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234 × 156 × 25 mm
384 pages
120 illustrations, 100 in colour
01 Nov 2017
Foods and Nations

Gifts of the Gods A History of Food in Greece Andrew Dalby, Rachel Dalby

What do we think about when we think of Greek food? For many, it is the meze and traditional plates of a typical Greek island taverna from summer holidays or from Greek restaurants at home. This book takes us into and beyond the taverna to offer us a unique, comprehensive history of the foods of Greece.

Andrew and Rachel Dalby discuss how the land was first settled, what was grown, and how certain fruits, herbs and vegetables came to be identified. Moving through prehistorical and classical Greece, and the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, they explore the variety of Greek foods among communities outside the national borders as well as the food culture of the regions and islands of Greece itself. Through a synthesis of modern Greek food, with all that it owes to Christianity and to Greeks of the diaspora, they lead us into a discussion of Greek hospitality.

Greek food is brimming with thousands of centuries of history, lore and culture. With many superb illustrations, and traditional recipes that blend historical and modern flavours, Gifts of the Gods is a fine account of this rich and ancient cuisine.

‘Blending well-illustrated recipes into their graceful narrative, the authors offer a comprehensive survey of the evolution of Greek foods from ancient times to today . . .The book’s general theme is how the natural environment, or the “gift of the gods,” as it is aptly entitled, has shaped Greek foodways and culinary traditions over those historical periods . . . The reading [is] rather enjoyable and entertaining . . . Recommended.’ — Choice

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Andrew Dalby is a linguist, translator and historian, based in France. He is the author of many books, including Bacchus: A Biography (2005), Flavours of Byzantium (2003), Food in the Ancient World from A to Z (2003) and Dangerous Tastes: The Story of Spices (2000), which was named Food Book of the Year by the Guild of Food Writers. He has also written Empire of Pleasures (2000), Siren Feasts: A History of Food and Gastronomy in Greece (1996), which won the Runciman Award, Cheese: A Global History (Reaktion, 2009) and The Breakfast Book (Reaktion Books, 2013).

Rachel Dalby began to explore Greek food aged seven and has never stopped. She has lived for sixteen years on the island of Paros, where she and her partner run the Marina Café.





Classical Feasts: The First Gastronomy


Roman and Byzantine Tastes


An Empire Reborn


A Culinary Geography, Part I: Beyond Greece


A Culinary Geography, Part II: Within Greece


Food of Recent Greece