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197 × 120 × 15 mm
128 pages
48 illustrations, 41 in colour
01 Sep 2011

Olive A Global History Fabrizia Lanza

Olives are at once a mythical food – bringing to mind scenes from Ancient Rome and the Bible – and an everyday one, given the ubiquity of olive oil in contemporary diets. In this original, succinct and engaging history Fabrizia Lanza traces the olive’s roots from antiquity, when olive oil was exalted for ritual purposes and used to anoint kings and athletes; to the sixteenth century, when Europeans brought the olive to the New World; to the present day, when the fruit and its oil have successfully conquered our palates, in part thanks to waves of global immigration and the popularity of the healthy Mediterranean diet.

Lanza describes the role that olive trees, olives and their oil have played in myths, legends and literature, as well as in the everyday lives of people throughout the Mediterranean. A global selection of recipes featuring olives and olive oil showcases the fruit’s culinary diversity. Featuring a wealth of historical detail, this book will be a popular addition to all food lovers’ bookshelves.

‘One of the delights of all The Edible Series of books Olive: A Global History is no exception is the discovery of tiny jewels of information that sometimes startle, and often amaze. Since the foods that travel with human beings must, of necessity, reflect human foibles, the reader often smiles.’ — In Mamas Kitchen.com

‘This book makes an excellent olive gift to yourself or to all olive-loving friends.’ — Food Site of the Day.com

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Fabrizia Lanza is a food scholar and owner of the Anna Tasca Lanza Sicilian cooking school, Sicily.


1. The Ancient Roots of the Olive
2. Ointments, Anointments and Holy Oil: The Olive in Ritual
3. Harvesting, Pressing and Curing
4. The Olive Meets the New World
5. Good Fat and Bad Fat: The Mediterranean Diet

Appendix: Olive Varieties
Select Bibliography
Websites and Associations
Photo Acknowledgements