Alexandros Basis's Album: Wall Photos

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When one thinks of ancient Greece, temples and tragedies spring to mind, but not cookery. The Life of Luxury was written in about 330 BC by the Sicilian Greek poet Archestratus. The work itself has vanished, but 62 fragments remain, quoted in a Roman text by Athenaeus of Naucratis. It forms "a remarkable and almost unique work", one of the earliest pieces of food writing which offers a wonderful insight into the tastes of the ancient world. Written in verse, this guide to where and when the best produce could be bought and how it should be prepared was meant to be recited during a banquet. Archestratus favoured "the nouvelle cuisine of the ancient world", as the translators of this excellent edition point out. Parrotfish should be coated in cheese, seasoned with cumin and baked whole. But fine oily fish needs only a sprinkle of salt and oil, "for they possess in themselves the fullness of delight". The best swordfish came from Byzantium and the finest wine from Lesbos, according to this Greek gourmet who, said Athenaeus, "sailed round the inhabited world for the sake of his belly"
Source: The Guardian 12/8/2011 PD Smith