Rus Articles Journal

Ancient Rome - the homeland of modern cookery?

Came time to be transferred from an extreme antiquity to antique times. Today I invite you to ancient Rome to spot that Romans preferred to eat.

Hygiene and healthy food

Ancient Romans accumulated a lot of valuable knowledge of hygiene . In Rome there was a number of laws on so-called public hygiene where supervision of sale of products and of the device of places for bathing entered. The ancient Roman treatment of the concept “hygiene“ proclaimed that it is better to prevent an illness, than to treat her. Several employees were responsible for public hygiene in the eternal city. One watched purity of drinking water, others as they, for example, the antique doctor Atenay, studied properties of products and their value for health of the person.

Atenay left to descendants treatises how the Roman has to arrive to live long and without problems. Here some of its recommendations which did not lose relevance and today:

should not drink milk not to ache;

for the night should not eat heavy food;

the healthy food is fruit and flour products;

should not eat rich bread, crude meat, raisin and smoked products.

All ancient Roman scientific dietology was designed only for the prosperous people living in luxury and idleness.

As for simple Romans, soups and porridges were the main food for them. Soups could include, for example, mix of flour, honey, grated cheese, olive oil and water. Bread and grain were the main food in a classical antiquity. For preparation of various dishes haricot was often used.

In the diet ancient Romans used many vegetables. They were flavored with a large amount of any spices. Sometimes vegetable dishes prepared with meat of wild animals and birds. Meat of pets was seldom used for cooking as was very expensive.

As cabbage won the world

As it will seem strange, but the most favourite soup of ancient Romans borsch was . The recipe of its preparation came to Rome from Greece. For borsch specially grew up cabbage and beet. In ancient Rome borsch became in public favourite dish. Why? Romans nearly idolized cabbage, considering as its effective means for preservation and maintenance of health. “In honor of cabbage“ there were odes, it was sung more than once by the great poet of antiquity Virgil, in the works Pliny repeatedly remembered. At one time even Horace considered as the main business of the life cultivation of cabbage, but not the composition of verses!

With cultivation of cabbage business reached jokes. For example, the emperor Diokletian ruled the Roman Empire for 10 years when the state was in a serious economic condition. When, in his opinion, the empire recovered from crisis, he voluntarily refused a throne and went to Dalmatia to grow up cabbage in the estate. Several years later its began to persuade to return on a throne again, but ex-the emperor only shrugged shoulders and answered: “And what for? Look what remarkable cabbage at me grows!“

to Ancient Romans possesses a palm in promoting of cabbage. Over time they developed many recipes of preparation of borsches. For example, they for the first time began to fry beet in oil and only then to add to borsch. It impacted to soup special juicy relish.

The Roman soldiers constantly were present at the territory of the present Crimea within three centuries. They brought the grades of cabbage, beet and other vegetable cultures to this region. Thus, the first Roman borsches were cooked on the coast of the Crimea in the first century B.C.! Then on the southern border of future Russian Empire the appetizing savor ancient Roman borsches with pork and fat which entered a diet of the Roman legionaries began to soar in air.

That else was known how to cook in ancient Rome

Romans became authors of cooking in hot fan . For example, the balls from the test prepared in olive oil, then greased with honey and strewed with poppy grains were very popular.

Residents of ancient Rome for the first time began to cook for salads . The structure of the first salad was very specific: it consisted of small cut chicory, parsley and onions, all this was flavored with honey, salt, vinegar and olive oil. In other words, the first salad - the primogenitor of our modern salads - appeared more than 2000 thousand years ago!

One more innovation which reached us from ancient Rome: citizens got skilled at to cook food from chopped meat. They did round beefsteaks with a diameter of 10-12 cm and 3-4 cm thick, fried them on lattices directly on the street and sold, having put a hot cutlet on a piece of bread. Well, than not ancient Roman option of fast food ?

In antique Roman cookery all richness of seafood and fish was used . It was the food of poor people, but such food was very different and useful to an organism.

Romans loved also cheeses and dairy products and were able to prepare them at the good level. As it was already mentioned, citizens never drank whole milk, they always diluted it with water. Popular drinks were also barley water - analog of modern kvass - and the wine diluted by water. the Culture of wine growing was very developed by

in ancient Rome. The wine diluted by hot water was used as “tea“, about existence of tea in our representation Romans had no the slightest concept. Citizens treated with big contempt for beer, including its drinks of plebeians.

The cookbooks on food published in the 4th century BC narrate about a big variety of food of ancient Romans. I will notice that a diet the Roman doctors understood as the term not that it is possible or it is impossible to eat, and when that can be eaten.

If we compare our modern diet of healthy food, then it will be almost identical with food of Romans. But there are some differences in diets of rich and poor citizens. The rich preferred to eat dairy pigs, a goat`s meat, mutton, a game, seafood. Poor people ate buffalo meat. In the empire mass cultivation of this animal was adjusted.

Most in detail secrets of food of Romans are described in the recipe-book of Apition which was published in the 4th century BC. In it are in detail stated to of a basis of the Mediterranean kitchen - the most useful in the world.

Romans liked to mix various tastes: turned sour - sweet, salty. This tradition of the Mediterranean kitchen passed from father to son and remained till our time.

on What fed the Roman gladiators

If we mentally imagine the Roman gladiator, then it will be the brawny handsome man. It is possible to assume that the meat diet was a basis of its food. But it not so.

Certificates in which the diet of the Roman gladiators is described remained. It is difficult to believe in it, but they ate generally barley flat cakes and olive oil. Also wine, a fig, onions, turnip and other root crops, bean and fresh vegetables entered their diet. That is the Roman gladiators were vegetarians !

Scientists consider that the vegetarian diet helped them to remain strong, and the grease layer served as additional protection against a cold weapon at duels. Besides, gladiators had density of bones much more, than at the person eating meat.

On it our excursion to Ancient Rome comes to an end. As we could notice, already in antique times the concept of healthy food was put. It was carried out in practice. We use many culinary innovations of ancient Romans still.