Sadly, breakfast is rarely mentioned by ancient authors, and we have few descriptions of how Romans broke their fast. The word ientaculum, in fact, means "hungry" or "fasting," so it is probable that Romans ate something upon arising, most likely wine and bread.

Simulus, the farmer in Virgil’s poem, “the Ploughman’s Lunch” arises at cockcrow to knead his dough and mash his cabbage and leeks, but waits until prandium, the midday meal, to eat it.

There were plenty of food stalls in the Eternal City, and a snack of bread could be purchased by clients hurrying off to visit their patrons, or by schoolboys.

At home, the familia probably consumed a fairly rich breakfast: leftovers from the previous night's meal, or bread, wine and olives.

Puls Punica

Carthaginian Porridge

, Mark Grant

  • 10 oz. Cheddar cheese
  • 3 oz. wheat flakes
  • 2 oz. clear honey
  • 1 egg

Grate cheese and mix together with wheat flakes in a heavy casserole. Stir in honey until well mixed. Whisk egg and fold into cheese-honey mixture. Gently press mixture down so surface is even. Bake, covered, in a preheated 380 degree oven for 30 minutes. Serve immediately with a spoonful of honey. The texture of this dish is soft and spongy, with a very cheesy taste.

Sources: , by Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa
, Mark Grant