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Basic Food For Ordinary people

Hearty Food For Country People Has Changed Little in the Last Two Millennia

Food for the common people consisted of wheat or barley, olive oil. a little fish, wine, home grown vegetables, and if they were lucky enough to own a goat or cow or chickens, cheese and a few eggs. The grain was ground into flour and baked into loaves of bread. Plaster casts of Roman bread from Pompeii can be seen today exactly as they came from the oven 1913 years ago. These loaves are almost identical to the round Italian loaves that can be bought today at a market in Italy (or Great Britain or the USA.) Roman soldiers carried their grain and flour grindstones with them on the march. With a little olive oil they made pasta and baked bread in the evenings after a 20 or 24 mile daily march. (The efficiency and highly organized distribution of duties within the Roman army camp is the subject for several chapters in several volumes.) The Roman peasants got very little meat and did not seem to miss it much. Roman legionaries in Britain under Agricola actually complained of having to eat meat when the grain supply ran low. Occasionally a little meat was used but it was considered by many Romans to be "barbarian food."

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