Food and Daily Life in Italy, from Ancient Rome to Medieval Tuscany - 92Y, New York

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Food and Daily Life in Italy, from Ancient Rome to Medieval Tuscany

Francine Segan with Crystal King and Melodie Winawer

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.

Francine Segan

Francine Segan is the author of six books including Shakespeare’s Kitchen and Dolci: Italy’s Sweets. Her most recent book is Pasta Modern.

Melodie Winawer

Melodie Winawer is the author of The Scribe of Siena, a historical novel set in 14th century Italy.

Crystal King

Crystal King Is the author of Feast of Sorrow about Marcus Gavius Apicius, the man whose name is on the world’s oldest known cookbook.

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