Eating like the Romans at SUNY Buffalo

Caesar was a focus of a recent event at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo—and we’re not talking about the salad. SUNY Buffalo students got to eat like Julius Caesar and more at the Eat Like a Roman event held in the spring. In collaboration with the university’s department of classics, the dining services department prepared a menu of items eaten during Roman times, scaling up recipes from ancient Roman cookbooks, like “Apicus” and “Roman Cookery,” for the event.

A class on ancient Roman cuisine held by the department of classics inspired the event. The class met weekly to discuss, cook and eat ancient Roman recipes. The classics department suggested an event with dining services and provided the cookbooks from which the event’s menu was developed.

The menu included Cinnamon Lamb Soup, Chicken Pottage with Meatballs, Olive and Celery Paté, Melon with Mint Dressing, Baked Ham with Figs and Spring Cabbage with Cumin. The items required sourcing of multiple ingredients, many of which were difficult to find. “If we couldn’t find a spice or a certain flour that they used back then, we would try to find something similar, and a lot of the spices come from Indian and European cuisine now,” explains Lauren Brantley, general manager of the Crossroads Culinary Center, where the event was held.

The event encompassed more than the menu. A local production company decorated the dining hall with props saved from past festivals, Roman pillars and greenery, transforming the space to align with the theme. Dining services staff dressed in togas and held toga-wrapping sessions, and students came dressed in Roman and soldier garb. A member of the university’s Latin department acted as the event’s greeter, welcoming students in the ancient language as they entered the hall.

With nearly 1,800 students in attendance, the event was a success and one that the university hopes to do again.

“The class was originally going to be a one-time thing, but after the event was over the professors said maybe we’ll take it to the next level next year because the students responded really well to it,” Brantley says. “We’ll put a little twist on it or do something different, but I think it opened it up for the university to have that relationship with the actual departments, so we’re hoping that more classes and department heads will get involved.” 

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
frozen raspberries

“As a chef, I pretty much have grown up through the business thinking that fresh was always better—produce, fish and meats, especially,” says Ryan Conklin, executive chef for UNC Rex Healthcare’s culinary and nutrition services. “But the more ‘re-educated’ I get, the more I’m learning that some frozen options may be more appropriate for me to be using on my menus.”

Right now, the perception of frozen foods doesn’t match the reality, especially for high-volume foodservice operators, says Conklin. Often, chefs and operators picture not-great product that’s been sitting in a block of...

Sponsored Content
Roasted Beet Salad Pickled Blueberries
From Blueberry Council.

What’s trending in the culinary world? The basics! According to the NRA, diners today are craving authenticity, simplicity and freshness on menus. But basic ingredients don’t have to lead to boring menu options.

It’s easy to fall into the latest craze to capture consumer attention and drive sales. But we’ve learned it’s not always about novelty. Instilling a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity by using well-known and well-loved ingredients in new, experimental dishes can lead to an increase in adventurous dining decisions, while staying in your customers’...

Ideas and Innovation
fsd screenshot web

A full year has passed since we redesigned FoodService Director magazine, taking the publication from its longtime tabloid dimensions to a more convenient size and more creative design, and recasting the content to provide actionable, peer-to-peer insights and ideas for FSDs.

Now we are thrilled to announce that we’ve extended the makeover to our website as well. The new FoodServiceDirector.com has been redesigned to be more engaging and even easier to use. We’ve made it faster to find information, from recipes to HR best practices, that will help you run your facility better....

Managing Your Business
wage feud business

As plans to increase the minimum wage surge ahead in states such as New York and California, operators eventually will feel the reverberations shake up labor costs for more than just hourly workers. As associate wages gain on manager salaries, operators will have to answer a call for reciprocal increases. FSD spoke with operators who advised going gently into the brave new world of heightened labor costs, investing in talent and making cuts elsewhere; however, they did offer three perfectly proactive tactics to make the process as seamless as possible.

1. Keep talking

Even though...

FSD Resources