Friday, 30 December 2016

Spicy or not so spicy Greeks

Greek cooking has used the same herbs and spices for centuries yet the ANCIENT Greeks also lacked or only had as expensive imports spices we take for granted.

We know for sure these spices were used being used as they are mentioned in Linear B texts or have origin myths.

Coriander Sesame Cumin Mint

Scholars think these herbs were used since they are mentioned by Theophrastus or Hellenistic and Imperial era writers like Athenaeus

Some of them may have been used more for essential oils and making perfume or medicines.

Cassia Cinnamon Chervil Dill Fennel Oregano Rocket Lovage Bay Cardamon Thyme Rosemary

Only about half or less of the herbs and spices available this century!

And fruit ... most of the fruits were not citrus or stone and unless a shepherd brought them down to a lowlands market the supply of nuts and berries was limited too!

No pepper or ginger  before the Roman era. No or very few  Indian or Chinese spices.
No nutmeg No AllSpice  No curry masalas

Some things we do better than the Classical world!

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Did the greeks have fruit cake ?

Did the Greeks have Fruit Cake?

Yeah like no Xmas in Ancient Athens but they did have mid winter Dionysia  but fruit cake?

Well there was no glace cherries or dried apricots but they did have dried grapes and maybe apples or pears definitely quinces and there are many reference to honey and cheesecakes and "sweet" cheeses.

Jams and preserves were rare. No glass jars! No processed sugar!

Also no orange peel and far fewer few spices even if you could afford them.

So yes but not looking like modern fruit cake.

There may have been "cakes" of dried fruit and nuts pressed together or cheese cakes with raisins mixed in or honey cakes with dried fruit.

Cakes would have been cooked in clay pans unless you were wealthy enuff to afford metal pans.

I have not come across references to almond "meal" being used in cooking but the Greeks certainly had almonds and grinding stones so I can imagine a cake using ingredients  something like this :

Eggs from Ducks quails chicken or geese

A soft cheese with a texture halfway between curds and modern ricotta

Honey no processed sugar

Some almond meal or flour or both mixed.

Raisins or sultanas and figs maybe also  dried apple or pears possibly softened in a mixture of honey water and maybe wine?

Poorer households with no oven probably would have taken their filled pans down to a local baker to be cooked.

Yes NO ovens! For safety reasons most households lower and middle class had their cooking areas outside in the courtyard or an niche just off it. Only the wealthy would have had a room just for cooking and food preparation alone.

However they could cook omelettes pancakes and flat breads at home and did so many homes may have had winter treats of honey on pancakes.

Some things we do better than the Greeks!

Enjoy your Xmas treats!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Christmas Greetings

#xmas #ecard #joy #khara 

An Ecard with "Hellenic" flavour for #Christmas

Wishing you all 

Khara reflects the ancient pronunciation 
which would have sounded more like a strong aspirated K to modern English speakers.

Wishing you A Merry Christmas and Happy New year

Yes its not Greek Grunewalds Nativity Enjoy

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Map of Bethlehem



My theme this week will be the Bethlehem reports 
a re-imagining of what correspondence between a local  bureacrat and the Roman Governor 
about the Nativity events might have been like ?

Plus some religious art and comments on the differences in style between Matthew and Luke .

Xmas Ecard to Share ...

This card is free to share but please include a link back to my blog?

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Two examples of Tritons

The Greeks seem to have preferred depicting mermen or mermaids.

#Tritons are usually shown as male though in Roman art you get pairs of both sexes or male Tritons cavorting with female Nereids or Oceanids.

Hercules wrestling with a seagod or Triton.

Another example.

The bodies are a blend of male snake eel and fish.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

A Living God

Thoughts on Matthew Chapter22 23-33
#greeknewtestament #biblestudy
The Sadducees apporached Jesus with a hypothetical situation based on a tradition of widows having the right and obligation to remarry close kin of their husbands.
OT examples of this are the stories of Tamar and Ruth.

Jesus rebukes them in verse 29

You wander (= err in modern English usage) not knowing the (holy) writings or the poer of god.
Verse 30 for in the resurrection they not marry or or married
why both verbs in greek the active and middle forms for th verb to marry gameoo was linked to the gender of the agent so Jesus is indicating he is addressing both sexes.

A widow had the right to ask for another husband from her former spouse's family but she could also be pestered or harassed into a remarriage not of her choice.

but like angels in heaven they are

and about the resurrection of the dead have you not read the words to you by god spoken

I am the God of Abraham and the god of Isaac and the god of Jacob

Not is god for the dead but living?!

A Living God then and now is also the god of Sarah Hagar Ishmael Rebekah Leah and more.

Hypotheticals can be great training exercises but teachers and theologians need to have practical answers for the living.