Maybe Nicki Minaj was onto something when she declared her alter ego as “Roman.” The Romans represented the people of a powerful empire who needed food on the go to keep up with the vivacious lives they led. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
To put it into perspective, think about how hungry you are after a class. Well, the Romans got hungry after watching a brutal gladiator battle at the Coliseum.
Giving away free food never made enemies. Emperor Augustus realized this and made distributing 35 kilos of wheat a month free to 20,000 citizens as the top priority on his to-do list. After casually conquering Egypt, the Romans converted it to a granary, shipping wheat cheaply all year round, which made Augustus known as “the sole distributor of daily bread, the only one responsible for the supply of provisions.”
The Ancient Romans snacked on fast food from open air bars known as cauponae, all while partaking in daily festivities and wandering on the streets of Pompeii. Wooden seats on the streets, along with small back gardens, were provided for Romans to have a glass of wine and a quick meal on the spot.
Ancient McRomans food back then consisted of pies, pork sausage, salted peas, pastries, figs, and partridge stews, all contained in hot jars. And move over, Halal guys, because chickpea cakes were the original fad that vendors rushed to sell. Meals were saturated with a pungent fermented fish sauce condiment called garum, just like how we use ketchup today.
Romans who opted for these casual take out joints were usually of the lower status plebeian class, who weren’t allowed to cook in their tiny living spaces. They were always down for a rowdy time, gambling, and gossiping about while enjoying their food. Loud belches, vomiting, and wrapping leftovers in napkins to take home were just some of the lovely table manners exhibited to show their appreciation for the meal.
So the next time you’re on the move, keep in mind the people responsible for the food trucks you love so much.