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Foods and Culinary Utensils of the Ancients

Sausages were imported from Gaul


_First Course._

Conger Eels Oysters Two kinds of Mussels Thrushes on Asparagus Fat Fowls Ragout of Oysters and other Shellfish with black and white Maroons.

_Second Course._

Shellfish and other Marine Products Beccaficos Haunches of Venison Wild Boar Pastry of Beccaficos and other Birds.

_Third Course._

Sow's Udder Boar's Head Fricassee of Fish Fricassee of Sow's Udders Various kinds of ducks Roast Fowl Hares Sausages Roast Pig Peacocks

_Fourth Course._

Pastry in wonderfully elaborate forms and colors Pirentine bread

_Fifth Course._

Fruits and wines.

The "gustus," or appetizer, was also variously known as the "gustatio." A favorite drink served with it was a mulsum of Hymetian honey and Falernian wine.

Toothpicks made from the leaves of the mastich pistachio were in common use.

All the dishes were carved at the sideboards by expert carvers who were trained in schools by practice on jointed wooden models.

Salt was much used in the flavoring of dishes and also to mingle with sacrifices.

[Illustration: A Roman bakery.]

Fowls were fattened in the dark. Ducks and geese were fed on figs and dates. Pigs were cooked in fifty different ways. Boars were cooked whole; peacocks with their tails. Sausages were imported from Gaul.

Vitellius and Apicius feasted on the tongues of flamingoes, and Elagabalus on their brains.

The greater the waste at a dinner, the more absurd the extravagance, the more successful it was deemed. This idea was carried out in every department. A mullet of ordinary size was cheap--one that was rather heavy easily brought 6,000 sesterces ($240.00).

[Illustration: Frame work of a Roman dining couch.]

In order to lengthen the time, jugglers, rope-dancers, buffoons and actors were introduced between courses. Beautiful Andalusian girls charmed the dinners with their voluptuous dances. Even gladiators were engaged. Games of chance concluded the entertainment when the condition of the revellers permitted.

At any large affair, an archon, or toastmaster, was selected by ballot or acclamation. His duty it was to regulate the proportions of water and wine and the size of the cups in which it was served. It was usual to commence with the smallest and end with the largest.

At the table, the somber togas were exchanged for gay-colored garments (_syntheses_), and the shoes for sandals. Some of the more ostentatious changed their costumes several times during the progress of a meal. The head and breast were sometimes wreathed with flowers and ornaments.

The tables first used were of quadrangular shape--three sides being decorated for the guests and the fourth left vacant to facilitate the movements of the attendants. They, however, were soon supplanted by small tables of marble, bronze or citrus. These and a large sideboard supported an amount of heavy gold and silver utensils.


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