I discovered my affinity for dead languages in grade school already, so by high school I had inevitably bloomed into a full-fledged Classics Nerd and of course an active participant in my school's Latin Club. At the end of every year all of the international clubs would come together for an evening of edibles and performances from our chosen cultures, which meant there was usually a can-can from the French Club and Monty Python sketches from us Junior Classical Leaguers. Ancient Roman cuisine being questionable at best, my mom came up with the brilliant idea of making faux dormice out of radishes and toothpicks, and they always proved a huge hit at the Latin Club booth. They also winked at the so-called "dormouse test", a term coined by classicist Mary Beard, basically the idea that the sooner a story set in ancient Rome mentions that most stereotypical of Roman delicacies the more likely the rest of it has very little basis in actual historical fact. I think HBO's Rome made it to the second episode before referring to dormice, which seems about right given its overall respect for history and detail but still allowing a salacious diversion here and there. Tom Holland says that Beard's new book Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town similarly dispels commonly-held misbeliefs about the doomed city while filling in many fascinating details:
And no mention of dormice until three-quarters of the way through, apparently.