Roman pantry

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Visit Sodalitas Coquorum et Cerevisiae Coctorum (The Society of Cooks and Brewers).

Weights and measures

This is a list of the things that could be found in a Roman pantry.



  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Pears

Grains and Breads

  • Spelt also known as emmer grain, for Spelt cake.
  • Roman Breads where primarily composed of wheat, but were also prepared from spelt, and barley. It came in both leaven and unleaven varieties, and was the staple of the Roman diet.
  • Picentine bread was a type of bread from Eastern Italy made from soaked Spelt grits, and mixed with grape juice.
  • Porridge


  • Anise seed : "In first-century Rome, anise was a flavoring in mustaceus, a popular spiced cake baked in bay leaves and eaten after a feast to prevent indigestion." (Rosengarten 1969)
  • Bay (Laurel) leaves :
  • Cardamom : (Rosengarten 1969)
  • Thyme: "The Romans used thyme to flavor cheese and liquors. Their soldiers would bathe in water infused with thyme to gain vigor, courage and strength." (Rosengarten 1969)



  • Caroenum: To make: Reduce 600ml (1 pint) Wine or Grape Juice by half by boil ing. Cool.
  • Defrutum: this is a thick fig syrup. To make: Reduce 600ml (1 pint) Wine or Grape Juice by two thirds by boiling. Add some honey to sweeten. Cool.
  • Liquamen, also known as Garum (Fish Sauce): salty in flavour. Look for fish sauces in asian markets, such as nuoc mam. Alternative: 1 tablespoon of salt dissolved in 100ml (3½ fl oz) of wine. Important: As the strength of fish sauces may vary, ensure that you only use enough to season to your personal taste.
  • Oil, most probably olive oil. Roman staple.
  • Passum: a thick sweet syrup. To make: Reduce 600ml (1 pint) Wine or Grape Juice, by half by boiling. Add Honey to sweeten. Cool.
  • Sapa: a syrup concentrate form of Passum, used as a preservative, and as a type of sauce.
  • Silphium: (Asafoetida): This is used as an anti-flatulent and has a strong aroma. It is imported primarily from Iran. This may be found in Indian or Asian food shops.
  • Wine: fermented grape juice. Roman staple.


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