"Molon’s first action was to feed him that evening a bowl of hard-boiled eggs with anchovy sauce"
Roman meals are famous for including some very strange foods, but in fact, the average Roman’s diet may not have looked so very odd to our eyes, consisting mainly of boiled vegetables, cheese, bread, fruit and fish. In particular, the Romans loved a fish sauce called garum
, made from fermented fish guts and enjoyed with a variety of foods in much the same way as modern ketchup. Wealthier Romans, it is true, are reported to have sampled some more bizarre offerings, including lark’s tongues and dormice. In Petronius’ Satyricon
, the ex-slave Trimalchio, desperate to appear as sophisticated and cultured as his freeborn peers, serves up such elaborate delicacies as live birds sewn up inside a pig.
In 2009, the British chef Heston Blumenthal re-created some of the weirder Roman dishes described in ancient sources for an extreme cookery programme on Channel 4. Watch him make 'the Trojan Hog' here.
Find out more about Roman food from Channel 4 here.
The BBC’s ‘Supersizers Eat’ series also featured Sue Perkins and Giles Coren sampling some of Rome’s stranger servings. Explore some Roman recipes from the BBC here.
More Roman recipes at Squidoo.
Fresco from Pompeii: Fruit Still Life - Credit: Wikimedia Commons