free ebooks

Foods and Culinary Utensils of the Ancients

Jigl Raphanus sativus Linn


and barley were grown in all the provinces in the valley of the Nile, as were also, though to a lesser extent, rice, millet, pulse, peas, beans, lentils, hommos (_Cicer arietinum_), gilban (_Lathyrus sativus_), carthamus, lupins, bamia, jigl (_Raphanus sativus_--Linn., Herodot., Pliny), simsin, indigo, cassia, senna, colocynth, cummin (the seeds of which were used for bread), durrha, coriander, cucurbitae, onions, cucumbers, leeks, etc.

The onions were mild and of an excellent flavor. Nicerates quotes Homer as authority for the statement that they were much relished when eaten with wine.

According to Diodorus, children and even some grown persons lived at that time solely on roots and esculent herbs, eating them both raw and cooked.

The bread or cake used in the homes of the wealthy was made from wheaten flour; those one degree lower in the social scale made use of barley meal, and the poorer classes ate bread of the durrha (Holcus sorghum) flour.


It is impossible within these pages to tabulate with absolute correctness any hard and fast menu as the diet of the ancient Greeks, as it varied greatly according to the products of the several parts of the diversified country over which they ruled, but one can by the process of elimination arrive

at fairly satisfactory generalities.

The principal food of the poorer classes was bread. It was not a very appetizing kind, however, as it usually consisted of a simple dough of barley meal moistened with water, or, occasionally, poor wine. It was eaten without cooking or any further preparation. This was the universal food of the Spartans.

The middle and wealthy classes partook, though, of baked wheaten bread, which was called by Homer "the strength of life."

All other kinds of food, with the exception of sweet cakes, cheese and a few vegetables and fruits, were at first considered (save by the inhabitants of the cities) as luxuries--somewhat as even now amongst old-fashioned people in Scotland, the term "kitchen" is applied to all edible articles other than dry bread.

Of sweet cakes there were many kinds. They were flavored with various seeds and sweetened with honey. Sugar, though, if known at all, was used only for its medicinal properties.

Cheese was eaten mixed with wine or honey and salt.

Dried figs and grapes were much liked, especially by the Athenians, and olives were even then pickled for a relish.

The vegetables that were formerly cultivated are not easily distinguished by the names applied to them by different writers, but it is certain that lettuce, cabbage, peas, beans, vetches, leeks, onions, parsley and thyme were grown, as well as truffles and mushrooms. Vegetables were eaten in the form of soup, served on hot dishes with sauce or dressed as salad.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us