The arrangement of people's places on the couches was very important to the Romans. Usually nine people would be at a table but more would be squished in if needed. The host would recline on the top left couch with his wife and eldest son beside him. The most important guest sat on the middle couch beside the host. The other five guests were arranged according to status. If other poorer people were invited, the host might make them sit at different tables. They might even eat different food than the wealthy.
The preparation of food for these meals was very elaborate. Some wealthy people hired cooks to make their food. They also bought exotic foods that came from all over the empire. By the time the food got to them, however, some of it was rotten or did not taste very good. The cooks used a strong fish sauce to cover up the taste.
Some delicacies that were served were peacock and ostrich eggs, octopuses, sea urchins, and quails. Rabbits, poultry, boar, pig, and calf were main entrees. Wide varieties of fruit were eaten as appetizers such as grapes, pears, apples, oranges, pineapples, dates, and limes. Cooks raised dormice in large jars and fattened them until they were ready to eat. Figs, olives, and raw vegetables were also served.
For the conclusion of this story, click here Ancient_Roman_Dining part 3
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