Arguably, the Roman Legions were the world’s first fully professional army.
The Roman legionaries were not warriors.
They were soldiers.
Individually they were not great fighters.
As a unit? That is a different tale.
Their organization, discipline, tactics and training made them a force that stood for centuries.
And how were they powered on these marches?
A large variety of food. Some of which still sounds scrumptious to our modern palates. They are the ancestors of modern day Italians (and their American descendants) after all. 😉
And among this variety of food taken was a hard, salty and yummy cheese. A type of cheese that is nearly identical two-thousand years later: Pecorino Romano.
It packs well, is calorie dense, digests easily and in the hot weather still keeps quite efficiently. The higher sodium content really makes the food a tasty treat when exerting yourself physically, too. Perfect for say, oh, hiking in the Utah canyons in late spring!
Pecorino Romano was a great food for long term marches for some possible distant ancestors of mine. And the same properties also makes it work well for much less burdened modern time hikers.
As my hiking continues to evolve, I find I crave “real” food more and more. Beef jerky, tortillas, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate and, yes, cheese. Energy bars? I’ll eat them sure… esp when free. But if I want a so-called energy bar for a quick nosh, my old standby of Snickers Bars still seem to work as well for less money! And the real food mentioned earlier tastes better.
And this wonderful cheese works so well for my hiking. At the local Costco, I can pick up a hunk that lasts for weeks in the fridge. And it is even made with sheep’s milk. At $7 or so a pound, not that inexpensive. But with 110 calories per ounce, not bad at all, really. And considering the price of Clif Bars (even if bought in bulk) , AND the taste of them, to get the same amount of calories as a pound of this cheese, the price does not seem so bad after all. ( Did I mention I prefer Snicker Bars as my so-called energy bar of choice? 😉 )
So consider packing some Pecorino Romano style cheese  for your backpacking trips.
Long lasting, calorie dense and yummy.
Good enough for a highly trained professional solider on the march.
Good enough for you.
And certainly good enough for me!
 Technically speaking, the cheese is only Pecorino Romano if it is made in very specific regions of Italy. But I am not a foodie. I just like good food and would rather not be pedantic. Just so legions of foodies (see what I did there?) don’t bombard me, we’ll just call it Pecorino Romano style for this article’s purpose.