Siren Feasts: A History of Food and Gastronomy in Greece
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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1 The Way These People Sacrifice
Part I The Prehistoric Aegean
Part II Food and Gastronomy of the Classical Aegean
Part III Food and Gastronomy of the Postclassical Aegean
Part IV The Byzantine and Later Aegean
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Aegean Alcman Alexis ancient animals Antiphanes Apicius apples Archestratus Aristophanes aromatic Athenaeus Athenian Athens authors barley bread Byzantine cakes century BC certainly cheese citations at Athenaeus citations at Epitome cited classical Greece comedy cook cookery Crete cuisine cultivated Deipnosophists diet dining dinner Diocles of Carystus Dioscorides Diphilus dishes domesticated drink earlier early eaten Egypt Epaenetus Eubulus evidence ﬁfth century ﬁgs ﬁnd ﬁne ﬁrst ﬁsh flavour foodstuffs fourth century fragment Frankhthi fruit Galen gastronomy Geoponica grapes Greek Hellenistic Hermippus Hesiod Hippolochus honey identiﬁed known later Latin literary literature Lynceus Macedonian Materia Medica meal meat Mediterranean Menander millennium Mithaecus modern Natural History nuts Odyssey olive Oribasius Philoxenus Plato Pliny Plutarch prehistoric Properties of Foods quotations quoted recipes references Roman sacriﬁce salt sauce shellﬁsh Sicilian silphium Simeon Seth sources species spices Study of Plants surviving sweet Theophrastus tunny varieties wheat wild wine women Zohary and Hopf