Fish Gut Sauce To Vomitoriums, 6 Odd Food Habits Of Ancient Rome

If you think pineapple on pizza is a controversial food combination, get ready to take a wild gastronomic journey back in time to ancient Rome for food habits that would give even the most adventurous eaters a run for their money. 

Ancient Rome was a civilisation known for its grandeur, conquests, and sophisticated culture. One aspect that played a significant role in Roman society was their food culture. The Romans placed great importance on dining as a social and cultural event. They enjoyed elaborate feasts and had their own unique culinary customs. While some of their food habits may seem peculiar by today's standards, they offer fascinating insights into the ancient Roman way of life.

Food played a pivotal role in ancient Rome, where they took their taste buds on a wild chariot ride. For the wealthy, it wasn't just about fulfilling a necessity, it was an extravagant affair of culinary conquests and gastronomic delights. The Romans had a profound appreciation for all things edible, from the humblest of peas to the grandest of feasts. They believed that a well-fed citizen was a happy citizen.

Their tables were laden with delicacies from across the vast empire, making it a veritable foodies paradise. It was a time when a plump grape could inspire poetry, and a well-cooked fish could bring tears of joy to even the grumpiest senator. So, next time you savour a slice of pizza or indulge in a plate of spaghetti, remember that the ancient Romans would have given you a thumbs-up for your culinary choices.

Horizontal Feasting And Vomitoriums

Romans would recline on couches while dining and use their fingers to pick up food from shared platters. This practice reflected their belief in the convivial nature of meals and the enjoyment of communal dining experiences. Additionally, the concept of vomitoriums, popularly believed to be rooms where Romans purged themselves to make room for more food, is a misconception. Vomitoriums were actually the entrances or exits of large amphitheatres, and the Romans did not engage in intentional vomiting during their feasts.

Fish Gut Suprise

Garum was a condiment that held a special place in the ancient Roman culinary world. Made from fermented fish guts, it was widely used as a seasoning and flavour enhancer. Romans would pour garum on almost anything they ate, ranging from vegetables to meat. Despite its pungent smell and strong taste, it was considered a delicacy. In fact, garum production was a significant industry in ancient Rome, with different qualities and varieties available to suit various palates.

Mice Are Nice!

Dormice, small rodents resembling squirrels, were considered a delicacy in ancient Rome. These plump creatures were bred in special enclosures called glirariums. They were fattened with chestnuts and other delicacies before being cooked and served. Romans enjoyed the tender meat of dormice, often stuffing them with a mixture of minced pork, herbs, and spices. This peculiar culinary preference demonstrates the Romans' desire for novelty and exotic flavours.

A Cheesy Love Affair

Moretum was a unique cheese spread that found favour with the ancient Romans. Made by blending cheese, garlic, herbs, olive oil, and vinegar, this spread was typically consumed with bread. Moretum was not only a tasty treat but also believed to have medicinal properties. It was considered an aphrodisiac and was often associated with love and fertility. The Romans even composed poems praising the virtues of this cheese concoction.

Mulsum: Wine with a Twist

Wine was an integral part of Roman culture, and the Romans had their own innovative way of enjoying it. Mulsum was a popular wine-based drink infused with honey and various spices. It was served at banquets and feasts, often as a starter to stimulate the appetite. Mulsum offered a unique blend of flavours, combining the sweetness of honey with the rich taste of wine. It exemplifies the Romans' penchant for experimenting with different ingredients.

Garum Mousse: An Unusual Dessert

While garum was primarily used as a savoury condiment, the Romans also had a sweet version of it. Garum mousse was a dessert made by whisking garum with honey, pepper, and wine until it reached a fluffy consistency. It was then chilled and served as a sweet treat. This peculiar dessert choice showcases the Romans' ability to transform even the most unexpected ingredients into delectable dishes.