Pan, god of the mountains, protector of hunters and fishermen, son of Hermes and the nymph Dryopi had α goat’s horn on his head as well as goat’s hoofs instead of feet. When he was born, his mother horrified from the look of the hairy child smiling at her, deserted him. His father, Hermes wrapped him in a hare’s skin and took him to mount Olympus. All gods were enchanted by his charm and playful demeanor, so Dionysus named him Pan (“All” in Greek) since all gods adored him. Pan was cheerful, amorous, always in love with a nymph and played his flute in such a melodic way that sounded like the song of a nightingale. His favorite place was the caves of Arcadia where he lived dancing and scaring away the goat herds, with his shrieks. The word “panic” is derived from Pan and the sudden flight from the dreadful situations he brought about. Continue reading
Philosophy began in the small Greek cities of Ionia on the west coast of Asia Minor around 600bc. There some men first had the freedom and audacity to ask fundamental questions about the universe. Their answers, if sometimes inaccurate, were never absurd. However most of our knowledge of them comes only through Aristotle, writing 200 years later.
One of them, Thales from Miletus (c.625-547bc) is considered the first known philosopher and natural scientist. He predicted the solar eclipse of the 28th of May, 585bc which stopped a battle between the Lydians and Medes, both being superstitiously terrified. He also regarded the earth as spherical, a truly radical idea, reaching this conclusion not through divine revelation or Scripture but by observing and thinking. Extract taken from “the Ancient Greek World-People and places” by Nigel Rodgers Continue reading
In Ancient Greece, many culinary texts have been written but only a few have survived throughout the centuries. The most famous as well as the most valuable of all is “the Deipnosophistae” which means “Gastronomers discussing on various matters, during dinner” and consists of fifteen books written by Atheneaus of Naucratis, a Greek scholar that lived from 170 to 240 A.D. mostly in Alexandria. Unfortunately, from the first three only fragments and quotations exist. These books are a treatise on all aspects of ancient life. Athenaeus has compiled literary works from Ancient Greek writers and cooks and synthesized them in an anthology that is still modern, timely and easy to read today. They contain detailed notes on culinary preparation and ingestion of food from the times of Homer (around 800B.C.) and forward, as well as anecdotes, poems and citations from philosophers and play-writers.
Posted in Greek cooking, Main dish, Meat, Pies
Tagged Athenaeus, chevril, deipnosophistae, greek cheese, homemade phyllo dough, kefalograviera, meat pie, pork
Stifado is a famous Greek dish that can be enjoyed in most Greek tavernas and restaurants all over the world. It is actually a stew, cooked with lots of spices and onions which release their wonderful juices, always in a covered pan. Some may think that has an old Venetian origin-stufado, but in reality this method of cooking dates back in ancient Greece and its name is a derivative of the Greek word tifo («τύφω») which means “to burn slowly” as well as “to fill with fumes” (Dorbaraki etymology dictionary of the Ancient Greek language). Both translations are used in preparing stifado because the fire has to be the lowest possible and the meat is actually cooked from its fumes. Back then the dish was cooked without tomatoes since the tomato was introduced to Greece after the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus, the 16th century. Continue reading