Ancient greek recipes! A definitely exciting experiment it seems, but how feasible is it to reproduce ways of food preparation which were in use thousands of years ago? Furthermore, what philosophy stands behind cooking and eating in ancient Greece?
To begin with it is essential to realize that all the below given information refers to the rich people. Poor were not often able to enjoy fancy meals with well – prepared and sophisticated dishes. However, the typical symposium of the wealthy is worth to mention, because it reflects a style of living. Food and drink are seen as a social activity, an opportunity to meet with others and discuss, listen to mu
Many are the archaeological and historical sources, which give us detailed information about the symposiums. Unfortunately, not equally detailed are the recipes offered. Most of them are lists with the necessary ingredients with not a word about how exactly to produce the dish or how the dish should taste. So it is not so easy for us to reproduce exactly ancient dishes. We do know, however, which were the basic flavors and ingredients of the ancient greek cuisine: honey, vinegar, garos (a sauce based on salted fish), and many herbs and spices. Greeks were interested in combining sweet and sour flavors in very interesting seasonings. Fish was eaten a lot as well as oysters, mussels, lobsters, poultry, pig, lamb, birds, ducks, cheese, olives, onions, lentils, peas and other materials. Coriander, cumin, oregano, dill, parsley, mint, pinecone and poppy seeds, fennel and aniseed are among the most famous herbs. Most of them are accessible even now. Others are difficult to find, such as silfio, ligistiko etc. Sweets were also very much loved. It is important to mention that Greeks were not the first to have used herbs and spices in cooking but they were definitely the first to develop food production into a form of art. The expansion of commerce in the eastern Mediterranean after the 7th B.C helped a lot as far as the accumulation of new products is concerned. Imports gave a whole dimension to the cooking experience. The importance of a well – prepared meal was billitled. People were at first well fed and after their body was fulfilled with exciting flavors, came wine drinking and serious conversations. Everything came in the right order!sic, play games, spend many pleasant hours. Symposiums usually would last from early in the afternoon until late at night. Their importance in the ancient societies is easier to understand, if one realizes that great philosophical disputes developed during symposiums. Symposiums were (among others of course) an opportunity for mental exercise. This depended also on the guests. Men were the only ones to participate. Several servants were serving the menu, very often musicians were hired, and generally the wealth of the host was reflected in the quality of the symposium. During the symposium men were laid down on anaklintra. At the beginning they were served a glass of wine mixed with honey (oinomelo) and also bread. After that the dishes of the menu appeared, in the right order: several appetizers and also fruit. Then came fresh fish and meat was the last to be served. What is impressive is the second phase of a symposium, the called epidorpion in Greek. The word now means dessert, but at that time it was for more than that. During the epidorpion phase several kinds of pies, sweets, dried fruits, nuts, cheese was offered along with wine, always mixed with water. The host was responsible that his guests get drunk very soon. Wine drinking now is the issue and wine selection reflects wealth. Wine drinking accompanies philosophical and other conversations, music or even acrobat performances!