Cuisine and the
Articles from the
Oxford Classical Dictionary
food & drink | food supply | water | water supply | agora | cakes | cereals | climate | cookery | dancing | dining-rooms | elegy | famine | fasting | fig | fire | fishing | games | granaries | honey | household | houses | love & friendship | lyric | markets & fairs | meals | milk | mills | music | olive | painting | pastoralism | pottery | sanitation | symposium | symposium literature | trade | traders | wine
This book looks at the way in which food was employed in Greek and Roman literature to impart identity, whether social, individual, religious or ethnic. In many instances these markers are laid down in the way that foods were restricted, in other words by looking at the negatives instead of the positives of what was consumed. Michael Beer looks at several aspects of food restriction in antiquity, for example, the way in which they eschewed excess and glorified the simple diet; the way in which Jewish dietary restriction identified that nation under the Empire; the way in which Pythagoreans denied themselves meat (and beans); and the way in which the poor were restricted by economic reality from enjoying the full range of foods. These topics allow him to look at important aspects of Graeco-Roman social attitudes. For example, republic virtue, imperial laxity, Homeric and Spartan military valour, social control through sumptuary laws, and answers to excessive drinking. He also looks closely at the inherent divide of the Roman world between the twin centres of Greece and Rome and how it is expressed in food and its consumption.
Cheese, wine, honey and olive oil -- four of Greece's best known contributions to culinary culture -- were already well known four thousand years ago. Remains of honeycombs and of cheeses have been found under the volcanic ash of the Santorini eruption of 1627 BC. Over the millennia, Greek food diversified and absorbed neighbouring traditions, yet retained its own distinctive character. In this work, Andrew Dalby provides the first serious social history of Greek food. He begins with the tunny fishers of the neolithic age, and traces the story through the repertoire of classical Greece, the reputations of Lydia for luxury and of Sicily and South Italy for sybaritism, to the Imperial synthesis of varying traditions, with a look forward to the Byzantine cuisine and the development of the modern Greek menu. The apples of the Hesperides turn out to be lemons, and great favour attaches to Byzantine biscuits. Fully documented and comprehensively illustrated, scholarly yet immensely readable, this book demonstrates the social construction placed upon different types of food at different periods (was fish a luxury item in classical Athens, though disdained by Homeric heroes?). It places diet in an economic and agricultural context; and it provides a history of mentalities in relation to a subject which no human being can ignore.
From Archaic Greece until the Late Roman Empire (c. 800 BCE to c. 500 CE), food was more than a physical necessity; it was a critical factor in politics, economics and culture. On the one hand, the Mediterranean landscape and climate encouraged particular crops – notably cereals, vines and olives – but, with the risks of crop failure ever-present, control of food resources was vital to economic and political power. On the other hand, diet and dining reflected complex social hierarchies and relationships. What was eaten, with whom and when was a fundamental part of the expression of one's role and place in society. In addition, symbolism and ritual suffused foodstuffs, their preparation and consumption. This work presents an overview of the period with essays on food production, food systems, food security, safety and crises, food and politics, eating out, professional cooking, kitchens and service work, family and domesticity, body and soul, representations of food, and developments in food production and consumption globally.
When did we first serve meals at regular hours? Why did we begin using individual plates and utensils to eat? When did "cuisine" become a concept and how did we come to judge food by its method of preparation, manner of consumption, and gastronomic merit. This book explores culinary evolution and eating habits from prehistoric times to the present, offering surprising insights into our social and agricultural practices, religious beliefs, and most unreflected habits. The volume dispels myths such as the tale that Marco Polo brought pasta to Europe from China, that the original recipe for chocolate contained chili instead of sugar, and more. As it builds its history, the text also reveals the dietary rules of the ancient Hebrews, the contributions of Arabic cookery to European cuisine, the table etiquette of the Middle Ages, and the evolution of beverage styles in early America. It concludes with a discussion on the McDonaldization of food and growing popularity of foreign foods today.
In the Greek Classical period, the symposium -- the social gathering at which male citizens gathered to drink wine and engage in conversation -- was held in a room called the andron. From couches set up around the perimeter, symposiasts looked inward to the room's center, which often was decorated with a pebble mosaic floor. These mosaics provided visual treats for the guests, presenting them with images of mythological scenes, exotic flora, dangerous beasts, hunting parties, or the spectre of Dionysos: the god of wine, riding in his chariot or on the back of a panther. In this book, Hallie M. Franks takes as her subject these mosaics and the context of their viewing. Relying on discourses in the sociology and anthropology of space, she presents an innovative new interpretation of the mosaic imagery as an active contributor to the symposium as a metaphorical experience. Franks argues that the images on mosaic floors, combined with the ritualized circling of the wine cup and the physiological reaction to wine during the symposium, would have called to mind other images, spaces, or experiences, and in doing so, prompted drinkers to reimagine the symposium as another kind of event -- a nautical voyage, a journey to a foreign land, the circling heavens or a choral dance, or the luxury of an abundant past. Such spatial metaphors helped to forge the intimate bonds of friendship that are the ideal result of the symposium and that make up the political and social fabric of the Greek polis.
This richly illustrated book is the first to apply the discoveries of the new generation of food historians to the pleasures of dining and the culinary accomplishments of diverse civilizations, past and present. Editor Paul Freedman has gathered essays by French, German, Belgian, American, and British historians to present a comprehensive, chronological history of taste from prehistory to the present day. The authors explore the early repertoire of sweet tastes; the distinctive contributions made by classical antiquity and China; the subtle, sophisticated, and varied group of food customs created by the Islamic civilizations of Iberia, the Arabian desert, Persia, and Byzantium; the magnificent cuisine of the Middle Ages, influenced by Rome and adapted from Islamic Spain, Africa, and the Middle East; the decisive break with highly spiced food traditions after the Renaissance and the new focus on primary ingredients and products from the New World; French cuisine's rise to dominance in Europe and America; the evolution of modern restaurant dining, modern agriculture, and technological developments; and today's tastes, which employ few rules and exhibit a glorious eclecticism. The result is the enthralling story not only of what sustains us but also of what makes us feel alive.
This handsome volume presents an innovative look at the imagery of libations, the most commonly depicted ritual in ancient Greece, and how it engaged viewers in religious performance. In a libation, liquid—water, wine, milk, oil, or honey—was poured from a vessel such as a jug or a bowl onto the ground, an altar, or another surface. Libations were made on occasions like banquets, sacrifices, oath-taking, departures to war, and visitations to tombs, and their iconography provides essential insight into religious and social life in 5th-century BC Athens. Scenes depicting the ritual often involved beholders directly—a statue’s gaze might establish the onlooker as a fellow participant, or painted vases could draw parallels between human practices and acts of gods or heroes. Beautifully illustrated with a broad range of examples, including the Caryatids at the Acropolis, the Parthenon Frieze, Attic red-figure pottery, and funerary sculpture, this important book demonstrates the power of Greek art to transcend the boundaries between visual representation and everyday experience.
Behind every traditional type of cheese there is a fascinating story. By examining the role of the cheesemaker throughout world history and by understanding a few basic principles of cheese science and technology, we can see how different cheeses have been shaped by and tailored to their surrounding environment, as well as defined by their social and cultural context. This book endeavors to advance our appreciation of cheese origins by viewing human history through the eyes of a cheese scientist. There is also a larger story to be told, a grand narrative that binds all cheeses together into a single history that started with the discovery of cheese making and that is still unfolding to this day. This book reconstructs that 9000-year story based on the often fragmentary information that we have available. This work embarks on a journey that begins in the Neolithic Age and winds its way through the ensuing centuries to the present. This tour through cheese history intersects with some of the pivotal periods in human prehistory and ancient, classical, medieval, renaissance, and modern history that have shaped western civilization, for these periods also shaped the lives of cheesemakers and the diverse cheeses that they developed. The book offers a useful lens through which to view our twenty-first century attitudes toward cheese that we have inherited from our past, and our attitudes about the food system more broadly. This refreshingly original book will appeal to anyone who loves history, food, and especially good cheese.
This book presents the first well-preserved set of sympotic pottery which served a Late Archaic house in the Athenian Agora. The deposit contains household and fine-ware pottery, nearly all the figured pieces of which are forms associated with communal drinking. Since it comes from a single house, the pottery also reflects purchasing patterns and thematic preferences of the homeowner. The multifaceted approach adopted in this book shows that meaning and use are inherently related, and that through archaeology one can restore a context of use for a class of objects frequently studied in isolation.
The history of civilization is, in many ways, the history of wine. This book is the first comprehensive account of the earliest stages of the history and prehistory of viniculture, which extends back into the Neolithic period and beyond. Elegantly written and richly illustrated, Ancient Wine opens up whole new chapters in the fascinating story of wine by drawing on recent archaeological discoveries, molecular and DNA sleuthing, and the writings and art of ancient peoples. In a new afterword, the author discusses exciting recent developments in the understanding of ancient wine, including a new theory of how viniculture came to central and northern Europe.
Hamburgers, pot roast, stew, steak, brisket—these mouthwatering dishes all have cows in common. But while the answer to the question, “Where’s the beef?” may be, “everywhere,” links to obesity and heart disease, mad-cow disease, and global warming have caused consumers to turn a suspicious eye onto the ubiquitous meat. Arguing that beef farming, cooking, and eating is found in virtually every country, Beef delves into the social, cultural, and economic factors that have shaped the production and consumption of beef throughout history. Lorna Piatti-Farnell shows how the class status of beef has changed over time, revealing that the meat that was once the main component in everyday stews is today showcased in elaborate dishes by five-star chefs. She considers the place beef has occupied in art, literature, and historical cookbooks, while also paying attention to the ethical issues in beef production and contemplating its future. Featuring images of beef in art and cuisine and palate-pleasing recipes from around the world, Beef will appeal to the taste buds of amateur grillers and iron chefs alike.
The subject of this work is the central role that wine plays in the literature, history and religion of classical and mediaeval Europe. It examines myths and legends about the origins of viticulture; great drinkers; women and wine; the mixing of wine and water; and ideas of "old" and "new" wine. Although the final chapter and the epilogue look at the development of methods of storage, from classical amphora to modern bottle, the book is generally arranged thematically rather than chronologically in a method based on close reading and rhetorical analysis. Wherever possible, sources are examined in their original language (mainly Greek and Latin) but English translations are supplied throughout, making this book accessible to both scholar and general reader.