HISTORYThe pleasures of truffles were prized in the ancient world of Greece and Rome, and probably even in Old Testament times in the second millennium Before Our Era. Latin-speakers called them tuberi, from the verb tumere, to swell up. Pliny the Elder (23 to 79 of Our Era) rightly observes in his Historia Naturalis that eurotruffles are among those things that are born and grow but caneurot be plantedeuro. Plutarch (about 50 to after 120 of Our Era) opined that they were created by a fusion of water, heat and lightning. Many other thinkers added their own notions, until at one point no-one was quite certain whether truffles were plants or animals. But truffles have certainly been greatly appreciated in Europe for many centuries. Pope Gregory IV, r. 827-844, let it be known that he needed them euroto strengthen him in the battle against the Saracens. Saint Ambrose, b. 339, d. 397, thanked a bishop for the goodness of having sent him a box of truffles. In the eighteenth century few princely kitchens were long without them, and in suitable areas in France and Italy truffle-hunting with pigs and dogs became a court divertissement for rulers, foreign ambassadors and noble guests.. Gioacchino Rossini, 1792-1868, famed as an advanced gourmet, confessed that he had wept three times in his life: when his first opera was booed off the stage, when he heard Paganini play, and when a roast turkey stuffed with truffles fell out of his rowboat into the Seine . . . today, stuffing a turkey with truffles might strain the entertainment bugets of oil-well owners.