Station: [21] Food and Drink

  • Food and Drink

Most Romans used Terra Sigillata, decorative lead-glazed earthenware known as slipware or fineware pottery as tableware. Only the very wealthy had glassware or dishes made of silver or other metals. All meals were prepared as bite-sized portions and served on plates, dishes or in bowls. Small bowls or cups of garum, a fermented fish sauce, or other spices were served on the side, so that diners could season the food to their individual tastes. With their meal, people in the provinces drank a mixture of water and wine from clay cups. Even far from home, the Romans did not do without their traditional cuisine. From the south, they introduced wine, olive oil, fish sauces, fruits, spices and pepper to northern Europe. Such exotic foodstuffs remained the preserve of a small, wealthy upper class. But in the course of the long Roman occupation, the eating and drinking habits of the locals in the Provinces gradually changed. The auxiliary soldiers and the residents of the surrounding settlement mostly ate simple food. The most common dish was a kind of porridge made from grains that had been crushed between grinding stones and then boiled with water. Mortars were used to prepare spice mixtures or dairy products. In the civilian settlement, people also ate the produce of their own gardens, such as legumes, vegetables and fruit. These were supplemented with staples from the surrounding farms. From time to time, but certainly not regularly, there would have been some fish or meat.