A little Anthropology

1,586
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Joined Jan 5, 2001
The pre-Columbian kitchen thread got me thinking...

What was the prefered method of cooking in Ancient Greece. Was it cooking with oil, boiling or braising?

Atheneaus, you're the resident food anthropologist, do you have info on this?
 
1,389
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Joined Jul 24, 2001
Interesting question Anneke! As always ;)

Give me some time and I will post something.
Flattered for asking me to do so.
 
4,508
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
I had to do some research to find some ideas of ancient Greek cuisine.

I found that the peloponnesian area is grounded in the growing and production of olive oil, Also kalamata olives come from this area. the food is considered peasant cuisine. Most meals are "one pot" meals using olive oil and the vegetables of the regiean as the foundation. What I learned about roumeli and Epirus is that the mountains really dictate the food. These are where the shepards live and the cuisine reflects hardship but also ingenuity. The reigning food here is Pita ( as in savory pie) I found that there are hundreds of combinations including mixing dairy and greens.

Thessaly is the grain belt of Greece and along with roumeli is probably the one place in the entire country where meat played a prominent role in the local diet.

This is all I have been able to find in some of my books so far.
I know Athenaues will shed a great deal of light on this subject
cc
 
1,586
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Joined Jan 5, 2001
Very interesting!

The reason I asked this question is that I've been reading conflicting information. One source says that Ancient Greeks predominantly used oil for cooking, and the other says the prefered method was boiling and braising. Maybe both are correct depending on the region and local agriculture.
 
4,508
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
Anneke, Through my readings on Greece I think it is virtualy impossible to lump there cuisine into a specific catagory.

The studys I have come across cover many ares.
These are the one's I find most interesting
Athens, Crete,Dodecanse,Cyclades, The pelopennessos,The Ionian islands, The Islands of the Northeastern Aegean, Roumeli,Epirus, Thessaly and Macedonia and thrace.

I found that each one of these regians offer many different styles and history about there cuisines. Some are similar to one another, But most give you a very individual look.
cc
 
1,389
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Joined Jul 24, 2001
Tha lack of Ancient Greek cook books does not permit us to define the most popular cooking method in ancient Greece.

Our main written source for cook books, cooks and their techinique is Athenaeus of Naukratis.

Thanks to Athenaeus we have some extracts of the work of Mithekus* ( The first author of a cooking book in history :) ) Archestratus , Erasestratus, Filoxenus, Glaukus.
The problem for modern researchers seems to be that the ancient cooking books were addressing to the professional cooks that suppose to already know the portions and the cooking techniques. Those book were not suppose to teach amateurs.
So the recipes where mostly catalogues of ingredients that a specific course should contain.

Athenaeus though gives us some a recipe of Archestratus about fried shark. In this recipe Archestratus gives specific directions on how dep the frying must be.As he mentions in the extract , shark was an unknown ingredient so he felt obliged to give some explanations on how to cook it.

The fried shark brought us to the other big issue. When the Greeks started to use olive oil in their cooking. We must agere that in the 5th century BC that cooking was already considered a serious task and the word gastronomy appears in the attic dialect , olive oil was in use in cooking.

Excavations have some things to tell us on that too. We have found all sort of kitchen utensil. Casseroles, pans,grills even equipment for bain-mari!! Not to mention the variety in utensils used for baking bread!!

* The story of the Mithekus and the first cookbook in History is very strange . How cannot be strange since Plato is involved in the subject and he created the same problem with Atlantis. But I will mention his story in the Atlantis thread :)

PS Cape Chef, I couldn't help noticing that you are searching for Mother Tethys.

I might meet her tonight. Do you want me to tell her anything on your behalf? Please let me know :)
 
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
When I was young I used to do water ballet at the jewish community center where I spent my summers. I have always been a very good swimmer. One of the girls I swam with was very pretty and we kind of had a crush on eachother:blush:

When we would swim together for our numbers she would remind me of a mermaid, she had long dark hair and swam very well. I know this is all a little silly and has nothing to do with food.

Because of this girl I have always loved mermaids...It's a guy thing I guess..LOL

So Tethy, being the greatest all mermaids and the queen of the seas has always peeked my imagination.

She will not know me if you mentian my name:cool:
Just a querky little story!!:crazy: :crazy:
 
1,586
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Joined Jan 5, 2001
Thank you Atheneaus!

What I found particularly interesting when reading up on Ancient Greece was the presence of the cook as a professional as early as 500 BCE. Their job was strongly oriented towards the quality of the ingredients, for which they were constantly vigilant. How interesting when thinking of today's food professional. Are things really that different? (well, ideally of course...)
 
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I asked you guys not to laugh:blush: :blush: :blush: :blush:

Besides it was all a big joke, yeah thats it ..just a big joke;) :p

BTW...After I posted that silly story I reliesed I was in cooks corner..Sorry folks:eek:
 
1,389
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Joined Jul 24, 2001
Sorry to hear that it was a joke Cape Chef :(

Tethys was asking about you and your New England chowder the other night.
You have quite a reputation among mermaids for your soups, you know.
I will let her know that it was a "false alarm"
 
1,586
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Joined Jan 5, 2001
We're not laughing AT you CC.

We're laughing..um.. WITH you. Yeah, that's it..
 
1,389
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Joined Jul 24, 2001
I think that I will take some time posting about ancient cooks and their fans!! Crazy stories!!!
 

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