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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A light snack
A book combining two of my main interests, Byzantine history and food, sounds like a must-read. But I have to confess to being somewhat disappointed on opening the package because of the small dimensions of the book in terms of page size. The thickness may give some hope of compensation by being 277 pages, but Dalby's narrative ends at page 122, the rest consisting of...
Published on 31 July 2010 by E. L. Wisty

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
A fascinating view of a lost empire. Incredibly detailed research has resulted in a very readable volume. However it is certainly not - nor does it claim to be - a recipe book. Instead we are shown how the empire built up its vast variety of foodstuffs and the various ways they were cooked and eaten and all the traditions around them. Almost a quater of the book is taken...
Published on 4 May 2011 by John Gaffikin-Cowan


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 4 May 2011
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John Gaffikin-Cowan (Belfast, N.I. United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tastes of Byzantium: The Cuisine of a Legendary Empire (Paperback)
A fascinating view of a lost empire. Incredibly detailed research has resulted in a very readable volume. However it is certainly not - nor does it claim to be - a recipe book. Instead we are shown how the empire built up its vast variety of foodstuffs and the various ways they were cooked and eaten and all the traditions around them. Almost a quater of the book is taken up in a phrase book explaining the words and phrases used by the Byzantines to describe the food they were eating.
Not for the budding cook but still a wonderful read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Byzanthuim and food, 21 July 2013
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This review is from: Tastes of Byzantium: The Cuisine of a Legendary Empire (Paperback)
First of all this is not really a recipe book thought does contain some so if you exepect such you will be dissapointed.
However it is an intresting read as it goes through the realtionship between food and the byzamntuim empire .
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A light snack, 31 July 2010
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E. L. Wisty "World Domination League" (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tastes of Byzantium: The Cuisine of a Legendary Empire (Paperback)
A book combining two of my main interests, Byzantine history and food, sounds like a must-read. But I have to confess to being somewhat disappointed on opening the package because of the small dimensions of the book in terms of page size. The thickness may give some hope of compensation by being 277 pages, but Dalby's narrative ends at page 122, the rest consisting of translations of some relatively uninteresting works relating to food, some recipes, a large glossary of Greek food words and in which works they are to be found, a surprisingly large bibliography for such a subject, and the index.

Dalby's own narrative reads well, he is a skilful and entertaining writer, but even here there is a little of the padding out with unrelated anecdote, albeit fascinating to me as a Byzantine history nut, and even filling a few pages with a list of emperors and their regnal dates. I fairly whizzed through this part of the book.

The translated texts, likely to grab the interest of only serious food history geeks, demonstrate the practice of using foods to balance the "four humours", blood, phlegm, yellow and black bile, with foods having hot, cold, dry and moist qualities. These ideas are not dissimilar to the kind of practices which persist in countries like Iran and India today. One of the texts extends this practice to a yearly cycle of what to eat when, and also considers how many baths one should have in that month and even whether one should or should not have sex.

Like an amuse bouche, this book tastes delightful for a brief while, but does not fill the stomach.
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Tastes of Byzantium: The Cuisine of a Legendary Empire
Tastes of Byzantium: The Cuisine of a Legendary Empire by Andrew Dalby (Paperback - 12 July 2010)
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