What Did People in Pompeii Eat?

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Common foods that people ate in Pompeii, Italy, include grains and breads, cheeses, fish, beans, lentils, olives, figs, plums, grapes, nuts, poppy, eggs, chicken, ham and other meats. With many bakeries in Pompeii, bread was a readily available staple. Unique dishes, such as libum, garum and savillum, were made with various combinations of ingredients. The upper class feasted on rare and exotic foods, including various species of birds.

Fishing was an important source of food for the people of Pompeii. Cooks made use of fish entrails by fermenting them to make a pungent sauce called garum.

A classic dish of Pompeii was libum, a pastry shell or bread topped with soft cheese and bay leaves. A famous Italian meat, prosciutto, was also made in Pompeii.

Mallow is an herb that was frequently used to season foods. Shrubs and bushes, such as the prickly bramble shrub and flowering broom bush, were also consumed.

A baked cream dessert comparable to custard, savillum was a popular dessert in Pompeii. Honey, figs, peaches, sugar and cumin are some of the other ingredients typically used to make desserts.

The wealthy class of Pompeii dined on more exotic dishes, such as parrot meat and swallow tongue.