8. Nonstick Frying Pans
A first-century Roman cookbook called De Re Coquinaria mentioned cookware that nobody could find. Called Cumanae testae or Cumanae patellae, these nonstick wonders were described by the author as best suited for cooking chicken stew. In 1975, archaeologist Giuseppe Pucci suggested that a brand of ceramics called Pompeian Red Ware was the Cumanae described in the ancient cookbook.
Backup for his theory arrived in 2016, when a trash site near Naples produced 2,000-year-old pottery fragments. Nearly 50,000 pieces of pots, lids, and frying pans were recovered. Just like Pompeian Red Ware, most were coated with a red-slip layer on the inside to prevent food from burning to the bottom. The fragments at the dump site were likely freshly made wares that didn’t make the cut or broke during production. What supports Pucci’s claim is the fact that the city of Cumae, which gave the mysterious kitchen utensils their name, was located just 19 kilometers (12 mi) from Naples. The city once mass-produced and exported pottery to places as far-flung as Africa as well as across Europe and the Mediterranean.