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The Pleasures of Empire: Food and Cooking in Ancient Rome
Lecture and Tasting

Date/Time: Thursday, July 23, 2009, 7:00 p.m., repeating Saturday, July 25, 2009, 5:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Villa, Auditorium and Cafe Terrace
Tickets: $35 per person per session. Both programs are now sold out.

sold out

Explore the culinary pleasures of the Roman empire with historian Andrew Dalby and chef Sally Grainger, authors of The Classical Cookbook, with an evening for the mind and the senses.

Lecture: Exploring Roman Cuisine
Andrew Dalby begins by examining the exotic tastes and aromas of the ancient Rome. Under the Roman Empire, the Mediterranean lands were united under a single government, and its people benefited from a prosperous trade and a growing economy. Dalby reveals how rare ingredients were harvested from every province of the empire and shipped at great cost over land and sea. Tuna and fish sauce from the Atlantic, as well as cinnamon and spikenard from southern Asia, were ingredients in the first truly imperial cuisine—one that can still be savored in Roman literature and reconstructed from textual and archaeological evidence.

Sally Grainger then shares her research on the Roman recipe text Apicius, explaining why it is one of the few culinary sources to survive from antiquity. She traces how recipes were handed down in Greek and Roman sources, highlights key recipes, and illustrates aspects of Roman cooking techniques.

Tasting: Savoring Roman Delicacies
The program concludes on the Villa's Cafe Terrace with a tasting of Roman delicacies from Apicius, as well as other ancient sources, prepared under the direction of chef Grainger. Wine will be served and is included in the fee.

About Andrew Dalby
Andrew Dalby is a historian and linguist with a special interest in food history. He collaborated with Sally Grainger on The Classical Cookbook (Getty Publications, 1995), which explores the history of ancient Greek and Roman food and cookery and includes recipes adapted for the modern kitchen. For Siren Feasts (1996), a history of food and gastronomy in Greece, he won a Runciman Award. His other publications include Empire of Pleasures (2000), covering food and other luxuries in Roman writings; Dangerous Tastes (2000), on the origins of the spice trade; and light-hearted biographies of Bacchus and Venus (Getty Publications, 2003 and 2005).

Dalby studied classics and linguistics at Cambridge and worked in foreign and Oriental collections at Cambridge University Library. He now lives in France, where he writes, grows fruit, and makes cider.

About Sally Grainger
Sally Grainger trained as a chef in her native Coventry, England, before moving to London, where she became a chef patisserie. Soon after, she took an interest in classical civilization and earned a degree in ancient history from the University of London. Combining her professional skills with her study of the culinary heritage of the Greek and Roman world, she now pursues a career as a food historian, consultant, and historical reenactor.

Grainger's recent projects have included an ancient Greek banquet for the Guild of Food Writers in London and a Roman reception and tasting at the Museum of London to celebrate the exhibition High Street Londinium. She demonstrates ancient cooking skills at Roman sites around the United Kingdom for English Heritage and at Butser Ancient Farm, a reconstructed Iron Age farm and laboratory for experimental archaeology.

With her husband, Christopher Grocock, Grainger recently published a new translation of the Roman recipe book Apicius for Prospect Books. She has also published a companion volume of recipes, Cooking Apicius.

Roman Feast

How to Get Here
The Getty Villa is located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California, approximately 25 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for directions and parking information.

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