Ancient Greece is known for its contributions to philosophy, art, and architecture. However, not much is said about the food they ate.
What did ancient Greeks eat for dinner? Let’s discover their cuisine through the centuries.
The Ancient Greeks and their Diet
The ancient Greeks were known for their healthy diet that consisted mainly of fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains. Meat was considered a luxury and was only consumed during special occasions or festivals. Their diet was also influenced by their geography and climate.
The Archaic Period (800-500 BCE)
During this period, the diet mainly consisted of barley bread, wine, olives, and cheese. Meat was scarce but when available it was usually from sheep or goats. Fish was also consumed especially in coastal regions.
The Classical Period (500-323 BCE)
This period saw a significant change in the Greek diet due to the influence of other cultures like Persia and Egypt. Honey became a popular sweetener while meat consumption increased with the introduction of cattle breeding. Vegetables like eggplants and leeks were also added to their diet.
The Hellenistic Period (323-31 BCE)
The conquests of Alexander the Great led to an expansion of Greek cuisine with new ingredients introduced from Asia and Africa. Spices like cumin and coriander were added while rice became a staple in their diet. The consumption of meat also increased with new methods of preparation like roasting.
What Did They Eat for Dinner?
The main meal of the day was usually eaten in the late afternoon or early evening called deipnon. It consisted of various dishes served as appetizers followed by a main course usually consisting of meat or fish with vegetables as sides.
Here are some popular dishes that ancient Greeks had for dinner:
- Moussaka: A dish made with eggplants, potatoes, minced meat, and béchamel sauce.
- Dolmades: Stuffed grape leaves with rice and herbs.
- Kleftiko: A dish made with lamb or goat cooked in a sealed pit with potatoes, onions, and tomatoes.
- Fasolada: A soup made with white beans, tomatoes, carrots, and celery.
The ancient Greeks had a healthy diet that consisted mainly of fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains. Meat was considered a luxury and was only consumed during special occasions.
Their cuisine evolved through the centuries due to various influences from other cultures. Today, we can still enjoy some of their popular dishes that have stood the test of time.