Ancient Times

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Our first real knowledge of sauce-like preparations in Europe comes from Roman times. A Latin poem from around 25 CE describes a peasant farmer making a spread of pounded herbs, cheese, oil, and vinegar—an ancestor of pesto genovese—that gave a pungent, salty, aromatic savor to his flatbread (see box).