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The Classical Cookbook [Paperback]

Andrew Dalby , Sally Grainger
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

14 Feb 2000
An exploration of the food of the Mediterranean world in ancient times, from 750 BC to AD 450. The authors draw on sources beyond the familiar recipes attributed to the Roman gourmet Apicius, who mainly describes the food of the privileged classes at the end of the Roman Empire. All types of food are represented, allowing the modern cook to recreate the varied diet of the classical world, from the banquets of the rich to the simple meals of soldiers, farmers and slaves. The 50 recipes include Terrine of Asparagus, Sweet Wine Cakes, Olive Relish and Toronaean Shark. An introductory section to each chapter provides a historical outline and explains the sources. Translations of the original recipes are followed by a version for the modern cook. The book is illustrated throughout with scenes of food, carousers and hunters from wall paintings, mosaics and Greek vases.

Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: British Museum Press; New edition edition (14 Feb 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071412222X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714122229
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 21.5 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 562,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delicious treat for hungry classicists 19 April 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
'The Classical Cookbook' would make a wonderful gift for all Latin teachers, primary school teachers of keystage 2 (Ancient Romans) and hungry fans of Lindsey Davis. Apart from the delicious recipes, this book has marvellous illustrations from Classical art and literature. In it you'll discover where to obtain the modern equivalent of the 'garum' or 'fish sauce' so beloved of the Romans. There are recipes for dishes as diverse as Rock Eel with Mulberry Sauce, Chicken Stuffed with Olives, Roast Hare, Spiced Wine and Honey Nut Cake. And there are wonderful facts about Greek or Roman cooking. Did you know sugar was so costly and rare that it was used as a medicine, not a food ingredient?
Clearly written, with easy-to-follow recipes, this book will bring you an authentic taste of Ancient Greece or Rome.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative as well as delicious 16 Dec 2006
I originally only bought this book for the historical information it contains but now that I have read it I will definitely be trying one or two of the recipes. The recipes have all been researched thoroughly and adapted to modern ingredients and tastes. Each section of the book details recipes appropriate for a specific period of the Classical world, from the time of the Iliad and Odyssey, through both the Greek period and into the Roman period. As well as the recipes themselves, each section includes interesting information on the food, drink and social dinning of the period and as such this book would be of some interest to those fascinated in the period as a whole, not only the food.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad 17 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A good book, but perhaps I would just prefer my translation of Apicius or some such. Some recipes have been to modernised and it's a shame, but the recipes are good. Great opportunity to try recipes which have been made 'safe'
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing 24 Jun 2013
By Anis
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of everything ancient and you dabble in the kitchen then this is definitely something you ought to buy. I have tried 2 recipes so far and I gotta say that it's quite amazing to prepare and eat something that dates back to the era before Christ. The cookbook lays out the recipes in a very clear and concise manner. It also provides plenty of pictures to show you what the recipe should look like. It also gives you the historical/cultural background of the recipe and a little bit of information about the people who would have eaten these dishes and how they did so. It's an amazing read definitely worth my time and money!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely combination of recipes and historical information 25 April 2001
By M. Gacsaly - Published on
Excellent book for both its recipes (easy to follow with directions given for both the English and American cook) and its description of Roman life, for both the Roman commoners and the citizens of stature. If you want to have a Roman banquet, or a simple, traditional Roman meal, this is an ideal book. I especially enjoyed the well-written sections on Roman history, which perfectly integrate the recipes with what we know about the people's lives and the ingredients which were available to them. I looked at every Roman cookbook I could find, in both the USA and England, and my three favorites are: Classical Cookbook, by Dalby and Grainger, and, A Taste of Ancient Rome, by Ilaria Giacosa, and Roman Cookery, by Mark Grant. The latter two have more recipes than the first, but Classical Cookbook is a quality book with exquisite pictures, illustrations and explanations.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 29 July 2011
By Cosmas Bisticas - Published on
Fifteen years after it's original release this book remains one of the best on the subject. I would like to clarify that, as the authors point out through references to Odysseus, Philoxennus, Macedonia etc. it explains very cleary that the Greeks were those who elevated cookery into an art,through trial and error and endless experimentation. It focuses primarily on techniques and recipes that originated in ancient Greecemuch later to be passed on to ancent Rome. I make this point as a reviwer has incorrectly given the impression that the book focuses primarily on Roman cookery. One might argue that they at that time in history they were one in the same as Romans brought Greek slaves and free Greek cooks to prepare their meals for them ultimately consuming the same dishes. Over time, the simple dishes introduced by the Greeks became more complicated and lavish, an evolution that has continued till today. There are several other books available that cover this period in detail.

Having made the above points, the author has done an excellent job in the first 30 pages of the book to explain the intricacies of the recipes that follow, explaining the ingredients used, where to find them and substitutions that can be made in order to get an approximate idea of what the Ancient Greeks and later the Romans enjoyed at their tables. It is a good read regardless if you plan to execute the recipes or not.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Try the Roman Mushrooms 1 Jun 2010
By Rebecca Menes - Published on
An excellent historic cook book. Solid history. Author is careful with the reconstructions, explaining what is known, and what is inferred, for each recipe. And the recipes are good. I especially like the mushrooms with fish sauce and honey. Try it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice book for a history of the first foods 24 Feb 2012
By D B Crisp - Published on
I probably enjoyed the history rather than the recipes as they can be quiet unusual to first time tasters. There are lots of strong flavours with wine, wine vinegar and fish sauce in many recipes, sometimes offset by the sweetness of honey or figs. It makes more of a conversational dining experience rather than gourmet food. But the results are quite nice and have been adapted to modern palates and techniques well.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Recipes 18 Oct 2011
By brains4zombies - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I got this recipe book for an ancient mythology class I was taking in college. My final project was to make an ancient meal. The meal turned out pretty well and I would use a good amount of the recipes.
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