Guest Author - Clare Stubbs
Some of the Greek food that exists today has remained unchanged for thousands of years and that isn't a bad thing. When one of the first cookbooks was written by Archestratus in 350 B.C, those early days indicated the importance of both food and drink in society.
At the time, meals were very simple and often consisted of food that was caught or grown, or a combination of both.
What did Ancient Greeks Eat and Drink?
There are some ingredients which are readily available now but simply would not have existed both then and for centuries after. Tomatoes and potatoes were just a couple of discoveries that didn't happen until much later.
What the Ancient Greeks ate did sometimes depend on social status and this often had an impact on the meals that would grace the dinner table. These are just a few examples of typical food and drink:
Meat - There were so many different tyes of meat available and these included lamb, deer and boar. Rich citizens were more likely to eat meat but even this may have been rare as the Ancient Greeks believed that any animal should only be eaten after it was hunted or sacrificed to a god.
Wine - This was one of the most popular drinks and Greek people would consume it in a watered down state. Very few people (if any) drank it neat because many believed this to be a barbaric practice.
Water - For those who didn't want wine or perhaps couldn't afford it, water was usually the alternative.
Vegetables - Vegetables like the eggplant didn't exist in Ancient Greek times but there were things cucumbers, cabbages and asparagus.
Fish - this proved to be an important part of the everyday diet. Tuna, sardines and prawns were just a few of the options available.
The Importance of Olives
Olives can be enjoyed as a tasty snack or simply used to make oil but there were (and continue to be) plenty of other uses for this fruit.
1) To wash with. Olive oil could be made into soap and you can purchase such an item today
2) Making natural perfumes
3) Perhaps the most important of all, being used for medicinal purposes. Greek physician Hippocrates applied the oil in order to treat specific ailments
An Influence on Modern Cuisine
Overall, there have been little changes to Greek food and the way it is eaten today.
Most dishes are still very simple to make but provide maximum flavor as well. Getting together for a meal is important and something that the Ancient Greeks knew and appreciated as well. Their legacy for good food and good times lives on.