The Roman contribution to British cuisine

Dear friends of Training Center Raya London, welcome our new text, which aims to make learning English easier for both beginners and advanced. We are going to tell you about the change in British cuisine and food under the influence of Roman rule. Don’t forget to switch between the English and Bulgarian versions of the text to follow the specifics of the translation!

43 AD is the year in which the armies of the Roman emperor Claudius conquered the islands. They remained here for the next 400 years, during which time the newly conquered state was called Roman Britain. Whether their arrival brought good or bad to Britain is up to the historians to decide, but one thing cannot be denied – the conquerors belonged to a developed culture that had embraced the pleasures of everyday life. In addition to their religion and habits, they also brought with them their own recipes.

The Roman cuisine was influenced by the eating habits of the Greeks and Etruscans – tribes found in the Apennine Peninsula. This was Mediterranean cuisine, firmly rooted in sustainable agriculture. Retiring to the countryside and cultivating crops – not personally, of course – was the privilege of the wealthy Romans. To meet their needs for good food and wine was fundamental for their life.

The food trade existed between the British Isles and Rome even before the new rule, but on arrival, the Romans refused to change their eating habits and permanently changed the British cuisine. An amazing amount of fruit and vegetables were brought and subsequently grown from them. These were asparagus, turnips, peas, garlic, cabbage, celery, onions, leeks, cucumbers, round artichokes, figs, medlars, sweet chestnuts, cherries, plums.

The import of the Romans’ favourite drink -wine– was too expensive, so they had to bring new traditions to Britain that’s why they focused on growing grapes on the islands.

The Romans also brought new flavors to the wine which weren’t used before. In the pots, they also simmered mint, coriander, rosemary, radishes, and garlic.

The invaders also ate different types of meat. Seafood, such as mussels and especially oysters, became popular. Oysters began to be exported from Britain to Rome. Colchester oysters were especially popular. Fermented fish sauce, called garum, was imported to the islands and became very popular as a highly aromatic spice for food. The Romans also brought with them a beef cattle breed, now called the British White Cattle, and began raising rabbits and possibly even chickens.

However, not all the population adopted the new way of eating. Roman cuisine was used mainly in the households of wealthy Britons, who demonstrated their wealth by using imported goods.

In 410 AD the Romans left Britain, but their eating habits and favorite products continued to live on in modern British cooking culture.

Friends, learning English with us is enjoyable and we try to make it even more interesting with our blog stories. Search for our new texts and read the interesting stories about English culture, London and anything  that interests you! We will respond!

Author: Iveta Radeva

Training Centre Raya London is a new and fastly developing English Language School specialized in teaching English as a second language. Founded in 2015 we are small enough to provide a personal service, but large enough to have very good facilities and resources for the students to learn English in UK.