Posts Tagged ‘recipes’


Topic Cyprus shipwreck

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

4th century B.C. merchant vessel carried ceramic vases

The examination of a Mediterranean shipwreck from the 4th century B.C. could shed light on ancient sea routes and trade, researchers say.

The remains of a merchant vessel, full of amphoras that probably had been filled with wine, were discovered in 2006 on the seafloor south of the island of Cyprus. A team has been excavating the site, diving and dredging up important pieces, since then.

The wreck was first discovered in 2006 by fishermen. One of the ship’s anchors was also uncovered.

The particularly well-preserved remains, especially the amphoras, which were oval, narrow-necked vases, reveal many clues about the ship’s story, the research team says in a new paper.

“We know by having studied a lot of these ceramic containers — we have created catalogs with different shapes — we know where they come from and where they date,” said Stella Demesticha, a professor of maritime archaeology at the University of Cyprus, who is leading the shipwreck research team.

The amphoras found at this site, she said, are very typical of those made on the Greek island of Chios in the Aegean Sea.

“We know the red wine from Chios was praised,” Demesticha told LiveScience. “It was very good quality, very expensive.”

A large collection of olive pits was also discovered at the shipwreck site. The scientists don’t know whether the olives were packed as a source of food for sailors or were a commodity to be sold.

The archaeologists aren’t sure what caused the vessel to sink, but said the fact that it was found pretty far offshore suggests it was probably downed by a storm or a fire.

“There’s a lot to learn from this wreck,” Demesticha said. “We know that wine commerce was flourishing in antiquity. But because we haven’t excavated many shipwrecks, we don’t know many details about how exactly this was happening.”

For example, she said, researchers would like to know how cargo was stowed on ships, as well as how trade deals were brokered and how many transactions took place, particularly between people from the Aegean (between Greece and Turkey) and the rest of the Mediterranean, including Cyprus.

“By studying the cargo of the ship, we’re going to find more details about contacts between the two areas in that period,” Demesticha said.

The findings so far are detailed in a paper in the December 2010 issue of the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.

Original Article:


By Clara Moskowitz

Read Full Post »

Topic Wine in Mesopotamia


A "banquet" scene on an impression of a lapis cylinder seal from Queen Pu-abi's tomb

It has usually been argued that barley beer was the alcoholic beverage of choice in ancient Sumer, since the hot, dry climate of southern Iraq makes it difficult to grow grapevines, and the textual evidence for viniculture and winemaking in Mesopotamia is minimal before the 2nd millennium B.C. But based on chemical evidence for wine inside jars that could’ve been used to transport and serve it, wine was probably already being enjoyed by at least the upper classes in Late Uruk times (ca. 3500-3100 B.C.). Early Dynastic cylinder seals depict the royalty and their entourages drinking beer with tubes/straws from large jars and a second beverage—presumably wine—from hand-held cups.

The wine imported into lowland Greater Mesopotamia could have been brought from the northern Zagros Mountains of Iran or other parts of the Near East, at least 600 kilometers away. The 5th century B.C. Greek historian Herodotus describes shipping wine down the Euphrates or Tigris from Armenia at a much later period: round skin boats were loaded with date-palm casks of wine and delivered to Babylon. River transport was also an option in the Late Uruk Period. But if the demand for the beverage were great enough, transplantation of grapevines to closer locales in the central Zagros and possibly as far south as Susa would be anticipated. When the Late Uruk trade routes were suddenly cut off at the end of the period, the pressure to establish productive vineyards closer to the major urban centers would have intensified.

Future excavation will be decisive in tracing the prehistory of viniculture and winemaking in this region of the ancient Near East; already there is a strong indication that the domesticated grape plant had already been transplanted there as early as the mid-3rd millennium B.C. Elamite cylinder seals, foreshadowing similiar scenes on Assyrian reliefs some two millennia later, depict males and females seated under grape arbors, drinking what is most likely wine.

Original article:

Penn Museum

Did you know…?
Museum scientists have analyzed what participants ate and drank at the final funerary feast of King Midas at
Gordion (ca. 700 B.C.) and discovered that it was lamb stew and a mixed fermented beverage of wine, barley beer, and honey mead!

Read Full Post »

Topic: A friends passing

Today I want to share with you the passing of a friend of mine and a devoted eater of my bread, Rev Harold Moss, Church of the Eternal Source. Only my husband who only eats my bread and no other( except perhaps sandwich bread), has given me so much pleasure by the look on his face when he sees I’ve baked another loaf. I meet Harold in 2004 and soon discovered he had a love of food, and an appreciation of bread which he treated like a fine wine. I gave him a loaf of bread that first time, which I think he must have taken over a month to eat, only having a small piece at a time, savoring every morsel. Who could, I ask ,pass up making bread for such a devoted fan. After that first time, it became  a tradition to make bread everytime  we went to see Harold. When we found he had only a short time left I must have made 5 or 6 loaves for him to take home to Boise where he lived. That was in 2008 and I’m so glad we had him with us for a while longer-but though I will make bread for others, no one will ever replace Harold in my heart,and inspire me more to bake for them.

Harold grew up in the late depression and loved a hard to find bread, the recipe I will share with you in his honor:

Salt Rising Bread.

This recipe uses no yeast but is leavened by the bacterum Clostridium perfringens.

While there is salt in the recipe, the title refers to the practice of using rock salt to put the container with the starter mix in it to help maintain the temperature needed for fermentation to start.

Original recipe I used, Harold copied from allrecipes.com-see link below

Salt Rising Bread



  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour


  1. To Make Starter: Heat the milk, and stir in 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the cornmeal and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Place this in a jar in an electric skillet or crock pot with hot water in it. Maintain the temperature around 105 to 115 degrees F (40 to 47 degrees C) for 7-12 hours or until it shows fermentation. You can hear the gas escaping when it has fermented sufficiently. The bubble foam, which forms over the starter, can take as long as 24 hours. Do not go on with the bread-making until the starter responds. As the starter ferments, the unusual salt-rising smell appears.
  2. When the starter is bubbly, it is time to make the sponge. Place the starter mixture in a medium-size bowl. Stir in 2 cups of the warm water, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the shortening and 2 cups of the all-purpose flour. Beat the sponge thoroughly. Put bowl back in the water to maintain an even 105 to 115 degrees F (40 to 47 degrees C) temperature. Cover, and let rise until light and full of bubbles. This will take 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  3. Dissolve the baking soda in 1 tablespoon of the warm water and combine it with the sponge. Stir 5 1/4 cups of the flour into the sponge; knead in more flour as necessary. Knead the dough for 10 minutes or until smooth and manageable. Cut dough into 3 parts. Shape dough and place it in three greased 9x5x3 inch pans. Place covered pans in warm water or uncovered pans in a warm oven with a bowl of hot water, maintaining a temperature of 85 degrees F (30 degrees C). It will take approximately 5 hours for the bread to rise 2 1/2 times the original size. The bread will round to the top of the pans.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  5. Bake bread at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until light golden brown. YOU CAN DRY SALT RISING CULTURE!!! Save 1/4 cup of a successful sponge and pour it into a saucer, cover with cheesecloth and allow to dry. Store dried flakes in plastic in a cool, dry place or freeze until needed for salt rising bread. When ready to make the bread; dissolve the flakes in the new warm starter and continue with recipe. This will give a flavor boost to your bread.

Note: I used plastic wrap on top of a quart jar for the starter and what worked very well for me was to use a couple of heating pads to keep the starter warm enough to start fermentation. 

I also tried polenta , it worked very well. 


For Harold, I will miss you at my table and in my life.

An Ancient Egyptian invocation:

May Horus( the gods and goddess) of ancient Egypt be between you

and harm,

Thru all the empty places

that you may walk

Joanna Linsley-Poe




















“THIS IS NOT AN EASY BREAD TO MAKE! It is tricky, but worth the effort for one who loves that very different, pungent smell of salt-rising bread. The cornmeal used for the starter must contain the inner germ of the corn and a constant warm temperature must be maintained.”
I agree this is a tricky bread-but you should have seen the look of complete delight on Harold’s face when I gave it to him!


Salt Rising Bread

Salt Rising Bread

Read Full Post »

Topic: One Subject Two views-Last Supper


ITHACA, NY. Were the twelve apostles guilty of overeating at the Last Supper? Two brothers—an eating behavior expert and a religious studies scholar—are publishing findings that might make you think twice at your Easter dinner.

Brian and Craig Wansink teamed up to analyze the amount of food depicted in 52 of the best-known paintings of the Last Supper. After indexing the sizes of the foods by the sizes of the average disciple’s head, they found that portion size, plate size, and bread size increased dramatically over the last one thousand years. Overall, the main courses depicted in the paintings grew by 69%, plate size by 66%, and bread size by 23%.

The study’s findings will be published in the April 2010 issue of the International Journal of Obesity and released in the online version of the journal on Tuesday, March 23.

“I think people assume that increased serving sizes, or ‘portion distortion,’ is a recent phenomenon,” said Brian Wansink, professor and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. “But this research indicates that it’s a general trend for at least the last millennium.”

“As the most famously depicted dinner of all time, the Last Supper is ideally suited for review,” said Craig Wansink, professor of religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College.

“The method we used created a natural crossroads between our two divergent fields and a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with my brother,” he added.

Portion size and spatial relationships are familiar topics in Brian Wansink’s work in food and eating behavior. In his book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, he explores the hidden cues that determine what, when, and how much we eat.

Original article



Read Full Post »

Topic: You can get Red or Green-or Both

Yes, I know this is slightly off the topic of ancient foods but since I love the show In Plain Sight and suspect there are others who like it as well, I thought you might like a couple of pictures of by far the best restaurant( cafe really) in Albuquerque. These are of the Church Street Cafe in Old Town. Now I used to live in Old Town but being a starving student I never went there to eat-my loss at the time. Several years ago I happened to be in Albuquerque and having been told about the cafe went there to eat. It is by far the best you will ever get in town-and not all that expensive. I had breakfast and when asked( as is typical in New Mexico) if I wanted red or green chile with the meal I said both and was served both, it was the best meal I have ever eaten.

The cafe was first built as a home sometime in the early 1700’s by the Ruiz family, which makes it “ancient” in my book, as the menu I received as a gift informs anyone who eats there. This makes the structure one of the oldest in the state.

I can guarantee the food is typical New Mexican and steeped in the history of the region. In fact I used to teach cooking classes and this was one of the cuisines I taught.

A link will take you there for the full story. Check the page About the cafe for the full story-better yet if you are in Albuquerque-go eat there.



























Read Full Post »

Topic: Ancient Bread-Egypt

bread aeSeparating the wheat from the chaff was no easy task for the ancient Egyptians, who used a tough-hulled type of wheat called emmer to make bread and beer. Modern interpretations of ancient documents portray their bread as coarse and gritty. A new study, however, suggests that the ancient Egyptians were better bakers and brewers than these documents had let on. An analysis of some very stale bread loaves-up to 4,000 years old-and beer residues clinging to shards of pottery shows that ancient Egyptians actually used fairly sophisticated processing techniques. The conclusions, published in the July 26 Science, offer insight into the evolution of food preparation. They have even inspired a beer that made its debut earlier this month.

Delwen Samuel, an archaeobotanist at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge in England, examined the samples with both optical and scanning electron microscopes. The bread loaves came from several ancient Egyptian sites, dating from 2000 to 1200 B.C. The beer residues were found at two sites where workmen lived-Deir el-Medina (1550 to 1307 B.C.) and Amarna (1350 B.C.).

Samuel could distinguish the different baking methods from the shapes of the microscopic starch granules. “Unprocessed starch takes a spherical shape,” she says, “but the round balls change shape if they’ve been processed. Heating causes them to swell and bend. Enzymes make pits and channels in the granules.”

From these features, Samuel deciphered several recipes for the bread. In one, the emmer wheat was allowed to sprout before being dried and ground into flour. The flour was then mixed with a lot of water, kneaded slightly, and baked, producing a dense bread.

To verify the recipe, Samuel baked several loaves of the sweet, “rather tasty” bread. “When I looked at the microstructure, it matched [that of the ancient bread] very well,” she says.

She determined a basic recipe for ancient Egyptian beer too, although it was much more difficult because of beer brewing’s complexity. The variety of starch granules on the pottery shards showed that Egyptian brewers used a two-part process. After sprouting the emmer grain to make malt, they divided it into two batches, cooking one and leaving the other alone. Then they mixed the two together and strained out the liquid for fermentation. Not to let this knowledge go to waste, Scottish and Newcastle Breweries in England came out with Tutankhamun Ale on July 2, brewed with specially grown emmer wheat and using methods based on Samuel’s work. “They produced 1,000 bottles and sold them at Harrods,” Samuel says. “As far as I know, they’ve all sold out.”

Original article:

By Corinna Wu

Science News July 1996

Read Full Post »

Topic:  Medicinal Wine in Egypt 


Ancient wine Cellar

A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine to go down, but wine worked even better for the ancient Egyptians, who used to doctor their alcoholic beverages with medicinal herbs and other ingredients, according to a new study.

The oldest of the recently analyzed herbal wines dates to 3150 B.C. Since early medical papyri document the purported health benefits of some of the wine’s ingredients, the discovery provides the first direct chemical evidence for wine with organic medical additives.

“The ancient Egyptians settled on adding herbs and other ingredients that had marked medicinal effects, probably just based on observational trial and error,” Patrick McGovern, lead author of the paper, told Discovery News.

“Of course superstitions crept in too, such as when they would throw in a root because it resembled a certain body part, but we think there was some medical truth behind a lot of their wine additives,” continued McGovern, an archaeochemist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum.

He and colleagues Armen Mirzoian and Gretchen Hall chemically analyzed residues found inside a jar excavated from the tomb of one of Egypt’s first pharaohs, Scorpion I. They also conducted chemical tests on a later amphora, dating to the 4the to 6th centuries A.D., from Gebel Adda in southern Egypt.

According to a paper published in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, both containers tested positive for wine with medicinal additives.

The scientists determined Scorpion I’s drink consisted of grape wine to which a sliced fig had been added, probably to start and sustain the fermentation process, while also adding flavor and sweetness. Terebinth, a tree resin known now for having antioxidant properties, was also found within a yellowish flaky residue scraped from the jar, which was decorated with swirling red paint “tiger stripes.”

While McGovern and his team aren’t yet certain what herbs were in the drink, since many plants share similar chemical components, they suspect mint, coriander, savory, senna and sage were likely candidates.

The researchers are confident, however, that the second, more recent Egyptian wine contained pine resin and rosemary. A previous study determined that an early beer-like fermented emmer wheat barley beverage from Spain contained rosemary, along with mint and thyme. All of these ingredients and more were outlined in Egyptian medical papyri dating to 1850 B.C.

McGovern said the resin and herbal ingredients probably served three primary functions.

“They helped to preserve the wines, while also adding flavor and medical benefits,” he said, explaining that the last two frequently went together, since flavor was, and still is, often linked to health effects.

“Bitter flavors in nature can signal danger, but they can also sometimes have powerful medicinal properties,” he added.

The new findings could explain the presence of herb and tree resin-flavored foods and drinks from the ancient world found elsewhere. For example, a 2,400-year-old Greek shipwreck recently yielded both a retsina-type wine, flavored and preserved with tree resin, and a salad-dressing type oil infused with so much antioxidant-promoting oregano that the mixture remained largely preserved over the millennia.

“Maybe we can even go back to the amphorae, jars and cooking pots previously excavated and now sitting in museum storerooms around the world and ask new questions of each artifact,” said researcher Brendan Foley of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who worked on the Greek shipwreck project.

McGovern next hopes to determine which ingredients found in fermented beverages from the ancient world possess actual medical benefits. At present, his team is focusing on artesunate, a wormwood derivative, found in 3,000-year-old Chinese rice wine.

Original Article:

Jennifer Viegas,

Discovery News

 April 14,2009


Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts

%d bloggers like this: