a horse could pull a plow without resting, or 660 feet. The English converted — the Roman mile into eight furlongs, or 5,280 feet.

This gives us an unwieldy measurement for the mile and — we are still stuck with the furlong. Horses do not race for one mile. — It is eight furlongs. The Kentucky Derby is one and a quarter mile or — ten furlongs.

Why are railroad rails placed four feet, eight-and-a-half — inches apart? The Romans never studied physics but they knew the optimum — pulling power of a horse was when the wheels were in a direct line with — his body, but less when the wheels were offline. Their location on two — horse chariots was determined by the position of the horse .

When they invaded England, these chariots cut ruts in — English roads. Centuries later, when England introduced horse drawn trolleys, — these ruts were used to place the rails. Later these trolleys gave way — to locomotives. The width of the tracks had already been established. — These same measurements came from England to America. In short, American — railroad specifications were written by Roman horses.

The legal profession is crammed with words and practices — from Romans. We get the word alias from the Latin "alias dictus" (also — called). Joe Smith might adopt the name John Doe to escape detection. — In court he would have to be identified as Joe Smith alias dictus John — Doe. This was shortened to alias. A person required to appear in court — receives a subpoena. The full Latin title was "sub poena ad testificandum." — (Under penalty to come and give testimony.) This has been shortened and — condensed into subpoena.

Have you ever heard of a bulga? Probably not but you have — to live on one. Roman wives kept their household money in a small leather — bag, a bulga. Bulga became "bougette" in French then finally emerged in — English as budget.

It is a systematic plan to balance income and expenditures. — And it all started with Roman housewives and their little leather bags. —

Almost twenty years ago a friend gave me a recipe for — Miracle Muffins. Being the original Doubting Thomas, I tested them twice. — They are great. That's the miracle.


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Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix flour and mayo in mixing — bowl. Add milk and knead. Divide into 6 balls. Bake in ungreased muffin — pan for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.