Not a party

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by dear abby, Mar 21, 2002.

  1. dear abby

    dear abby

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    Dearest Athenaeus,

    Dear Abby has been so very impressed with your extensive knowledge of culinary history! She proposes a little problem for you.

    As you know, Dear Abby remains in mourning for her much beloved George. But, Athenaeus. Dear Abby must confess that she is becoming terribly bored here. Of necessity, her trip to Chicago has been postponed. She must do something! N'est pas?

    Organizing one of Dear Abby's extravagant parties is out of the question, of course. But Athenaeus, the symposium lately proposed by Cape Chef intrigued her. Perhaps she might arrange just such a symposium. Antiquity is much in fashion!

    Could you please provide some information on a typical ancient Greek menu? Chef Henri is very skilled, so Abby assures you that he is up to the task. It is sometimes a challenge to convince him to try a new recipe, but truthfully, he would do anything for Abby.

    Merci!

    Abby
     
  2. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Dear Abby,

    I know this question was posed to Athenaeus, but if their is anyway I can help, let me know.

    I really love the food of the Mediterranean, and greek is one of my favorites.

    I promise not to step on Henri's toes:chef: :rolleyes:
     
  3. dear abby

    dear abby

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    My dear friend,

    Dear Abby will take whatever help she can get. She is planning at this time to throw this little symposium toward the end of April when Dear Jane will be in Rapid City, South Dakota, preforming in the Vagina Monologues. Dear Abby will be traveling this spring, but will certainly be back in this area in time for that!

    How wonderful to be planning a Not a Party! This will surely help Dear Abby throw off the winter doldrums. Whatever made her think that a ranch in winter would be serene!

    Abby
     
  4. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Dear Abby must excuse Athenaeus for the delay.

    I was having fantasies of Dear Abby's proverbial parties in Miami Florida, Aspen Colorado, Hollywood Los Angeles,Tuscany Italy etc etc and I was thinking how me, who wouldn't spend more than 30$ for a bottle of wine ( But I would spend 600$ or more for a bottle of whiskey) could help Dear Abby organise a non-party.

    So, I thought to propose to you several "parties" in a long time range, from Classical Greece-to Imperial Rome and from Medieval Europe to Italian Rennaissance.

    From Industrial Revolution to our days , Dear Abby knows better than me ( this wasn't an inuendo for her age...)

    If you choose the Classical Greece option, you must know that your party won't be an original one.

    Why? Just for a simple reason; women didn't give Symposiums. To be exact, women weren't present at all in such events. They were locked in the kitchen.

    Ancient Atheneans , in order to organize a Symposium they were hiring a cook.

    The cook was responsible for setting up the menu and going to the market to buy the ingredients.

    Very often, cooks were present in the Symposium as guests after they have finished their duties :)

    They weren't cooking anyway... As the executive chefs of ours days they were giving orders to the slaves and the were preparing only the difficult sauces and complicated dishes.

    Those ancient Greek cooks, were proverbial for their attitude and their arrogance, especially in the period of Late Antiquity.
    That's why a cook was always present in the comedies of the late antiquity.

    It was very common that the cook wouldn't work alone but he would have his "maitre D" ( trapezopoioi ) with him. This person would be responsible for the arrangement of the dinning room and the serving of the courses...

    I will close my short introduction with a warning Dear Abby. Maybe you wouldn't want Henry read my last lines but I cannot hide the historical truth

    " A man who has been unfair to a cook , he never got away with it." ;)

    ( Menandrus, Dyskolos 644-647)



    To be continued of course...
     
  5. dear abby

    dear abby

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    Dearest Athenaeus!

    How marvelous! What a perfectly lovely start to the planning of Dear Abby's non-party!

    She leaves it in your capable hands. Please feel free to communicate with Florence, who will send out invitations, and Henri. She knows that women were not included in the original symposia, so perhaps she will attend a la Julie Andrews!

    Dear Abby enjoyed your lovely cooking quote. She gives you one herself!

    "I seem to you cruel and too much addicted to gluttony, when I beat my cook for sending up a bad dinner. If that seems to you too trifling a cause, pray tell for what cause you would have a cook flogged?"

    Martial, Roman poet (1st century B.C.)

    Mouts!

    Abby
     
  6. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Dear Abby.

    You are lucky that you have such a competent cook at your service!!

    You see, ancient Greeks ate practically everything, if you exclude of course the vegetables and products that came from the Americas later.

    You are very lucky also that you chose "Ancient Greece" as topic for your party because I am not in the unpleasant position to suggest you, extreme dishes like "Dogs".

    Greeks where the only people in the Mediterannean basin that refused to taste this animal. In fact they were very harsh to the neighbour nations that they cooked this animal!

    Bread.

    An ancient Greek symposium starts with bread and fresh fruits.

    Figs, pomegranites, grapes , if you want an Athenean Symposium!

    It's strange because in my country until today, when you go to a Restaurant, bread is the first thing that it arrives to your table! ( Right Mezzaluna? ;) )

    Lamp and Goat were a luxury in Ancient Greece and they had various ways for cooking this animals.

    So for main course we would be very much " within the spirit" if you served stewed lamp with herbs and artichokes.

    If you want to make a reference to the Homeric Poems then, this lamp should be roasted.

    Fish , for the vegetareans will be very appropriate! Any kind of fish but especially tuna fish and shark!

    I have many ancient recipes for shark. Don't tell me that Henri knows how to cook shark!!!!

    For dessert?? Oh well!

    This is a whole chapter in ancient Greek cooking and long posts are never welcomed! ;)
     
  7. dear abby

    dear abby

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    Dearest Athenaeus,

    Dear Abby thanks you for your delightful ideas! As for Shark, Chef Henri is intimately familiar with preparing this delicious and healthful white meat. He insists that shark should be cleaned as immediately after catching as possible. Apparently, if the blood is not drained from the animal right away, the urea deteriorates into ammonia and results in a pungent odor and dry taste.

    Raul, the pool boy and Dear Abby’s skilled fishing guide, suggests that after gutting the shark, one should wash out as much of the blood as possible and then place the shark on ice. At the dock, the shark should be skinned and the head and tail removed. Then the underlying layer of dark meat should also be removed and the remaining meat may be cut into filets. To further neutralize any residual ammonia the shark filets should be soaked in an acidic solution such as lemon juice prior to cooking or freezing. If one plans to preserve the shark meat using salt, only non-iodized salt should be used as iodized salt will turn the flesh black or it will spoil.

    Chef Henri has several proven recipes for Shark. Blacktip and Mako shark are most commonly available to the consumer and have a lovely, delicate flavor. Chef Henri recommends marinating the shark in flavored oils, lemon juice, or vinegars to help enhance it’s natural flavor and add moisture. He has asked, however, that dear Athenaeus send some of her ancient recipes. He has much interest in food history and would like to compare notes with an expert such as yourself!

    As for the lamb, Dear Abby adores the gentle flavor of lamb. Henri has always said that the Greeks are the masters of lamb. He again is hoping to see some of Dear Athenaeus' recipes! He is looking for the pièce de résistance for the symposium.

    Le plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.


    Abby!
     
  8. cape chef

    cape chef

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    My dear Abby,

    I am certianly not Chef Henri, nor do I want to step on anyones toes. But if I may send you a recipe for you (not party)

    This is one of my favorite ways to prepare my Isurus

    Cape Chef offers you, "Cape Shark" Sardinian style.
    My dear Abby, this recipe serves four guest.

    2 # cape shark steaks
    1 carrot
    6 anchovey fillets
    1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano
    4 T Olive oil
    6 peeled plum tomatoes, mashed with their juices
    1 cup dry white wine
    3 T fresh lemon juice
    1 medium onion
    1 rib of celery
    1/2 t fresh thyme
    2 bay leaves
    8 oz sliced mushrooms (I use porcini)
    1/2 fond de veau
    1 egg yolk
    2 T chopped italian parsley

    Mince the onion, carrot and celery, the anchovies, oregano and thyme.In a large pan to snugly accommodate the fish, saute your mince in olive oil, adding the bay leaves. When golden, add the shrooms, when they begin to wilt add the tomatoes and thier juice. Bring to a boil, mashing the tomatoes with a fork. Simmer five minutes, then add the shark steaks and simmer for about 8 minutes. Add the fond de veau and the wine, bring to a boil, then bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. pull out the bay leaves and toss in your gardeners compost. With a slotted spoon remove the shark to a warm serving plate. beat the egg yolk with the lemon juice and stir into the low simmering sauce. cook stirring for a minute or two, or until the sauce reaches a light cream consistency. pour the sauce over the fish and garnish with the chopped parsley and serve.

    Dear Abby,

    I hope you enjoy this recipe, Henri, I am sure will like it if he truly has taste.
    Bon Santi
    cc:chef:
     
  9. dear abby

    dear abby

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    Merci Cape Chef!

    How kind of you! This lovely recipe seems somewhat reminicient of Henri's own Shark Marseillaise, but with a rather more complex flare! Dear Abby is sure that Henri will enjoy preparing this recipe.

    He requests Abby to inform you, dear Chef, that he has taste. Abby would like to suggest that Cape Chef is most lucky to be out of spoon range.

    Abby
     
  10. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Dear Abby,

    Please tell Chef Henri I was teasing him.
    It is very clear to me that he has excellent taste.

    BTW, Does Henri use a touch of saffron threads in his French version?
    Peace
    cc
     
  11. dear abby

    dear abby

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    My dear Cape Chef, Abby appreciates your humor!

    Chef Henri does not use saffron in his version. This is primarily because Abby detests saffron! Henri does not give in on issues like this very often. Most usually, Abby simply eats what Henri prepares.

    Abby