Saturday, September 7, 2013

What did the Ancient Greeks eat?

The Ancient Greeks used to have tables filled with bread, meat, vegetables, olives, pies, desserts and fruit, accompanied with wine. The known pulses of that time were beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas and puree beans. Olive oil played a dominant role, necessary not only for food but also during the athletic competitions of antiquity, such as the Olympic Games in Ancient Olympia. The Ancient Greeks used to make oil from unripe olives, which they preferred in their salads, but also from almonds and walnuts that where ideal for their pastries.
A necessary daily diet was milk and cheese, which were rare goods especially within the cities. However, dieticians used to recommend soft cheese for the athletes. Also, garlic and onions were part of the daily diet. However, snails were considered a delicacy, eaten especially in Southern Greece.

The poor of the Ancient Greek society usually consumed soups, especially fish soup, which the higher class never ate. During this period, meat was obviously expensive (especially in the cities), despite the fact that there were countless sacrifices taking place in honour of the Gods. Nevertheless, pork was a cheap meat, again not accessible by the lower class. On the other hand, in the countryside, meat consumption was more frequent, due to the fact that they were able to grow the animals in their gardens, especially poultry, piglets, goats and lambs.
The Athenians, rich and poor, were very fond of seafood and shellfish. A popular dish in Athens was salted fish from the Hellespont and the Black Sea, especially from Lake Kopaida. Nevertheless, commoners used to eat sardines from Faliro, along with barley bread. Therefore, the Athenians ate more fish than meat. On the other hand, the Spartan meal was not desired by any other Greek. The norm in Sparta was a mug of black broth and a piece of bread. During the holidays their meals were not that fancy, including boiled pork, a little wine and a sweet pie.

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