Ancient Romans preferred fast food
The average ancient Roman ate on the run and didn’t wine and dine in decadence and formality like the elite in Rome, says a British archaeologist.
Dr Penelope Allison of the University of Leicester presents her findings in a new book detailing the excavation of an entire neighbourhood block in Pompeii.
Pompeii is a city frozen in time after the eruption of volcano Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Historians often extend findings from Pompeii to other parts of Italy, particularly Rome, given the city’s proximity to the Roman Empire’s centre.
“In many parts of the western world today, a popular belief exists that family members should sit down and dine together and, if they don’t, this may represent a breakdown of the family structure, but that idea did not originate in ancient Rome,” says Allison.
Her claims are based both on what she did not find during the excavation, and what she did.
Allison noticed an unusual lack of tableware and formal dining or kitchen areas within the Pompeii homes. Instead she found isolated plates here and there, such as in sleeping quarters.