Forum Holitorium

Month: June, 2012

What the Romans Ate (According to Langenscheidt)

Today’s Latin review involved putting syllables together to make eight words that describe what the Romans ate. Let’s start with what I don’t eat:

1. piscis – fish

2. garum – fermented fish sauce

3. caro – meat

Now for what I DO consume:

4. vinum – wine

5. pomum – fruit

6. holus – vegetables or pot-herbs

7. panis – bread

8. frumentum – grains

The final two foods did not figure in the mosaics in Cologne and Aquileia that I visited this spring; I find this quite interesting because they were probably the most important sources of energy. The boundaries of Rome did not expand because the soldiers ate meat but because they ate gruel made from cereals. Perhaps it was too quotidian – would any of us make a mosaic of toast and jam?

As a bonus, here are two more pictures of what the Romans ate:

fungi – mushrooms

cocleae – snails

June Blooms Mostly Yellow and White

The calendula seed had hid herself well. The gardener had no idea that she was so hardy, had such endurance. Last year she did not sprout and grow but lay in wait as the other plants reach toward the heavens. Gathering her strength, she let others hog the limelight, waiting patiently for her time in the sun.

We’re enjoying the direct sunlight and soundtrack of birds as best we can because our days of freedom are numbered. Soon enough we’ll be dried on a rack in the warm oven then deposited in a glass jar in the dark pantry. Some dreary winter day, we’ll be scalded by boiling water and our essence will leach out. But what can you do? Such is the lot of chamomile.

Such juicy, tender chili blossoms. This is a great place for an aphid to be fruitful and multiply. Oh no, here comes a finger! The party’s over…

Ground cherries galore, ground cherries galore, we want more, we want more!

Yellow will give way to a green that brightens to orange then cherry Roma red.

Ruta, my rue: this is the first time you’ve bloomed!

Not everything blooms yellow and white, but my timing was poor and I missed capturing the dramatic red of the poppies.

Enjoy the ephemeral in the green near you!