Inside The Getty Villa’s Ancient Roman Feast

Roasted pig stuffed with chicken, pork, pheasant, duck, egg, and lucanica sausage

Armed with the 2,000-year-old recipe book Apicius and the passions of culinary historians Andrew Dalby and chef Sally Grainger, The Getty Villa prepared a menu that mirrored an ancient Roman banquet last night. The museum took Malibu to a time and place where prized spices were not purchased at Penzy’s, but laboriously shipped from remote locations halfway around the world; when sugar was prescribed in small amounts by doctors, cinnamon was nearly impossible to locate and worth its weight in gold, and it was common practice to stuff a boar with the meat of at least five other animals and feast on whole porpoises. While Roman commoners enjoyed a booming street food scene, the society’s privileged population rallied for rich banquets. Few utilized and benefited from these celebrations quite like Julius Caesar, who was honored as much for his generous, debt-incurring hospitality as he was for sobriety and moderation in an age of gluttony. Come with us as we take a look at the foods of ancient Rome in a slideshow exploration of The Getty’s Villa’s At The Roman Table.