Siren Feasts: A History of Food and Gastronomy in Greece

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Routledge, Apr 15, 2013 - COOKING - 336 pages
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Cheese, wine, honey and olive oil - four of Greece's best known contributions to culinary culture - were already well known four thousand years ago. Remains of honeycombs and of cheeses have been found under the volcanic ash of the Santorini eruption of 1627 BC. Over the millennia, Greek food diversified and absorbed neighbouring traditions, yet retained its own distinctive character.
In Siren Feasts, Andrew Dalby provides the first serious social history of Greek food. He begins with the tunny fishers of the neolithic age, and traces the story through the repertoire of classical Greece, the reputations of Lydia for luxury and of Sicily and South Italy for sybaritism, to the Imperial synthesis of varying traditions, with a look forward to the Byzantine cuisine and the development of the modern Greek menu. The apples of the Hesperides turn out to be lemons, and great favour attaches to Byzantine biscuits.
Fully documented and comprehensively illustrated, scholarly yet immensely readable, Siren Feasts demonstrates the social construction placed upon different types of food at different periods (was fish a luxury item in classical Athens, though disdained by Homeric heroes?). It places diet in an economic and agricultural context; and it provides a history of mentalities in relation to a subject which no human being can ignore.
  

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Contents

1 The Way These People Sacrifice
1
Part I The Prehistoric Aegean
31
Part II Food and Gastronomy of the Classical Aegean
55
Part III Food and Gastronomy of the Postclassical Aegean
131
Part IV The Byzantine and Later Aegean
185
Notes
212

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About the author (2013)

Andrew Dalby is a historian and linguist and has written for numerous food history and classics journals. Among his books are "Empire of Pleasures: Luxury and Indulgence in the Roman World" (2000), "The Classical Cookbook" (with Sally Grainger, 1996), and "Siren Feasts: A History of Food and Gastronomy in Greece" (1996).

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