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234 × 156 mm
304 pages
123 illustrations, 111 in colour
20 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.

‘Leavening this compendium of knowledge about one of the oldest cuisines in the world with conversationally written boxed recipes and plenty of photos with informative captions opens the subject to a wider audience without sacrificing any of the lively historical lore that is Dalby’s trademark . . . imbued with Dalby’s affection for and vast understanding of Greece and its landscapes – “the most varied in Europe” – and the vicissitudes of its history – “empires are not good for Greece, but they fall” – Gifts of the Gods is a delight . . . the narrative carries one along from one fascinating subject to another’ – Argo

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Andrew Dalby is a linguist, translator and historian based in France, and the author of many books on food history including Food in the Ancient World from A to Z (2003), The Breakfast Book (Reaktion, 2013) and Cheese: A Global History (Reaktion, 2009). Rachel Dalby, Andrew Dalby’s daughter, 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.