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Around the Roman Table: Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome Paperback – April 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0226233475 ISBN-10: 0226233472 Edition: 1st

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Around the Roman Table: Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome + A Taste of Ancient Rome + Roman Cookery: Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226233472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226233475
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"There are many misconceptions about the food of ancient Rome that Faas sets out to correct. The result is half cookbook, half history book and is entirely fascinating to both chef and antiquarian alike. . . . . To read Mr. Faas book is a pleasure, to put it to use requires a certain spirit. Many of the recipes he includes in the book are accessible to the adventurous cook and will definitely reward a curious mind and palate."
(David Johnson Washington Times)

"The author has chosen a representative cross-section of ancient recipes and has provided adaptations and background material that will render the volume quite used friendly, especially for students who wish to try their hand at ancient cuiosine."
(John F. Donahue Bryn Mawr Classical Review)

"A delightful look at Roman culinary history, customs and recipes. It should make for a good library addition for anyone who is interested in recreating traditional recipes, as well as a nice introduction for those who are simply wanting to learn more about ancient Roman culinary history."
(The Cauldron)

About the Author

Patrick Faas writes a food column in the national Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. Shaun Whiteside has translated many books from French, German, Italian, and Dutch, including works by Freud and Nietzsche.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Evan the Dweezil on July 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
Faas' combination of exploring Roman culture via food and dining ritual is fascinating in its own right. Once the recipes are added, Around the Roman Table becomes a fantastic way to participate in history rather than passively attempt to absorb it.

I would have liked more illustrations or possibly photos of how the recipes turned out with Faas' attempts at making them. Other than that, this was a fun and interesting book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Hancock on October 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
Pretty awesome book... I must say. If you wanted to know about Roman cooking this is the book for you. It talks about all kinds of aspects of life and entertainment in Rome as well. Some ingredients don't translate well... Dolphin? Whats a good replacement for that? Good book though.
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Format: Paperback
An entertaining and wide-ranging look at ancient Roman cuisine.

When I decided I needed to know more about food and eating in the ancient world of my own work in progress, I went overboard and ordered three different books on it. When they arrived I had to choose which one to start with. Looking them over, I thought that Patrick Faas’s book would provide the best introduction. Now, although I haven’t read the other two books yet, I feel sure that I chose right.

The other books are primarily cookbooks, and Faas’s book is also that, with plenty of recipes drawn from ancient authors, notably Apicius, who wrote “the only gastronomic cookery book handed down to us from classical antiquity.” But it’s also much more than that. Faas sets the scene by taking us through all the things that surrounded the dishes themselves, starting with a “culinary history” of Rome that looks at the agricultural basis of Roman society and the various influences that affected it, such as Africa and Greece, and other factors such as feast days, philosophy, and sumptuary laws. He moves on to a study of “the meal,” with chapters on table manners, the courses of a meal, the menu, and “the carousal” or drinking party that usually followed a dinner party. The author goes on to discuss Roman wine and other drinks, the Roman cook, and his condiments. Only then, in Part Two of the book, 175 pages in, does Faas start presenting recipes for actual dishes.

I was captivated by so much of what I found in this book. I knew that Romans reclined to eat their dinners, but how exactly did they arrange themselves around the table, and who reclined next to whom? The answers are here, along with illustrations. Did Romans really gorge themselves and then vomit up their food to eat more?
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