Gastrology or Study of the Belly or Inquiry Into Dinner or Life of Pleasure
by Archestratos, translated by Gian Lombardo

ISBN: 978-0-9792999-6-4
Perfect Bound, $13.00
Publication Date: December 2009.
4 x 6 inches, 86 pages

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Gastrology or Life of Pleasure or Study of the Belly or Inquiry Into Dinner is one of the Western world’s first cookbooks, if one could find pig-fish (“Braise its head but add no seasoning”) or Toronaian saw-tooth shark (“Sprinkle with cumin and roast with a pinch of salt”). It’s also a travelogue of ancient Greek port-towns, and a guide to the prejudices of the day (“Don’t let any Siracusan, or Italian for that matter, get near when you’re cooking”). Most of all, this book is a testament to the ways in which, since the beginnings of Western civilization, people have been taking serious and sensual pleasure in the food they eat. In this volume, Gian Lombardo has culled together previous translations of Archestratos’s work to provide a version that best captures the author’s simultaneously dogmatically authoritative and irreverent tome.

One fragment from Gastrology...


Treat small fry like shit, except those from Athens. Minnows, I mean — what Ionians call sea foam. Buy them only when they are freshly caught from the reaches of Phaleron’s beautiful shore. They are also not so bad when caught off sea-girt Rhodes, but make sure they’re from there.

If the desire to try them overtakes you, you’d also better shell out money for sea anemones (for those who don’t know, they are those tentacled sea nettles). Mix them with the minnows, grind up some fragrant green herbs, and then fry it all together in a skillet with some olive oil.

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