Foodstuffs for the Roman Legionary in the field - Printable Version

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Foodstuffs for the Roman Legionary in the field - Anonymous - 04-08-2004

Hello Caius Ambrosius here as are group XXX Legio may be going into the field this summer can anyone recommend the typical food of a legionary ie bread lentils what ever as I THINK IT WOULD BE COOL to have real Roman food. Can anyone recommend a simple roman dish thats easy to make. I am planning to bring bread cheese ,figs honey. Did the Romans have a version of Beef Jerky ?.<br>
Also does anyone know how to make Vinium? As well does anyone know were one might get a Roman pot with a Tri-pod.? Cheers Thom and thanks in Advance <p></p><i></i>

Re: Foodstuffs for the Roman Legionary in the field - Hibernicus - 04-08-2004

Roman food in the field? I'm partial to venison and salmon myself... some fresh picked apples... a nice rasher of bacon... some local cerveza...<br>
Hibernicus <p></p><i></i>

Re: Foodstuffs for the Roman Legionary in the field - Crispvs - 04-08-2004

If I recall correctly, soldiers were issued with grain every three days or so (presumably obtained by a mixture of requisitioning from the local population and organised cutting of [other people's] crops by rostered detatchments of troops) and otherwise foraged for other food to make up the diet. I suspect however, that there was probably also a highly organised logistics setup which would have seen to it that there was also some organised supply of easily transported foodstuffs for the army in the field. I suspect that meat was also requisitioned by the army from the local populace. Caesar frequently talks of burning villages and one suspects that if he was happy to deprive the locals of their homes in order to intimidate their neighbours, he would also have been likely to appropriate their livestock as well.<br>
I think more work needs to be done on logistics in the Roman army (or perhaps I am just so obsessed with daggers and helmets that I have failed to notice the work that may already have been done).<br>
Crispvs <p></p><i></i>

Re: Foodstuffs for the Roman Legionary in the field - richsc - 04-09-2004

If your German is good you can pick up Junkelmann's book on Roman army food. <p>Legio XX<br>
Caput dolet, pedes fetent, Iesum non amo<br>

Re: Foodstuffs for the Roman Legionary in the field - Anonymous - 04-09-2004

Crispus, check out John Peddie's book, The Roman War Machine. He probably answers all the questions you have about logistics, plus a few you haven't thought of yet. I think the general conclusion is that an army carried the vast majority of its food with it whenever possible. Very little would be foraged except fodder, firewood, and water. Roman armies were so large in comparison to the local population that counting on the next village to supply your troops was often a good way to starve. Certainly they'd pick up fresh fruits and veggies whenever possible, but often these were sold to the men by camp followers, or at market fairs set up by whatever towns the army was passing (or camping near).<br>
Caius, Crispus is right that troops were issued grain, which they ground on little stone hand mills, one per contubernium (8-man tent unit). They might alternatively be issued flour or hardtack (bucellatum)--there's a recipe on the Mess Gear page of the Legio XX site,<br>
Salted meat or bacon were also issued, plus lentils or dried beans, oil, and cheese.<br>
Clean your plate, or no dessert! Valete,<br>
Matthew/Quintus <p></p><i></i>

Re: Foodstuffs for the Roman Legionary in the field - Vincula - 04-09-2004

Quote:</em></strong><hr>Caput dolet, pedes fetent, Iesum non amo<hr><br>
Looks like RichSC has just swallowed a Latin dictionary. <p></p><i></i>

Re: Foodstuffs for the Roman Legionary in the field - Hibernicus - 04-09-2004

... and no yellow cheese.<br>

Garum - John Maddox Roberts - 04-09-2004

Roman soldiers (at least the Italian ones) would certainly have carried garum with them. Check Roman Civ Talk (you can click on the link at the top of the RAT homepage) for our discussion on the horrors of garum. <p></p><i></i>

Re: Garum - Vincula - 04-09-2004

Don't forget pizza and pasta. <p></p><i></i>

Re: Garum - Anonymous - 04-09-2004

NO GARUM!!!<br>
That's disgusting.<br>
We'll stick with simple things like fruits, some salted beef, cheese, and some of Matt's Hardtack. <p>Magnus/Matt<br>
Legio XXX "Ulpia Victrix"<br>
Niagara Falls, Canada</p><i></i>

Re: Garum - richsc - 04-09-2004

Yup, Worcestershire sauce is fermented fish sauce, we found out by looking everywhere for a modern equivalent. This was recreated by a Brit coming back from India where the stuff is also brewed. Lea & Perrins may not be accurate as it's "watered down" for mass consumption, but you can buy other varieties. <p>Legio XX<br>
Caput dolet, pedes fetent, Iesum non amo<br>

Re: Garum - aitor iriarte - 04-09-2004

Oh, c'mon Rich,<br>
We should mention the Tiparos fish sauce!<br>
Worcestershire sauce maybe has only in common with garum that both are made of fermented fish, but Worcestershire is fermented in vinegar and not in salt, like garum...<br>
Tiparos fish sauce is fermented much like garum was, but somebody has called it 'armpit sauce'... On the other hand, Lea&Perrins is quite edible, I've become an adict to it in the last months...<br>
About hardtack, I'd advise to bake it twice. I only baked once my first batch and it got a somewhat rancid flavour in two months, even if it remained (and remains) as hard as the first day! I'm proud of my second batch, it tastes like two months ago (I've chewn a little just one minute ago... aching teeth, ouch!) I'd only like to have had a stamp to brand it COH.I.GALL.!<br>
Aitor <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=>Aitor Iriarte</A> at: 4/9/04 8:32 pm<br></i>

Re: Garum - Anonymous - 04-09-2004

I LOVE Worchestershire sauce. I use it in all of my concoctions. However, it's a far smell from what Garum in the Roman sense is. I found this realyl cool article on it:<br>
<strong>Food History<br>
The original Roman Garum was not an attractive condiment. Lets face it, to the average, lily-livered stomach of modern man, there can be few things more revolting than the thought of a squirt of fermented fish guts over your patatas, which is basically what garum was. Even for the entrails-loving Romans, the smell of garum during the process of fermentation was said to be so foul that the common folk were actually outlawed from making it in their own homes. Regardless, it was beloved by all from the loftiest courts to the lowliest hovels and they slathered it with wild abandon over everything from sea urchins to stuffed flamingos and dormice.<br>
None of this comes as much surprise when you consider that we are talking about a civilisation whose idea of a good pre-dinner appetizer and incidentally, sexual stimulant, was to place a live fish in front of you and watch with rapt wonder (and a growing hard-on) as it turned all the pretty colours of the rainbow while slowly and presumably painfully suffocating to death. These are also the people who popularised bulimia in an effort to extend feasting and rampant orgies long into the night. Nope, there’s no doubt about it, they knew how to lay on a good party.<br>
But were they great cooks? It is fair to say they weren’t bad, and with Roman inspired delicacies currently undergoing something of a revival there has never been a better time to wow the inevitable summer influx of guests with toga theme parties, some authentic-ish nibbles and some sparkling gastronomic anecdotes.<br>
Mad as it may sound given the above, garum was indeed king of the kitchen; as common among ancient Greek and Roman foodies as posh Maldon salt is today, and used liberally by the peasants much as modern-day teenagers use tomato ketchup – on anything and everything.<br>
Like Maldon, Atlantic sea salt and the common table variety garum had its own culinary hierarchy. Different grades of this fishy sauce varied in pungency according to how much blood and guts were included in the base besides the flesh and the salt. Mackerel, the base of true garum, was considered the best. Second grade was muria, made from tuna fish, and the third, poor mans liquamen was made from any old flapper found at the bottom of the net.<br>
Which brings us to the question, what’s Barcelona got to do with it? Barcino, as it was then, had one of the most important fish salting industry’s in the Mediterranean – indeed, it was one of the few things that Barcelona was any good for at a time when the town itself was little more than a backwater with a bog and Tarragona was the commercial centre of Roman Catalunya. Regardless, according to the great Roman scholar, Pliny, the garum made in Barcelona was considered the best money could buy. He even gave his name to it.<br>
Made using the fresh spilled blood of the still-beating heart of a live mackerel, Pliny Garum was afterwards mixed with the creature’s entrails, salted and left to rot in the sun, until, weeks later when the solids were putrefied nicely a bad tempered, but much revered goo emerged. Finally, the Garum was strained, bottled and ready to use.<br>
But Pliny wasn’t the only Roman A-lister to focus his attention on garum. The poet Martial, a vicious first century satirist, directed much of his poisonous scribbling’s towards bitching about the eating habits of those in court, “Tucca, it’s not enough for you to be a glutton –“ he once said. “You have to be called one, and to look like one.â€ÂÂ

Garum thread from Roman Civilian Talk forum - richsc - 04-09-2004

<br> <p></p><i></i>

Hard Tack - Anonymous - 04-10-2004

Thai Fish Sauce is an acceptable substitute for the original. Mmmmm, tasty! <p></p><i></i>