But who was the cook?
Pictures like the one below, showing a Roman matron doing her own cooking,
are nothing but projections of our own ideals from a recent past. They
would suit the nostalgic views of someone like Pliny the Elder, though.
In Rome the cooking was done by a slave and was deemed a very lowly
task. Later, when luxury spread about, his work started to be seen as
an art and a wealthy Roman's status could be measured by the price he
payed for his cook.
If one wasn't rich enough to afford a cook of one's own, it was always
possible to hire a 'freelance' cook for special occasions. The really
poor bought their warm food in shops or from street vendors.