Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Romans Were Foodies

Jean-Francois Revel's book Culture and Cuisine quotes a Roman poet named Juvenal, who wrote in about the 4th Century:

"There are great numbers of those . . . who have no other reason to live than the satisfaction of their palate.

"He who serves the choicest and best fare is the deepest in debt among them, and can see ruin already awaiting him . . . Meanwhile, however, cost never stands in the way of their fancy."
Revel also makes this observation:

Certain sumptuary laws even decreed that dinners be given with the doors open so that the police could check on what was served, and a certain consul declared that he was unable to dine out for fear of being obliged to summon his hosts for questioning the next day!

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