The Philosophers Kitchen: Recipes from Ancient Greece and Rome for the Modern Cook

Francine Segan

Published by Random House, 2004
ISBN 10: 1400060990 / ISBN 13: 9781400060993
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Synopsis: “It is the culinary legacy of the ancients that inspired this cookbook. . . Re-creating the cuisine of the ancient Greeks and Romans helps us connect in some small but wonderful way to their time, teachings, and lives.”
–from the Introduction of The Philosopher’s Kitchen


“Pleasure is the beginning and end of living happily,” said the Greek philosopher Epicurus two thousand years ago. Certainly the dazzlingly varied, subtly seasoned cuisine of ancient Greece and Rome measured up to the highest standards of eating pleasure. The Philosopher’s Kitchen offers seductive, modern interpretations of these dishes using a variety of sources, from writings by Plato, Aristotle, Homer, and Cicero to the oldest known surviving cookbook.

Here is a rich array of culinary delights, ab ovo usque ab malum, or “from eggs to fruit,” as the Romans said. Mussels in Cumin Sherry Sauce, Chestnut-Mint Puree, Chicken Breasts with Hazelnut Pesto, Lamb with Pomegranate-Glazed Onions, and Walnut Cake with Fig Jam are just a few of the delicious, healthy, and gorgeous recipes in this book that will delight and surprise the modern cook.

Francine Segan also allows us a glimpse into the ancient world by putting each recipe in its cultural context, taking us to Greek feasts and Roman banquets and revealing customs, expressions, and superstitions that are still very much a part of modern life. She shares tips on entertaining, even including sample invitations a host can use to summon friends to a Roman spread of his or her own.

Organized for easy, efficient use and replete with Tim Turner’s stunning photographs, The Philosopher’s Kitchen is a glorious buffet for the senses, providing literal food for thought.

Review: “Francine Segan has gifted us with a stunning gustatory link to the gastronomic culture of the ancient Greeks and Romans. These delectable, timeless, and earthy recipes reaffirm a beautiful and intangible aspect of cooking.” –Mario Batali, Babbo, Lupa, Esca, Otto and Casa Mono
“I very much enjoyed Shakespeare’s Kitchen and am delighted that Francine Segan has continued her exploration of our gastronomic heritage with this new book about the foods of ancient Rome and Greece.  It is said that history repeats itself and it is nice to see that this holds true of the culinary arts as well–the dishes in the Philosopher’s Kitchen translate well (or, better yet, have been well translated!) to the modern palate.  Delicious!” –Daniel Boulud–Daniel, db bistro moderne, Café Boulud–New York and Palm Beach.

"A beautiful book–gourmet in every sense." –Olympia Dukakis, Academy Award winning actress

"I find the complexity of the dishes and variety of the ingredients amazing. Francine Segan does a wonderful job of translating ancient recipes for use in today's kitchen." -Jean-Georges Vongerichten, author of Simple to Spectacular and Cooking at Home with a Four Star Chef

“The culture of the ancient Greeks and Romans is not simply a matter of annals and epics. Francine Segan shows that we can learn as much about their way of life from what they cooked and ate. In this delicious pot-pourri of recipes and history, we can re-create what Socrates might have had for lunch and devise a menu for one of Cicero’s fabled dinner parties. A wonderful sequel to the same author’s Shakespeare’s Kitchen.” -Anthony Everitt, author of Cicero

"Along with a succinctly brilliant survey of the legacy of ancient Greek and Roman values that affect our daily lives, Francine Segan's well researched book has filled a gap by reminding us of the rather underestimated classical culinary legacy to our culture. The Philosopher's Kitchen joyously reminds us of the many festive elements to preparing and sharing a meal." -Zvi Yavetz, Distinguished Professor in Classical History at the Graduate Center of CUNY and F. Lessing Professor Emeritus at Tel Aviv University

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Philosophers Kitchen: Recipes from ...
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 2004
Book Condition: New

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