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Coarse bread bathed in olive oil, then rubbed with tomato or garlic and salt, is common to all the Mediterranean cultures from France to Algeria, from Morocco to Greece. On the island of Majorca, it is known as pa amb oli, bread and oil. Tomas Graves takes this healthy peasant staple as a starting point to explore not only Mediterranean cooking, agriculture, and traditions but also the historical crosscurrents that have rescued this simple dish from disappearing along with a way of life that had remained essentially unchanged since Roman times. Pa amb oli has come to symbolize for Majorcans all that is still honest and valid in the island, which became a major tourist destination in the 1960s and has been looking for its soul ever since. Bread and Oil celebrates the Majorcan character as reflected in its eating habits--simplicity, serenity, resourcefulness, and no qualms about getting one's hands oily. "Bread and Oil . . . explores local traditions--the cooks and the restaurants, the bakers and sausage makers, wine-growers--and the provenance of its flour and bread, olives and olive oil, and the sensational vegetables and fruits."--Independent
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