The ancient Roman cuisine was mainly made of poor and easy-to-find ingredients: legumes and vegetables were the main ingredients of the popular classes diet. However, there were no difficult to find dairy products and sometimes even meat, specifically the so-called quintoquarto.
This term in english means “fifth quarter” and originates from the way in which the animal is cut off still today: after being killed, it is divided into four parts (two front and two lateral) destined for the most prosperous classes. The quintoquarto therefore consists of scraps: tripe, kidneys, heart, liver, spleen, limbs, brain and tongue. From the sheep’s flesh is obtained the coratella, that is a set of heart, liver and lungs, while from the ox is also eaten the tail.
According to traditions, the quintoquarto was born in the Testaccio district, near the slaughterhouse from which the scraps of slaughter were found. From these scraps, delicious dishes were made, thanks to recipes handed down from generation to generation. The innards had to be eaten fresh and were an important contribution to the diet of the population, thanks to the high content of iron, potassium and proteins.
This cuisine, once cooked only among the poorest sections of the population, have today been widely re-evaluated and it is now common to find it in many top-level restaurants.