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Secrets of Lost Empires

Real Roman Recipes
by Carla Raimer

. . . for a day at the baths

Roman baths were much more than public places to bathe. They also were social centers where friends, families, and business colleagues came to meet—and to eat.

Snack food and drink were an essential part of these gatherings, with Roman philosopher Seneca writing of the noisy "cake sellers, the sausage man and confectioner" who each hawked food to hungry bath patrons.

To give you a flavor of food that Romans may have eaten at the baths, we have reprinted ancient recipes, most of which come from Apicius, a Roman chef who lived about 2,000 years ago. We also include modern interpretations of these ancient recipes from two books: A Taste of Ancient Rome by Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa and The Classical Cookbook by Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger. As the Romans today say, buon appetito.

Carla Raimer is Associate Producer of NOVA Online.

The Classical Cookbook By Andrew Dalby & Sally Grainger. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

A Taste of Ancient Rome By Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa. Translated by Anna Herklotz. The University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Daily Life in Ancient Rome By Jerome Carcopino. Translated by E. O. Lorimer. Edited by Henry T. Rowell. Yale University Press, 1940.

Cooking and Dining in Imperial Rome By Apicius. Edited and translated by Joseph Dommers Vehling. Dover Publications Inc., 1977.

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