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The Classical Cookbook combines carefully researched history with recipes that are interpretations of ancient Greece and Rome. Two Britons, historian Andrew Dalby and chef Sally Grainger, collaborated on this book, which discusses the banquets and feasts of Athens and Rome, but focuses mostly on how average people ate every day. Many of the seasonings favored from around 700 B.C. up to the fall of Rome in the 5th century, it turns out, are not that foreign to what we use today: leeks, nuts, vinegar, wine. The authors provide easy equivalents for the more exotic ingredients. Imagine how Socrates, in the 1st century, may have enjoyed honey-glazed shrimp or cheesecake. Such dishes make it tempting to try the culinary adaptations of classical cookery. Here's a rare example of history brought to life.
Andrew Dalby is librarian of the London House for Overseas Graduates and has written for numerous food history and classics journals. Sally Grainger is a professional pastry chef and regularly organizes Roman banquets.