This Roman Diet Is The Secret To Old Age | The Art Of Living: Sardinia | Tonic

A chef and historian who has spent more than 25 years studying ancient recipes, Magnanimi says Romans were nature lovers and sensual pleasure seekers who greatly appreciated good food, though over-indulging was very “un-Roman”. Grains, legumes, vegetables, eggs and cheeses were the base of the diet, with fruit and honey for sweetness. Meat (mostly pork), and fish were used sparingly, and as the empire expanded beginning in the 3rd Century BC, Romans welcomed new flavours – be it pepper from India or lemons from Persia. Garum, similar to an Asian fish sauce, was liberally used to add a rich umami flavour to Roman dishes. All this was enjoyed with honeyed wine at dinners called convivium – gatherings to celebrate life and the seasons.
Magnanimi embodies this spirit of celebration, whether telling stories to guests or stirring up something delicious in his kitchen. Now 54, he laughs telling me how as a younger man he had a hard time convincing his father that customers would like his revivals of ancient dishes.