The Philosopher's Kitchen: Recipes from Ancient Greece and Rome for the Modern Cook

Front Cover
Random House, 2004 - Cooking - 250 pages
“It is the culinary legacy of the ancients that inspired this cookbook. . . Re-creating the cuisine of the ancient Greeks and Romans helps us connect in some small but wonderful way to their time, teachings, and lives.”
–from the Introduction of The Philosopher’s Kitchen


“Pleasure is the beginning and end of living happily,” said the Greek philosopher Epicurus two thousand years ago. Certainly the dazzlingly varied, subtly seasoned cuisine of ancient Greece and Rome measured up to the highest standards of eating pleasure. The Philosopher’s Kitchen offers seductive, modern interpretations of these dishes using a variety of sources, from writings by Plato, Aristotle, Homer, and Cicero to the oldest known surviving cookbook.

Here is a rich array of culinary delights, ab ovo usque ab malum, or “from eggs to fruit,” as the Romans said. Mussels in Cumin Sherry Sauce, Chestnut-Mint Puree, Chicken Breasts with Hazelnut Pesto, Lamb with Pomegranate-Glazed Onions, and Walnut Cake with Fig Jam are just a few of the delicious, healthy, and gorgeous recipes in this book that will delight and surprise the modern cook.

Francine Segan also allows us a glimpse into the ancient world by putting each recipe in its cultural context, taking us to Greek feasts and Roman banquets and revealing customs, expressions, and superstitions that are still very much a part of modern life. She shares tips on entertaining, even including sample invitations a host can use to summon friends to a Roman spread of his or her own.

Organized for easy, efficient use and replete with Tim Turner’s stunning photographs, The Philosopher’s Kitchen is a glorious buffet for the senses, providing literal food for thought.

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User Review  - empress8411 - LibraryThing

This was part of the recent estate sale lot I purchased. It's not a book I would pick for myself - thinking it pretentious, snooty and a bit expensive (at $35) for a cookbook. However, I was ... Read full review

About the author (2004)

FRANCINE SEGAN is a cultural historian who has appeared on numerous radio and TV programs, including Martha Stewart Radio, NPR, NBC's Today Show, CBS's Early Show, and Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. In addition she has done several specials for the History and Discovery channels and the Food Network. Segan writes a monthly column on travel and food for the Tribune Media Syndicates, which reaches over 65 newspapers across the country. She has published four books including Shakespeare's Kitchen (2003) and Opera Lover's Cookbook (2006), which was nominated for both James Beard and IACP awards. In addition to teaching at Sarah Lawrence College, Segan lectures on various topics, including art history, throughout the country for organizations such as the Smithsonian Museum, Dahesh Museum, Virginia Fine Arts Museum, Norman Rockwell Museum, Museum of Natural History, and Newport Historical Association.

Turner is an award-winning photographer especially for cookbooks.

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