What did the Greeks Eat?

Before heading to the article, read the title in the ‘What does the fox say’ tone.

Have you ever wondered what ancient civilizations had? Before the world globalized before the recipes and food items traveled across countries. One of those intriguing civilizations is Greek.

So what foods were available to the ancient Greeks? How and what did they eat? They ate like us. They had three meals a day. They woke and ate breakfast, they broke from work at midday for lunch, then they ended the day with dinner and perhaps a little dessert.

Breakfasts of the Ancient Greeks

Most ancient Greeks had the same thing for breakfast: bread dipped in wine. The bread was made from barley, the main source of all breads in ancient times. It was probably hard, so the wine would soften it up and make it easier to eat. Sure, they could have used water, but where’s the fun in that?

The Greeks also ate something called a teganites , which would have resembled a pancake. These were made with wheat flour, olive oil, honey and curdled milk. They were usually topped with honey or cheese.

Lunchtime for the Greeks

They had more of that bread and wine! What a surprise! But they were drinking a bit more of the wine. Lunch was considered a midday snack, so it was common for the Greeks to dine on relatively light things like figs, salted fish, cheeses, olives and more bread.

Time for Dinner

Dinner was and still is the most important meal of the day in Greece.

In ancient times, it was when everyone would gather with friends and perhaps discuss things like philosophy or maybe just daily events. Note that I said “friends,” not “family.” Men and women normally ate separately. If a family had slaves, they would serve the men dinner first, then the women, then themselves. If the family didn’t have slaves, the women of the house served the men first, then they ate themselves when the men were done.

Dinner was when most of the foods were consumed. The ancient Greeks would eat eggs from quail and hens, fish, legumes, olives, cheeses, breads, figs and any vegetables they could grow. They might include arugula, asparagus, cabbage, carrots and cucumbers. Meat was reserved for the wealthy.

About That Wine

Wine was the main drink of the ancient Greeks, other than water. Fetching the water was a daily task for the women of the house.

Wine was the main drink of the ancient Greeks, other than water. Fetching the water was a daily task for the women of the house.

The Greeks drank wine at all meals and during the day. We know they made red, white, rose and port wines, the main areas of production being Thasos, Lesbos and Chios. But the ancient Greeks didn’t drink their wine straight. It was considered barbaric to do so. All wine was cut with water. The Greeks drank for the pleasure of the beverage, not with the intention of getting drunk.

They also drank

kykeon ,a combination of barley gruel, water (or wine), herbs and goat cheese in an almost shake-like consistency.

Top It All Off With Dessert

Raw sugar was unknown to the ancient Greeks, so honey was the main sweetener. Cheeses, figs or olives drizzled with honey provided a typical ending to an evening meal.

The Spartans

A lot of people wonder what the Spartans ate. Frankly, their diet was terrible. The Spartans were trained warriors, but their food left a lot to be desired. They ate something called melas zomos  — black soup in English. It was made by boiling some pigs’ legs, blood, salt and vinegar.



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