The Greeks throughout history have inspired the western cultures, even after what we consider to be “Ancient Greece” fell. There influence can be found throughout modern thinking, philosophy, architecture, politics and even culture. This is all well-known to a broad spectrum of the world, but what if I told you that they might have inspired modern cooking too. There are several Greek recipes that have existed for centuries that are similar to recipes that we all know and love. Now some of these recipes may just be similar to modern recipes, but it is the similarities that are important.
Pancakes, we all know about pancakes and many of us probably love having pancakes in the morning, maybe with some eggs and bacon. Now what if I told you that Greeks have been enjoying pancakes as a breakfast food since as early as the 5th century…B.C.E! The ancient Greek poets Cratinus and Magnes referenced tēganitēs, tagēnitēs and tagēnias, which are all words deriving from the Greek word tagēnon which translates to “frying pan”. These early pancakes were made with wheat flour, olive oil, honey and curdled milk. These early pancakes may not sound as appetizing to us now, but it was a favorite breakfast dish to the ancient Greeks.
Another common type of food was soups. There were many recipes for ancient Greek soups and stews, one popular one is known as Avgolemono, which still exists today. The earliest examples of Avgolemono occur around the time of Alexander the Great (356 B.C.E – 323 B.C.E). This recipe consists of a meat broth, eggs and lemons. Other cultures started using this recipe but turned it into a lemon sauce for meats such as chicken.
The final type of food that I’m going to talk about is probably well known to have been developed by the Greeks and is actually not a food but a drink. This drink, which inspired a lot of Greek culture and is used in modern cooking and formal meetings, is wine. There are over 300 types of grapes in the Greek area and wine is made from grapes, which leads to many varieties of wine. To make this even crazier, remember that there are multiple processes, aging techniques and added ingredients which makes countless possibilities. Hesiod, a Greek poet around 750 B.C.E. described the method to create a basic but popular wine known as “Passum”. It’s hard to tell how old wine is but it is undeniable the role it played in the future.
“Pancakes.” Pancakes. World Public Library, n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2015. <http://www.worldlibrary.org/articles/Pancakes>
“Avgolemono.” IFood.tv. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2015. <http://ifood.tv/greek/avgolemono/about>.
“History of Greek Wine – Wine Tours.” Wine Tours History of Greek Wine Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2015. <http://winetours.co.uk/destinations/all-wine-notes/history-of-greek-wine/>.
Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek_cuisine>.