Tastes of Byzantium: The Cuisine of a Legendary Empire

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I.B.Tauris, Jun 30, 2010 - Cooking - 272 pages
For centuries the food and culinary delights of the Byzantine empire - centred on Constantinople - have captivated the west, although it appeared that very little information had been passed down to us. Andrew Dalby's 'Tastes of Byzantium' now reveals in astonishing detail, for the first time, what was eaten in the court of the Eastern Roman Empire - and how it was cooked. Fusing the spices of the Romans with the seafood and simple local food of the Aegean and Greek world, the cuisine of the Byzantines was unique and a precursor to much of the food of modern Turkey and Greece. Bringing this vanished cuisine to life in vivid and sensual detail, Dalby describes the sights and smells of Constantinople and its marketplaces, relates travellers' tales and paints a comprehensive picture of the recipes and customs of the empire and their relationship to health and the seasons, love and medicine. For food-lovers and historians alike, 'Tastes of Byzantium' is both essential and riveting - an extraordinary illumination of everyday life in the Byzantine world. 'A fascinating read, with its descriptions of the glittering centre of an empire. Along with his portrait of Byzantines feasting on spiced wine and sugary sweets, Dalby includes many colourful observations.' - Charles Perry, Cornucopia 'A delightful book... Tastes of Byzantium offers a novel and humane approach to the Byzantines and their culture, and one that should appeal to Byzantinists as well as general readers.' - The Bryn Mawr Classical Review
 

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Contents

Preface
7
1 An Introduction to Byzantium
11
2 Tastes and Smells of the City
33
3 Foods and Markets of Constantinople
57
4 Water and Wine Monks and Travellers
83
5 Rulers of the World
105
6 The Texts
125
7 Instructions and Recipes
171
8 A PhraseBook of Byzantine Foods and Aromas
183
Bibliography
239
Index
257
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About the author (2010)

Andrew Dalby is a historian and linguist. His languages include Sanskrit, Pali, Latin, Greek, Portuguese, Romanian, German, and Burmese. He is the author of several books. He studied classics and linguistics at St John's College, Cambridge, and gained a PhD from London University.

Andrew Dalby is a historian and linguist. Languages in his repertoire include Sanskrit, Pali, French, Latin, Greek, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, German, and Burmese. He is the author of several books, including The Classical Cookbook (1996), Dangerous Tastes: the Story of Spices (2000), Language in Danger: The Loss of Linguistic Diversity and the Threat to Our Future (2003) and, most recently, Bacchus: A Biography (2003). He studied classics and linguistics at St John's College, Cambridge, and gained a PhD from London University.

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