Roman Dinner||Emperor Hadrian|
Dinner, cena, for the wealthier Ancient Romans was the main meal of the day and more time was spent in its preparation and eating.
Most people in Ancient Rome would have eaten bread with fruit and vegetables at dinner time or a hot wheat porridge known as puls.
Poorer people, and slaves, would have had only bread for dinner while the richer people would have had different kinds of meat - pork, chicken and rabbit, as well as fruits and vegetables and fish.
On special occasions wealthier Ancient Romans would have eaten more exotic meats like Giraffe and Flamingo.
The Ancient Romans were very fond of Fish Sauce - Garum, which they used to flavour their meals.
Garum was a salty, fish-based sauce - very aromatic. It had previously been used by the Ancient Greeks.
We know a lot about the cooking of Roman food because many recipes have survived to the present day.
One of the most famous of Ancient Roman cooks was Apicius and his cookbook contains recipes used by ordinairy Ancient Romans.
The wealthy Ancient Romans served dinner in separate courses; here is how they were known... gustatio ("hors d’oeuvre"): prima mensa ("first table" or "main course" ): secunda mensa ("second table" or dessert).
Scroll down the page to see a recipe for Roman fish sauce, Garum. There is also a picture of a bowl of figs.
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The Emperor Hadrian ruled for 21 years from A.D. 117 until A.D. 138, when the Empire of Ancient Rome was at its height.
The Emperor Hadrian consolidated and strengthened The Roman Empire. He was The Roman Emperor responsible for the building of Hadrian's Wall in England.
Hadrian was one of the most remarkable and talented of all the Emperors of Rome.... more about Emperor Hadrian
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Daily Life in Ancient Rome
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Roman Fish Sauce (Garum)
Here is an Ancient Roman Recipe for Garum:
Use fatty fish, for example, sardines, and a well-sealed (pitched) container with a 26-35 quart capacity. Add dried, aromatic herbs possessing a strong flavor, such as dill, coriander, fennel, celery, mint, oregano, and others, making a layer on the bottom of the container; then put down a layer of fish (if small, leave them whole, if large, use pieces) and over this, add a layer of salt two fingers high. Repeat these layers until the container is filled. Let it rest for seven days in the sun. Then mix the sauce daily for 20 days. After that, it becomes a liquid.
(From Gargilius Martialis, De medicina et de virtute herbarum)
Click here for a good page listing other Ancient Rome recipes
Click here for a good page listing Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman Literature (including Apicus' texts.
Glass Bowl of Figs - Roman Food
Glass bowl of figs, detail of wall painting.
Roman, first century CE from Oplontis, so-called Villa of Poppaea.
Credits: Credits: Barbara McManus, 2003.
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