Gifts of the Gods : A History of Food in Greece

Author(s): Rachel Andrew; Dalby Dalby

Social Sciences | Reaktion Books | Staff Picks | Cookery

What do we think about when we think of Greek food? For many, it is the meze and traditional plates of a typical Greek island taverna from summer holidays or from Greek restaurants at home. This book takes us into and beyond the taverna to offer us a unique, comprehensive history of the foods of Greece. Andrew and Rachel Dalby discuss how the land was first settled, what was grown, and how certain fruits, herbs and vegetables came to be identified. Moving through prehistorical and classical Greece, and the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, they explore the variety of Greek foods among communities outside the national borders as well as the food culture of the regions and islands of Greece itself. Through a synthesis of modern Greek food, with all that it owes to Christianity and to Greeks of the diaspora, they lead us into a discussion of Greek hospitality. Greek food is brimming with thousands of centuries of history, lore and culture. With many superb illustrations, and traditional recipes that blend historical and modern flavours, Gifts of the Gods is a fine account of this rich and ancient cuisine.

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"Blending well-illustrated recipes into their graceful narrative, the authors offer a comprehensive survey of the evolution of Greek foods from ancient times to today. . . .The book’s general theme is how the natural environment, or the 'gift of the gods,' as it is aptly entitled, has shaped Greek foodways and culinary traditions over those historical periods. . . . The reading [is] rather enjoyable and entertaining. . . . Recommended."

– Choice   (JC BookGrocer)


Easily the most comprehensive book for lovers of Greek food and cooking, Gifts of the Gods moves from the classics of Greek food to the modern world and everything in between. Containing far more than spanakopita or tzatziki, this will impress even the most knowledgeable epicure.

Elisa, Book Grocer

Andrew Dalby is a linguist, translator and historian based in France, and the author of many books on food history including Food in the Ancient World from A to Z (2003), The Breakfast Book (Reaktion, 2013) and Cheese: A Global History (Reaktion, 2009). Rachel Dalby, Andrew Dalby's daughter, began to explore Greek food aged seven and has never stopped. She has lived for sixteen years on the island of Paros, where she and her partner run the Marina Cafe.

General Fields

  • : 9781780238548
  • : Reaktion Books, Limited
  • : Reaktion Books, Limited
  • : November 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Rachel Andrew; Dalby Dalby
  • : Hardcover
  • : 384