Okay … this is a claim I’ve come across several times over the past few years, most recently in the Morning Call:
‘Biscotti are cheap to make and last a long time,” Anselmo says of the cookies, which were staples of the Roman legions and moved Pliny to remark that he thought they lasted forever.”
Typing ‘pliny’ and ‘biscotti’ into Google will bring up a pile of results, all of which say almost the exact same thing (sometimes ‘forever’ is replaced by ‘centuries’). In addition to the Roman legion connection, sometimes the biscotti are made analogous to “Parthian Bread”. Taking my cue from that, the only thing I can find about Parthian Bread in Pliny comes from Book 18.27 … here’s the version at Google Books:
… seems a bit of a stretch to me to find the origins of biscotti there. Is there some other passage I’m missing?
UPDATE (just a few minutes later): I think we’ll add ‘hardtack’/panis nauticum to this one too …