It is precisely when I am alone that you are required to pay special attention to the dinner. At such times, you must remember, Lucullus dines with Lucullus.
Although Lucullus is primarily known today as an epicure, our oracle tells us:
Lucius Licinius Lucullus (118 – 57/56 BC) was a politician of the late Roman republic. In the culmination of over twenty years of almost continuous military and government service, he became the main conqueror of the eastern kingdoms in the course of the Third Mithridatic War, exhibiting extraordinary generalship in diverse situations, most famously during the siege of Cyzicus, 73-2 BC, and at the Battle of Tigranocerta in Armenian Arzanene, 69 BC. So famous did Lucullus become for his banqueting that the word lucullan now means lavish, luxurious and gourmet. Once, Cicero and Pompey succeeded in inviting themselves to dinner with Lucullus, but, curious to see what sort of meal Lucullus ate when alone, forbade him to communicate with his slaves regarding any preparation of the meal for his guests. However, Lucullus outsmarted them, and succeeded in getting Pompey and Cicero to allow that he specify which room he would be dining in. He ordered that his slaves serve him in the Apollo Room, knowing that his service staff was schooled ahead of time as to the specific details of service he expected for each of his particular dining rooms: as the standard amount specified to be outlaid for any given dinner in the Apollo room was the large sum of 50,000 drachmas, Cicero and Pompey found themselves a short time later dining upon a most unexpectedly luxurious meal.