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When Marius did stay home to dinner he was faced with fare like dormice stuffed with foie gras, the tiniest fig-pecker birds daintied beyond imagination, exotic vegetables and pungent arrays of sauces too rich for his tongue and his belly, if not his purse.
He presented Asellius Sabinus with two hundred thousand sesterces, for writing a dialogue, in the way of dispute, betwixt the truffle and the fig-pecker, the oyster and the thrush.
He can talk of sausages and silkworms, and forestry and agriculture and sheep-grazing, and how they catch porcupines and cure warts and manufacture manna; he knows about the evil eye and witches and the fata morgana and the tarantula spider, about figs in ancient and modern times and the fig-pecker bird -- that bird you eat bones and all, the focetola or beccafico (garden warbler).
We picked up our spoons, each of which weighed not less than half a pound, and punctured the shells, which were made of flour and dough, and as a matter of fact, I very nearly threw mine away for it seemed to me that a chick had formed already, but upon hearing an old experienced guest vow, "There must be something good here," I broke open the shell with my hand and discovered a fine fat fig-pecker, imbedded in a yolk seasoned with pepper.