Dining Like the Ancients
While laying down to eat isn't necessarily feasible, and you probably won't find dormice at your local grocery store, having a Roman dinner party can still make for a fun evening!
If you are in a book club reading my novel, you can request a copy of my companion digital cookbook, A TASTE OF FEAST OF SORROW.
Here are a few other cookbooks and sites that I highly recommend:
The Philosopher's Kitchen by Francine Segan (the recipes in this cookbook would best appeal to modern palates)
Cooking Apicius by Sally Grainger
Roman Cookery: Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens by Mark Grant
The Classical Cookbook by Andrew Dalby
A Taste of Ancient Rome by Illaria Gozzini Giacosa
If you want to make your dinner seem a little more authentic, keep the following in mind:
- Roman dinner parties usually had nine people who reclined on a three sided couch situated around three tables. The number nine symbolized the nine muses.
- Diners brought their own napkins to the party.
- Forks are a Renaissance invention. Most ancient Romans ate with their hands or had spoons with a pointed handle. The pointed handle allowed them to spear meats or open shellfish easier. Foods brought to the table were cut by a scissor slave before being served.
- The ancient Romans wore wreaths of laurel and other trees around their heads as they believed it would help stave off drunkenness.
- Wine was not served with the meal, but after the meal.
- The meal might have been accompanied by a lyre or flute player.
- Roman meals always started with some sort of egg dish, or maybe even just hard boiled eggs and always ended with fruit (grapes, apples, figs).
- Romans would throw food scraps on the floor as offerings to the household ghosts. The slave that cleaned it up was considered to be extremely unlucky for taking the food from the ghosts. You might want to skip this tradition if you prefer a clean floor!