Food historian Francine Segan talks with two authors of recently published Italian historical novels: Crystal King, author of Feast of Sorrow, and Melodie Winawer, author of The Scribe of Siena.
Taste delicacies made from historic recipes — a Roman fig cake, a Medieval savory herb-and-cheese tart, and Grana Padano cheese — and hear about Italian food and daily life through the centuries.
Did you know:
Ancient Roman society was quite advanced. They had running water, libraries, universities, innovative architecture, factories, mathematics, etc. Much of that civilization was lost and destroyed with the expansion of Christianity, which deemed anything Roman as pagan and thus heretical.
The ancients thought it was bad for your health to eat alone. Epicurus in 300 BC said, “we should look first for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat or drink.”
Hosts in ancient Rome would scatter rose petals — considered a divine flower — on dining room floors, unless the floor was covered with lilies, which protected the guests against poisoned mushrooms, or violets, to protect guests against wrinkles and old age.