Siren Feasts: History of Food and Gastronomy in Greece Paperback – 26 Dec 1996
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"In this comprehensive survey of Greek gastronomic culture, Dalby offers us a vivid, nicely illustrated, informative history of the culinary tradition."
-"Journal of Indo-European Studies, Spring/Summer 1998
"The strength of "Siren Feasts lies in its attention to the development of gastronomy and to the gastronomical writers who are relatively unknown even to professional classicists. The book can also be a useful starting point for inquiries into Greek food."
-"Bryn Mawr Classical Review
"If your knowledge of Greek food stops at South Street Souvlaki, try this scholarly history of food and gastronomy in Greece. Is it true that Achilles got cranky without a daily gyro? Feta-ed to be a bestseller among epicures."
About the Author
Andrew Dalby trained as a classicist and linguist and is now librarian of the London Goodenough Trust for Overseas Graduates
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
He gives a comprehensive list of the foods available from Neolithic Greece to Byzantium times and quotes several plays that made referances to Greek food (from the Classical times). The problem is, he makes the usually fascinating subject of food history a dry read and it feels somewhat like a chore plowing through the material. I would have liked a description of the Dionysian Cult and how that tied into alcohol comsumption. I never did figure out if meat was only eaten after if was sacrificed or not. I've read far better descriptions of Symposiums and Banquets, and there wasn't much information on the Agora. I would have liked to have a whole section on Archestratus (the first great food writer) and what he wrote rather than have quotes scattered throughout the Classical Greece section. Lasty, after reading Reah Tannahills "Food in History" (still the best overall book on this topic IMO, I looked for any mention of the envirnomental degradation by the earliest populations which she writes about, and the effect that Solon's ruling on no exports except olive oil had on agriculture - but failed to see any referance to these topics.
If however you want a very complete and well researched book on what foods where available during these times, then this is the book for you.
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