News (Ancient) Dinner At Piso's

Bestiola

Speculatrix
Staff member
Courtesy of Scrabulista, since by some miraculous fate my connection is actually working now:

Let's pretend it is 56 B.C. and you have been fortunate enough to be invited to a party at the home of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, a great social coup. Piso, after all, was Julius Caesar's father-in-law and a consul of Rome.
What's for dinner?
You need to prepare for pig. Archaeologists studying the eating habits of ancient Etruscans and Romans have found that pork was the staple of Italian cuisine before and during the Roman Empire. Both the poor and the rich ate pig as the meat of choice, although the rich, like Piso, got better cuts, ate meat more often and likely in larger quantities.
They had pork chops and a form of bacon. They even served sausages and prosciutto; in other words, a meal not unlike what you'd find in Rome today -- or in South Philadelphia.


http://www.insidescience.org/content/dinner-pisos/2536
 

limetrees

Civis Illustris
I've seen a programme on Pompeii that said (based on what they found in the sewers) that it was fish, all kinds of fish, that was the staple, (maybe along with wheat?).
 

Bestiola

Speculatrix
Staff member
I've seen a programme on Pompeii that said (based on what they found in the sewers) that it was fish, all kinds of fish, that was the staple, (maybe along with wheat?).
I've seen that too...well it could be that it differed a bit in Pompeii when compared to Rome, but I've also seen some documentaries which claimed poorer people were more or less suffering from anaemia and other nutrition deficiencies which would mean pork wasn't so much available. Still, despite that, they seem to have been better nourished than some of their descendants today.

How well nourished were they? A third of the population was anaemic, judging from analysis of 139 skeletons in Herculaneum. The poor seem to have eaten virtually no meat, leaving their bones depleted in zinc. Skeletons from all classes also show signs of lead poisoning – possibly because the local wine was dosed with lead to make it keep better. For the most part, however, their strong teeth and bones indicate people who were better fed and taller than the equivalent population in modern Naples. All those fruits, nuts, fish and olive oil must have done them some good.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/pompeii/9850077/Pompeii-exhibition-the-food-and-drink-of-the-ancient-Roman-cities.html
 
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