June 30, 2011

Travel Back in Time with Roman-Inspired Dinner and Lecture on Power Dining in Antiquity (New Dates Added)



At the Roman Table: A Culinary Adventure at the Getty Villa



At The J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa
Thursday, July 14, and Friday, July 15, 2011, 7–10:00 p.m.

LOS ANGELES—This summer, the J. Paul Getty Museum invites you to take a culinary step back in time with a lecture about dining practices in the time of Caesar and a sumptuous dinner inspired by ancient Roman recipes. At the Roman Table: A Culinary Adventure at the Getty Villa takes place on Thursday, July 14, and Friday, July 15, 2011, 7–10:00 p.m.

Seating is limited. Reservations are available at or by phone at (310) 440-7300, beginning July 1.

The evening begins with food historian Andrew Dalby exploring the nature of "power dining" in antiquity with a talk entitled Dining with Caesar: Food and Power in Ancient Rome. He identifies great wines, local produce, and luxuries—including exotic spices from India and beyond—that made up a fashionable dinner 2,000 years ago. He illustrates how invitations and place settings at the table were calculated to impress, persuade, or seduce.

Dalby also examines Gaius Julius Caesar and how he, as a relatively unknown politician, built up the influence that made him a dictator and gave birth to a new political structure. Caesar understood better than any of his rivals that food could serve as a means of persuasion, and Dalby shares examples from Caesar’s feasts and entertainments to shed fresh light on this pivotal period of Roman history.

Following the talk, guests move into the Inner Peristyle of the Getty Villa to enjoy a seated, four-course dinner prepared under the direction of Chef Sally Grainger. Many of the dishes are based on Grainger’s extensive research of Apicius, the only surviving ancient Roman recipe book. The menu features dishes typical of a celebratory feast including oysters, delicately flavored with a special sauce called an oenogarum and calf’s kidney stuffed with fennel and coriander as a first course. As a pièce de résistance, a whole boned and stuffed suckling pig known as porcellum hortolanum (garden-style piglet). The dinner concludes with a honey infused cake called a libum. The menu is rich in meats and combines complex sweet and spicy flavors to entice adventurous palates.

At the Roman Table: A Culinary Adventure at the Getty Villa is $75 per person; wine is included. The lecture and four-course dinner will take place on Thursday, July 14, and Friday, July 15, 2011, 7–10:00 p.m. Dalby and Grainger co-authored The Classical Cookbook (Getty Publications, 1995), which explores the culinary history of ancient Greece and Rome and includes recipes adapted for the modern kitchen. At the Roman Table marks their second appearance at the Getty for a culinary event. In 2009, they presented the lecture and tasting, The Pleasures of Empire: Food and Cooking in Ancient Rome.

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). 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), addressing 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 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.

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Desiree Zenowich
Getty Communications
(310) 440-7304

About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

Sign up for e-Getty at to receive free monthly highlights of events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa via e-mail, or visit our event calendar for a complete calendar of public programs.

Visiting the Getty Villa
The Getty Villa is open Wednesday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Tuesday and major holidays. Admission to the Getty Villa is always free. A ticket is required for admission. Tickets can be ordered in advance, or on the day of your visit, at or at (310) 440-7300. Parking is $15 per car, but $10 after 5 p.m. for evening events. Reservations are required for groups of 15 or more. For more information, call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish). The TTY line for callers who are deaf or hearing impaired is (310) 440-7305. The Getty Villa is at located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, California.


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