February 7, 2010

What would the Romans have eaten on Superbowl Sunday?

Since I am frantically writing up this chapter on the ancient Roman diet from C/N isotope analysis on what happens to be the day of the biggest annual sports celebration in America, I wondered what the Romans would eat were they transported here and plopped in the middle of our modern version of a colosseum. The Romans were quite fond of snack food, at least judging by the histories and the presence of thermopoliae (a sort of pub/fast food joint) at Pompeii. I don't actually know if they would snack while watching games or sports, but they certainly snacked at the baths according to Seneca (Epistolae 56), who commented on the cacophony of "the cake-seller with his varied cries, the sausage man, the confectioner, and all the intonations of the vendors of food hawking their wares." It would not surprise me at all if the Romans originated the tradition of brats-and-beer at the ballpark, as it were.

So if you're still looking for interesting things to cook for your superbowl party, why not try the Roman version of brats, some stuffed dormice (preferably on a stick), or a pizza made with a base of chickpea pancake? Don't forget, of course, to wash this all down with muslum, a wine and honey concoction similar to mead. And go local sports team and/or college!

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