Classics professor unearths archaeological clues about ancient Roman vineyards
They may not look like much to the untrained eye, but these ancient Roman grape seeds, believed to back to the 1st century A.D., could provide “a real breakthrough” in the understanding of the history of Chianti vineyards in the area, de Grummond says.
The first course at Roman dinner banquets was called either the Gustatio or the Promulsio. It was similar to a modern day appetizer and consisted of salad, eggs, fish, and sweetened wine. The next course was called the Prima Mensa, which in itself had six main dishes. In this course, a variety of meat, fish, and poultry was served.
Before the Romans learned of lemons, they used sumac for its sour and pleasantly astringent taste. They called it Syrian sumac. Sumac berries are picked, dried and ground into a coarse powder before being used in the cooking process. This powder is used to flavor salad dressings, meats, rice dishes and kebobs. Sumac can also be mixed with other vegetables such as onions and use
Though not much used as a spice today, laurel berries were a very common spice in Ancient Roman times and many Roman recipes call for the use of 'laurel berries'. Interestingly, the English term 'bay' referring to the tree originates from the Middle English baye (Old French baie), which derives from the Latin bacca 'berry' and originally referred to the fruit. The name laurel derives from laurus, the Latin name for the bay tree.
Hops plants were mentioned by the Roman writer Pliny in the first century A.D. as a popular garden plant and vegetable whose young spring shoots were sold in markets and eaten like asparagus. By the ninth century, the hops plant was used in brewing throughout most of Europe for its clearing, flavoring and preserving qualities. Today most home garden hops growers are cultivating them because they make their own home brew. However like the early Romans, stems can still be steamed and eat...