Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Of Horses for Courses and Roman Green Salads

... and cultural misunderstandings in restaurants.

We (me and the boss) had a week in Rome last year, and as part of that we "did the Romans" - you know: viaducts, Colosseum, water towers, Temple of Jupiter, Pantheon. No Roman Rabbits , however.

This painting is the Pantheon by Panini .


In our case, we always go and look for local restaurants. In this case we found one, but we fell foul of our own assumptions, and ordered what we thought was a side-salad.

In Rome, however, a salad seems to be a separate course. And it arrived just after we had finished our main course.

A green salad: a large bowl (of the size you might use to casserole a rabbit) full of lettuce, with about half a dozen tomatoes chopped into segments.

I am banned by the boss from including the picture of her expression viewed across the salad bowl, but I will say that it took us the best part of 20 minutes to polish it off.

As a reminder of Romans closer to home, recently I have visited the remains of a Temple of Mithras at Brocolita built by legionaries near Hadrian's Wall.



You can walk from the road across one of the bleakest, coldest, windiest and most erosive places in Northern Europe (why do you think the Romans left), and someone has dug up engraved altar stones that have been buried for almost 2000 years, and exposed the carved design to all that weather - go and see it before it is destroyed.

And there was me thinking they were out to preserve our history.

This slightly exasperated Guest Post was by Matt Wardman, who also lives at Poliblog Perspective.

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jmb said...

Well the salad gave you a good story to tell for ages to come so it wasn't all bad.

When my Italian son-in-law eats at my house we eat the salad before the main course, when we eat at his house it's always served after. He doesn't get too upset about it because he's lived in North America for 18 years now.

Good point about the stones, but could they move them under cover or would you consider that not quite right?

Matt Wardman said...

The stones should be in a museum or a glass box in my view.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks for this post, Matt - lovely pictures. I didn;t know about the "Roman rabbit" and hadn't thought of the bleakness being a reason for the Romans leaving! Yes, the salad is usually served after the main course here too.


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