The Getty Villa

Enjoy culinary pleasures from antiquity with a dinner inspired by ancient Roman recipes and a lecture about food and power dining in the time of Caesar.

Date: Thursday, July 14 and Friday, July 15, 2011 (Previously announced as Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17, 2011)
Time: 7:00-10:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Villa, Auditorium and Inner Peristyle

Getty Villa
LECTURE: Dining with Caesar: Food and Power in Ancient Rome
Food historian Andrew Dalby starts the evening by exploring dining practices in the city that once ruled the Mediterranean. He identifies the range of luxuries that comprised a fashionable meal 2,000 years ago: great wines, local farm produce, and exotic spices from India and beyond. Dalby illustrates how invitations and place settings at the table were calculated to impress, persuade, or seduce. Gaius Julius Caesar understood better than any of his rivals that food could serve as a means of persuasion. How did Caesar, a relatively unknown politician, build up the influence that made him a dictator and gave birth to a new political structure? Dalby shares examples from the ruler's feasts and entertainments to shed fresh light on this pivotal period of Roman history.

Getty Villa Inner Peristyle
DINNER: Exploring Roman Cuisine
The evening continues with dinner inspired by ancient Roman recipes and set outdoors against the backdrop of the Getty Villa. Guests enjoy a seated, four-course meal prepared under the direction of food historian and chef Sally Grainger and based on her extensive research of Apicius, the only surviving ancient Roman recipe book. The menu features dishes typical of a celebratory feast including oysters flavored with a special sauce called oenogarum, calf's kidney stuffed with fennel and coriander, and, as a pièce de résistance, a whole boned and stuffed pig called porcellum hortolanum. The meal concludes with a honey-infused "cheesecake" dessert called libum. The menu is rich in meats and combines complex sweet and spicy flavors to entice adventurous palates.

Download the menu (PDF, 110 KB)

About Andrew Dalby
Andrew Dalby is an 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 culinary history of ancient Greece and Rome and includes recipes adapted for the modern kitchen. His book Dangerous Tastes (2000), on the origins of the spice trade, was a Guild of Food Writers Food Book of the Year. His other publications include Empire of Pleasures (2000), which addresses food and other luxuries in Roman writings; light-hearted accounts of Bacchus and Venus (Getty Publications, 2003 and 2005); and a new biography of the Greek statesman, Eleftherios Venizelos (2010). His latest translation, Geoponika (2011), brings to light a forgotten primary source on food and farming in Roman and Byzantine times.

Dalby studied classics and linguistics at the University of Cambridge. 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 developing an interest in the ancient world and taking a degree in ancient history from the University of London. Combining her professional skills with her expertise in the culinary heritage of the Greek and Roman world, she now pursues a career as a food historian, consultant, and experimental archaeologist.

Grainger's recent projects include Roman food tastings at the British Museum and the Bath Roman Museum in England. She has demonstrated ancient cooking techniques for English Heritage and also Butser Ancient Farm, a reconstructed Iron Age village and laboratory for experimental archaeology. Grainger recently acquired an M.A. in archaeology and is currently researching the extensive trade across the Roman world of the fermented fish sauce known as garum. With her husband, Christopher Grocock, Grainger published a new translation of the Roman recipe book Apicius for Prospect Books. She has also published a companion volume of recipes, Cooking Apicius.

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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.