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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in food

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Minoan Herb Garden and Spice Cabinet

Last time, we looked at what kinds of vegetables the Minoans grew in their gardens. But they needed to season those veggies so they were especially tasty to eat, right? So what kinds of herbs and other seasonings did they use?

The first and most obvious one is salt. Like other island-dwelling people, the Minoans used sea salt. It's easy to make - just collect up some sea water and evaporate the liquid, using heat from the Sun or from fire. The Minoans were surely doing this all the way back in the Neolithic, though most of the evidence for it comes from later on.

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If the witch-hunters are to be believed (!), when we're not eating babies at our Sabbats, we're busy relishing food that's half-rotten and stinks instead.

Just goes to show that even witch-hunters can get something right every now and then.

Even the part about the babies.

 

Boss Warlock's Really Stinky Half-Moon Baby Turnip Kimchi

 

1 lb. baby turnips

4½ teaspoons salt

2-3 teaspoons crushed red pepper

10-12 minced scallions

10-12 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

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The Minoan Flock: The shrine or the dinner table?

CW: Meat eating and animal slaughter/sacrifice

Animals show up a lot in Minoan art and in religious iconography from ancient Crete. In MMP we tend to pay special attention to the ones associated with deities - the Horned Ones, for instance, the gods and goddesses connected with cattle, goats, and deer.

It's clear from the archaeological record that, in addition to revering these animals as earthly reflections of certain deities, the Minoans also slaughtered them and ate their meat on a regular basis. Animals that were ritually sacrificed were also eaten, probably by temple clergy.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 cabbagehead of white cabbage isolated on white photo by vvoennyy on Envato  Elements

Maybe I'm reverting to ancestral type.

Lately it seems as if I must be on the Cabbage Diet. Cabbage soup, cabbage strudel. Cabbage pancakes, cabbage rolls. Sauerkraut and peas in brown onion gravy. Last week I made a batch of cabbage with noodles and poppy seeds, which I hadn't tasted since I was a kid. Delicious.

Here in the frozen North, we eat lots of cabbage. Cabbage dependably grows when other vegetables have mostly given up the ghost. There's nothing showy about it, nothing pretentious. It's just good, dependable, affordable, staff-of-life food. All hail the humble cabbage!

Rightly prepared—but of course this is true of any vegetable—cabbage is delicious. (Badly prepared, it's not worth eating, but the same can likewise be said for any vegetable.) And when it comes to versatility, few can compare with it: my litany cited above only begins to scratch the surface.

And, of course, it's Yule, today being the third day thereof. Where I come from, Midwinter's Eve means cabbage rolls and poppy seed cake. Anyone that comes from Pittsburgh, regardless of ethnic derivation, knows that if you don't eat cabbage rolls at Yule, the Sun will literally not rise in the morning.

Of how many vegetables can you say that?

(And yes, that actually is a blown-glass cabbage ornament, hanging on the tree. Hey, I'm from Pittsburgh. There's a purple cabbage on there too, if you look.)

Jane Smiley's 1988 The Greenlanders is a remarkable novel. It reads like a family saga, telling the grim tale of the last generations of Greenland Norse, as the climate gets worse and the ships from Europe stop coming. Their ingrained Christianity makes it impossible for them to learn anything from the heathen skraelings who actually know how to survive in the worsening climate (but how can one remain Christian when you can't grow wheat and grapes for the eucharist?), and eventually it becomes clear to everyone that—just as the old myths said—the end is in sight, and there's no escape.

As things begin to fall apart, one old priest who, as a young man, was sent from Ghent to minister to the Greenlanders, and has lived for years, like everyone else, on milk, cheese, seaweed, and seal and reindeer meat—says to a colleague, the only other person on the island who has ever been anywhere but Greenland:

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 Still life with vegetables | Татьяна Скороход | Flickr

 

The science is undeniable: people that regularly eat large quantities of vegetables live longer and healthier lives. Like pretty much everyone else in the US, witches need to eat more vegetables.

Well, you can't hang over their shoulders at every meal. Feasts are another matter, though.

All you need to know are three magic words.

For years at family holidays like Thanksgiving, I would dutifully set out a tray of crudités with some recondite dip of my own devising (North Indian dry dip, classic tahina cream...). I would eat a few pieces of broccoli. A few hours later, I'd pack up the untouched veggies and put them back in the refrigerator.

Finally one year my sister said: “I'll show you how to get people to eat vegetables.”

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    The single most important thing that anyone can do to reduce her carbon footprint is to become vegetarian. Just because it's a tru
  • John Zelasko
    John Zelasko says #
    My 3 magic words are, "go vegan now". It's a moral imperative to me. After all, how could I claim to honour the earth, the animal

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Minoan Grocery List, Sort Of

I've written a couple of times about Minoan food and cooking. It's a perennially popular subject, since food is one of the human universals: everyone has to eat. And learning about a culture's foodways is one of the easiest ways to connect with them.

Over the years, I've gathered up bits and pieces of information from research about Bronze Age Mediterranean food. I shared some lists of typical Minoan foodstuffs in Labrys & Horns. But I've collected up far more than I have published. So today, I thought I'd offer what you might think of as a comprehensive Minoan shopping list of the foods that the best-stocked kitchen in Bronze Age Crete might have included.

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Dinosaur Kale Information and Facts 

 

“Oh, I just love kale!”

So insists my friend. Frankly, I don't believe him.

Let's be honest here: kale is not a lovable vegetable. Bearable, yes. Lovable? Well, let's be generous and credit my friend with magical (i. e. wistful) thinking. Call it the “little lie.” You really, really want it to be so, you keep saying that it is, and eventually you may even start believing it yourself.

Well, half-believing.

As a vegetable, kale has a lot going for it. It's cold-hardy: there's kale to be had when nothing else will grow. It doesn't get much more nutritious than kale.

On the other hand, there's the flavor and the texture.

If any vegetable besides onions and garlic has a claim to be the ancestral pagan vegetable, it's probably Brassica oleracea. We've been cultivating it for the last 4000 years; every bite of kale that you eat is a taste of the Bronze Age.

Here's something that I can tell you for certain: the ancestors had more sense than to make kale chips.

Unlike contemporary food-faddists, the fore-mothers understood that kale plays best in a supporting role, not as a star. So, on the principle that any vegetable can be palatable if you know how to cook it, I set about looking at the peasant cuisines of Europe. If anyone knew how to make the most of kale's nasty rubbery texture and unappealing sulfurous flavor, I figured, it would those who had to eat it because that's what there was.

My favorites so far in the search for edible kale are incavolata, an Italian bean-kale soup thickened with corn meal, and trinxát (treen-SHUT), a scrumptious savory cake of potato, kale, and onion from the Catalan Pyrenees, Iberian kin to the Irish Samhain staple, colcannon.

The major secret to enjoyable kale seems to be to blanch it first to take off the sulfur, and then to wring it dry and mince it fine, thus getting rid of the rubber.

Oh, and another thing: if you want to enjoy your kale, don't bother with that curly shite that they overcharge shamefully for at the stores: that's a decorative, not fit to be eaten. Go instead for the black or Italian variety, known mostly here in the US by the delightful name of “dinosaur kale.”

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Kroger used to have a super foods salad made of chopped kale, blueberries and cashews. I think they had something else in there a

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