But there now starts up a Question, Whether it were better, or more proper, to Begin with Sallets, or End and Conclude with them? Some think the harder Meats should first be eaten for better Concoction; others, those of easiest Digestion, to make way, and prevent Obstruction; and this makes for our Sallets, Horarii, and Fugaces Fructus (as they call ’em) to be eaten first of all, as agreeable to the general Opinion of the great Hippocrates, and Galen, and of Celsus before him. And therefore the French do well, to begin with their Herbaceous Pottage, and for the Cruder, a Reason is given:
_Prima tibi dabitur Ventri_ Lactuca
Utilis, & Poris fila refecta suis.
And tho’ this Custom came in about Domitian’s time, [Greek: ho m arkaioi], they anciently did quite the contrary,
_Grataque nobilium Lactuca ciborum_.
But of later Times, they were constant at the Ante-coenia, eating plentifully of Sallet, especially of Lettuce, and more refrigerating Herbs. Nor without Cause: For drinking liberally they were found to expell, and allay the Fumes and Vapors of the genial Compotation, the spirituous Liquor gently conciliating Sleep: Besides, that being of a crude nature, more dispos’d, and apt to fluctuate, corrupt, and disturb a surcharg’d Stomach; they thought convenient to begin with Sallets, and innovate the ancient Usage.
Post Vinum Stomacho——
For if on drinking Wine you Lettuce eat,
It floats upon the Stomach——
The Spaniards, notwithstanding, eat but sparingly of Herbs at Dinner, especially Lettuce, beginning with Fruit, even before the Olio and Hot-Meats come to the Table; drinking their Wine pure, and eating the best Bread in the World; so as it seems the Question still remains undecided with them,
_Claudere quae coenas_ Lactuca solebat
Dic mihi cur nostras inchoat illa dapes?