Life of poor Romans was not easy – either they ate cold food only (a piece of bread soaked in wine) or they brought their ingredients to a public kitchen. They were not allowed to have a kitchen in their houses in order to prevent a fire. Fortunately, Roman emperors very often celebrated their war triumphs and organized opulent feasts where the poor could also have some benefit. Rich inhabitants had a kitchen in their houses but it was just a small, narrow, dark and bad aired room which turned into a sauna during hot days. Slaves used to work here so nobody paid attention to their working conditions. The kitchens were full of soot and garbage and what’s more, cheese, vegetables, meat and other ingredients were also stored here because had been no refrigerators yet. Mess and stench belonged to those kitchens. Food was prepared on a stove in pots, casseroles and pans made of ceramics, copper or even lead! A mortar was very important in every kitchen because the Ancient Romans loved carved, crumbled and mashed dishes. A mortar was actually a predecessor of a kitchen machine.
POSTCARD Nr 2: The Trevi Fountain belongs to the top sights in Rome. Every tourist wants to see it. I was also prepared – theoretically – to visit this amazing work designed by the Italian architect Nicola Salvi in the 18th century. I had already been impatient to see the statue of Neptune, the god of the sea, riding a chariot in the shape of a shell. One horse is calm like the surface of water, the other one is wild like the stormy sea.
I held a small coin in my right hand and knew exactly what to do: I should turn my back on the fountain and throw the coin above my left shoulder into the water without seeing where it falls. If I do this ritual, I will return to this place again… However, you cannot imagine my shock and disappointment when I came to the fountain and it was covered with a scaffolding and without water! It was useless to hold the coin in my hand (some say you should use three coins) as I could not throw it. And I was really afraid it will not be possible for me to come back to Rome again because it was during communism when it was not so easy for us to travel…
Lesson 1: do not believe in superstitions! I returned to Rome – that’s why you can see these pictures
Lesson 2: better throw coins into the sea! 🙂
Additionally: when you visit the fountain, look at the big vase (statue) on the right side. It is said that a hairdresser used to live opposite this place who criticized Salvi all the time. He jangled the architect’s nerves so much that Salvi decided to build the vase in order to prevent the view of the fountain to the annoying man. I think, today, it would not be necessary to build this vase because there are so many tourists that the shop owners nearby can hardly see the fountain. By the way, about 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain every day! This habit was established by the Ancient Romans who used to throw coins into some fountains in the city to secure the favour of their god Jupiter.
RECIPE Nr. 2:
600 g zucchini
4 tbsp oil
1 tsp lovage
½ tsp caraway
1 small onion
2 tbsp white wine
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp maize starch
Cut zucchini into small pieces, roast them on 2 tbsp oil and blend with a mixer. Mix pepper, salt, lovage, caraway, diced onion, wine, soy sauce and the rest of the oil in a pot, bring to boil and then thicken with the starch. Mix with the zucchini puree. Blend with a mixer once more. Serve warm or cold, spread on toasted bread.