Vesta, the goddess of the hearth, was seen as complementary to Ceres, the goddess of grain, and donkeys were garlanded and given a rest on the Festival of Vesta. Leafy greens and herbs were eaten as salads with vinegar dressings.
Locally available seasonings included garden herbs, cumin, coriander, and juniper berries.
Imported spices included pepper, saffron, cinnamon, and fennel.
The most common salty condiment was garum, the fermented fish sauce that added the flavor dimension now called "umami".
Major exporters of garum were located in the provinces of Spain.
Agricultural techniques such as crop rotation and selective breeding were disseminated throughout the Empire, and new crops were introduced from one province to another, such as peas and cabbage to Britain.
Throughout the city, meats, fish, cheeses, produce, olive oil, spices, and the ubiquitous condiment garum (fish sauce) were sold at macella, Roman indoor markets, and at marketplaces throughout the provinces.
Due to the lack of refrigeration, techniques of preservation for meat, fish, and dairy were developed.
No portion of the animal was allowed to go to waste, resulting in blood puddings, meatballs (isicia), sausages, and stews.
A charcoal brazier could be used for rudimentary cookery such as grilling and stewing in a pot (olla), but ventilation was poor and braziers were fire hazards.