Friday, May 22, 2020

Roman Kitchen

A book review. I bought this book by Jutta Meurers-Balke and Tuende Kaszab-Olchewski during my last vacation in Germany, in August 2019 and it took me about a year to read it. I would have enjoyed it much more if it were in the language I could understand better than German.

Anyway, it starts with a short introduction about Roman colonies all over the world and then switches to Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, later called CCAA, a Roman province situated somewhere between and around modern Cologne and Bonn. We get a short historical review about the life there in pre-Roman times, archeological discoveries concerning Romans, and general info about their food and meals.

Next chapter goes into great detail about Roman dining rooms, their furniture, their kitchenware and their kitchens with colour photos and drawings. We also learn about what the army ate and where they kept their oil and fish sauce.

Then the real fun starts as each food group is given its own chapter: grains and bread, legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts, meat, poultry, eggs, fish, spices, herbs, olive oil, honey and the drinks. I learned that Romans ate all sorts of nasty stuff like wolves (yes, wolves!) and that being to a great extent lactose-intolerant, they mostly consumed dairy in the form of cheese and left milk drinking to Germanic barbarians. They also had some disgusting ceremonies with wine and wine mugs in the form of (I'm sorry to say it)  Priapus (don't let your minor children google it).

Makes you wonder why the EU authorities promote this Roman stuff so much, lol!

The last chapter deals with the transition period between the Roman times and late Middle Ages, and says among other things, that a) the population switched from cereal to livestock farming and hunting and they started consuming more meat than grain (kinda goes against paleo diet theories) and b) they started drinking less alcohol due to the influence of the Church.

I'd recommend this book to everyone interested in Romans and able to read German:)

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