Living & Life

Ancient Roman Cuisine

Discover the culinary secrets of ancient Rome

Ancient Roman Cuisine - A Culinary Journey into the Past

More than 2000 years ago, the Romans already knew how to enjoy culinary delights. Roman cuisine is considered extremely versatile and offers a wealth of sophisticated dishes. But what did Roman food actually look like and what ingredients were used?

From hearty dishes to sweet treats - the variety of Roman recipes

Ancient Roman cuisine was characterized by a variety of ingredients and spices. For example, various meats such as pork, beef and lamb were popular, as well as fish and seafood. Vegetables, fruits and legumes were also on the menu. Particular emphasis was placed on a balanced diet. The Romans already knew the benefits of whole grain products and regularly consumed bread and pastries. A well-known Roman dish, for example, is the "patina", a casserole made of eggs, cheese, vegetables and meat. Sweet treats such as honey cake and fruit compote were also very popular.

Spices and herbs - The secret of Roman cuisine

What makes Roman food special is the spices and herbs used. Well known are for example bay leaves, thyme, mint and dill. But also exotic spices like coriander and saffron were used in ancient times. Particularly sophisticated was the use of garum, a Roman fish sauce, which served as a seasoning. There are also reports that wine and vinegar were used for seasoning in Roman cuisine.

Roman table pleasures - What did a typical Roman meal look like?

While common people tended to eat simple dishes like soups and stews, the richer classes had a real feast. Roman food was not only a culinary delight, but also a social event. Thus, at large banquets, often up to ten courses were served and the guests could enjoy a variety of dishes. The presentation of the dishes, which were artfully decorated and garnished, was particularly impressive.

What was garum or liquamen?

Garum or liquamen was a Roman fish sauce used as a condiment in Roman cuisine. The sauce was made from fish scraps and salt and then fermented to develop an intense flavor. Garum was often used as a condiment in soups and stews and was said to have had an intense flavor.

The banquet of Trimalchio

The Banquet of Trimalchio was a fictional but famous banquet described in the novel "Satyricon" by Petronius Arbiter. Trimalchio, a wealthy former slave, hosted an opulent feast rich in exotic food and drink. The description of the feast gives us an insight into Roman society and its luxury as well as its culinary preferences.

The banquet was an impressive spectacle, with guests reclining on sumptuous couches and being served by slaves. The menu included dishes such as roasted hams, fish, shellfish and game. Especially spectacular was the fact that the main course of the feast consisted of a pig served whole with garnishes and side dishes.

The feast was also rich in exotic foods and drinks, including delicacies from faraway lands such as Egypt and India. There was even a dessert presented in the form of a wax figure that looked like Trimalchio's own statue. Guests were amazed at the opulence and decadence of the feast and commented on it with humor and sarcasm.

Overall, Trimalchio's banquet gives us a glimpse into Roman society and its preferences for luxury and gourmet food. It also shows how important food and drink were to social life in ancient Rome.

Here once again the individual categories of Roman cuisine: