From separate litterary sources we can reach
the conclusion, that a three-course menu, as we know nowadays, can be
traced back to Roman habits. The first course -gustatio-
consisted of a range of appetizers, pretty much like Italian antipasti.
Greens, dressed with vinegar and oil, salted fish, olives and eggs were
among its regular items. Next was the main course -primae
mensae-, made up out of meat and/or fish, grilled, cooked
or stewed, often accompanied by vegetables. The desert -secundae
mensae- was characterised by sweets, fresh or dried fruit,
nuts and pastry. During the entire meal bread was eaten.
Wine sweetened with honey -mulsum- traditionally
came with the entrée; the remaining courses were served with
diluted wine. Drinking was usually prolonged after the meal.