Armed with the 2,000-year-old recipe book Apicius and the passions of culinary historians Andrew Dalby and chef Sally Grainger, The Getty Villa prepared a menu that mirrored an ancient Roman banquet last night. The museum took Malibu to a time and place where prized spices were not purchased at Penzy's, but laboriously shipped from remote locations halfway around the world; when sugar was prescribed in small amounts by doctors, cinnamon was nearly impossible to locate and worth its weight in gold, and it was common practice to stuff a boar with the meat of at least five other animals and feast on whole porpoises. While Roman commoners enjoyed a booming street food scene, the society's privileged population rallied for rich banquets. Few utilized and benefited from these celebrations quite like Julius Caesar, who was honored as much for his generous, debt-incurring hospitality as he was for sobriety and moderation in an age of gluttony. Come with us as we take a look at the foods of ancient Rome in a slideshow exploration of The Getty's Villa's At The Roman Table.
The Getty Villa's Herb Garden
The Scene of Last Night's Roman Banquet
Culinary Historian Andrew Dalby
Detailed how the Romans sourced from almost every part of their massive empire for a banquet, with nuts coming from Turkey, spices from India, and seafood from the Greek isles. Roman generals were oftentimes great farmers as well, who brought numerous species of plants back to Italy to be nurtured.
The Romans were also huge proponents of eating locally and could discourse at length on which nearby farms and regions raised the best meats and produce.
Crudites with sweet-and-sour egg and leek sauce
In addition to far-flung spices, central to cuisine in Roman times was a fish sauce known as liquamen, which acted as a flavor enhancer and was found in just about every dish served last night.
Roman banquets were all about sensual pleasures and their appetite for wine is legendary. Romans planted grapevines throughout Europe, but at the height of their civilization, wines from Italy, Greece, and Sicily were among the most prized.
Calf's Kidney Stuffed with coriander, fennel seeds, and pine nuts and Chicken Meatballs with dill and a rice-infused sauce.
In the first century A.D., it was fashionable in Roman society to prepare "disguised" foods, such as meats stuffed with other meats and delicacies as a surprise.
Oysters with Oenogarum
The oysters go terrifically with this definitive Roman mixture of sweet wine and fish sauce.
A traditional white spelt loaf, with crossed markings similar to those found on carbonized loafs on Mount Vesuvius.
Sea Bass Fillets in Green Herb Sauce
Fennel, coriander, mint, rue, lovage, honey, oil and black pepper would mostly all have to be brought to Rome through laborious shipping methods to make a dish such as this.
Zucchini Stuffed with Calf's Sweetbreads
Dressed with oenogarum
Whole Stuffed Roasted Pig
The piece de resistance, this whole pig was stuffed with chicken, pork, pheasant, duck, lucanica sausage, cabbage, leeks, dates, celery, eggs, pine nuts, and breadcrumbs, spiced with cumin, oregano, thyme, parsley, pepper, and fish sauce.
With coriander and honey-vinegar dressing. As this salad looked so contemporary, we questioned Dalby as to its authenticity. He said this would absolutely be a typical Roman salad served during the Empire's reign. However, he did squash the notion of intentional purging after a meal as a base anomaly, more than a common practice.
With almonds, walnuts, hazlenuts, poppy seeds, sesame, honey, and black pepper, none of which could be found at Trader Joe's at that time.
Honey-Infused Cake with Apricot Patina
Full Moon over The Getty Villa
Most Viewed Stories
Tim Hortons Rolls Out Monstrous ‘Buffalo Crunch’ Doughnut
An All-Nutella Restaurant Will Open in Park Slope
36 New Restaurants Opening This Fall
The 20 Best Nightlife Picks for Fall
There’s a Real Friends Central Perk Coming to Lower Manhattan
Search by name
Or, search by
Latest News on Grub StreetLabor Day at M. Wells; Erica Jong at Contrada
Today's Leftovers.There’s a Real Friends Central Perk Coming to Lower Manhattan
It's the perfect place to go if it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.You Can Now Get Mission Cantina’s Full Menu Delivered
Chicken wings and beef-tongue tacos and spare ribs.Subway Inn's Eviction Order Blocked Yet Again
Now head over there right now and get a celebratory beer.Cool New Restaurant Opens in Lower Manhattan This Weekend
Discerning patrons will want to try the $300 Dom-and-pancakes special.Dairy Queen Served a Chemical-Cleaner-Laced Milkshake to a Kid
The tainted drink made the 7-year-old's mouth start "bubbling."Corn Dogs and Peach Pie Concretes Return to Shake Shack This Weekend
Also, it's your last chance to get a pint of Shack X IPA.Brooklyn Fare Manhattan Is Two Light Fixtures Away From Opening After a Chef Shuffle
The original Brooklyn location will close while César Ramirez concentrates on the new location.New Report Finds 40% of Restaurant Workers Live in Near Poverty
Workers outside the industry make almost twice as much.The Other Critics: Reviews of Batard, Root & Bone, and élan
This week's roundup.
The Canadian chain is serving a prototype doughnut with spicy crushed tortillas and a pool of Buffalo-wing sauce in the center.Curry Night at Achilles Heel; Special Coffee at Joe
Today's Leftovers.This? Just an Excellent Walter White Portrait Made With Ketchup
"Heinz-enberg."Dirty French Opens September 2
The tarte au citron will be made with preserved lemons.5 Things Alex Stupak Learned About Tacos al Pastor in Mexico
The biggest takeaways that the New York chef will apply to his own version of the iconic street food.Uber Begins Testing 10-Minute Food Delivery
Maybe prepare for $35 surge-priced chicken-noodle soup.Small Town Isn’t So Sure It Wants to Host Giant Party for 1,000 Bud Light Fans
They certainly don't want the beer company to paint all of its lampposts electric blue.French Chefs Launched a Petition to Ban Negative Online Reviews
More than 1,700 people have signed it.An All-Nutella Restaurant Will Open in Park Slope
It just has to outpace Nutella manufacturer Ferrero's spry legal team first.Burger King Will Pay $11.4 Billion for Tim Hortons
And that figure isn't even in Canadian dollars.
It's a cold, cold world.Dough Doughnuts and Ample Hills Ice Cream at Murray’s Cheese; Friday Brunch at Bustan
Today's Leftovers.What to Eat at This Year’s U.S. Open
The concessions this year include the debut of the U.S. Open's first grounds-sanctioned food truck.Arby’s Latest Meat Monstrosity Is Aptly Named the ‘Meat Mountain’
Eight meats, two cheeses, no container large enough to hold it.Little Caesars Will Roll Out Pretzel-Crust Pizzas Nationwide Next Week
Pizza and pretzel, now in holy, fast-food union, for $6 a pop.Famous West Village Bar Chumley’s Should Be Reopening Any Month Now
It's been closed for seven years.Tiny Bistro Faces Backlash After Removing 'Insensitive' Bacon Sign
One guy's pretty sure "the First Amendment extends to bacon."Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich Will Take Over La Bottega in the Maritime Hotel
Let's all take a trip to "terraced hillsides of Positano."Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi Aim to Change the Fast-Food Game With Loco’l
A healthy alternative.Wine Losses From Northern California Quake Will Likely Total Millions
Some wine producers lost dozens of barrels, while others lost just a few bottles.
Doughnut Whoppers are this much closer to being a real thing.Team Torrisi’s High Line Restaurant Will Be Big on Fish and Veggies, Less So on Meat
Because while researching the history of the area, the team discovered these two things.Birds & Bubbles to Open Next Month, With a $55 Fried Chicken and Champagne Split Special
“Champagne is one of the best pairings for food overall.”The 20 Best Nightlife Picks for Fall
Ibiza parties, aerialists, and the new darts bar around the corner.36 New Restaurants Opening This Fall
A look at the season's most anticipated spots.Long Island’s Other Jewish Ramen Savant Explains How Mu Ramen Came To Be
Smookler and his wife will open the restaurant this fall.Fall Preview: Mexican-Restaurant News
Including Alegre, Rosie's, and Tacuba.Maiz Start-up Masienda Supplies Tortilla-Crazed Chefs With Exotic Breeds of Mexican Corn
Mexican-food mavens will soon progress from asking “Where do you get your tortillas?” to “Where do you get the corn for your tortillas?”Enrique Olvera to Serve ‘Single-Origin’ Tortillas at Cosme, Opening Next Week
“Because without a good tortilla, you can’t have a good restaurant. It’s everything.”Al Pastor Tacos Will Be the Main Attraction at Alex Stupak’s Empellón al Pastor, Opening Next Month
The idea is to strip everything down to the bare minimum.
Today's Leftovers.A Twitter Bot Is Helping the Chicago DOH Shut Down Dirty Restaurants
"Sorry to hear you're ill," it will tweet at you. "The Chicago health department can help."Chefs Club by Food & Wine Opens This Fall With Talent From Le Pigeon, Frasca Food and Wine, and More
Superstar chef Didier Elena is on the pass.Fast-Food-Toy Ban Could Be Very Effective
It's all about the free barbie.This Beijing Restaurant Claims to Serve the World’s Spiciest Rice Noodles
The sauce is 125 times spicier than Tabasco.Russia Doesn’t Quite Grasp the Concept of Jack Daniel’s Honey Liqueur
It's particularly bad news for Jack-drinking residents of the Ural mountains.Commodore Chef Stephen Tanner to Serve Mexican Barbecue and Buckets of Fried Chicken at El Cortez ... Maybe
“I’m going to wait till the day before it opens before I make a decision.”Teamsters Say That Reports of Top Chef Threats Are ‘Fiction at Best’
Republicans demand Democrats return the union's campaign donations.Jack Nicholson Dines With the Baldwins at Nick & Toni’s; Rihanna Drinks at the Bowery Hotel
This week's roundup.Josh Lucas Starts Each Day With Café Grumpy’s Biscuits, Feasts at Hometown Bar-B-Que
"I topped of a day of burgers with a Black Angus burger."