Greek civilization began thousands of years ago, and though the cuisine has evolved in many ways, there are still ancient methods of cooking Greek food that are used today. As time has passed, many of the foods usedin Greek cooking have changed as more options have become available, and it has become much easier to access them.
A lot of the foods used today simply weren’t available in ancient times. What does remain the same though, is that Greeks prefer using local ingredients. Greeks have always chosen simple methods of cooking, which is why they continue to use so many of those methods to this day. Modern cooking has offered a more convenient way to use the old methods, but the result remains mostly the same and are, most importantly, just as delicious.
Here’s a look at Ancient Greek cooking methods that are still being used today:
Ancient Greek Cooking Tools
The Ancient Greeks used clay pots and other pots that were glazed and fired. These types of pots can still be found throughout Greece. Clay ovens, similar to the pizza ovens we know today, were used in ancient times and are still found around the country. The clay pots would be used in the ovens where the food would slow cook for hours. Today, if you are to visit Greece, you will find the traditional ovens still in use both in restaurants and in villages.
Spits are another traditional tool used for cooking in Greece. The process involves piercing the food, usually lamb or goat, with a large pole and rotating it over a fire. Today, steel spits turn via a motor instead of someone needing to turn them, but there are times when it is still done by hand. If there is no motor or it is not working and during special holidays, the traditional method of turning it by hand will still be used.
Ancient Greek Cooking Methods
Fire was a widely used method of cooking in Ancient Greece. Meat would be roasted on spits over an open fire. Coals were often used to keep the fire going. Today, many Greek foods are still grilled. Souvlaki, for example, comes from the Ancient Greeks. Today, souvlaki is made with meat that is placed on a small wooden skewer and grilled. In Ancient Greece, men would typically be the ones to grill and roast the meats.
Boiling and baking, which are also commonly used in Greek cooking today, were popular methods for cooking in the past. During ancient times, women were the ones largely responsible for boiling and baking. Ancient Greeks would bake pastries, loaves of bread, and sponges that were sweetened with honey. Baked desserts of Ancient Greece include: koulourakia (Greek Easter cookies), baklava, and melopita (Greek honey pie).
These delicious desserts are still enjoyed today, both in Greece and around the world. Clay pots, as mentioned above, can still be found in use today. They are often filled with vegetables and meat, such as lamb, and slow roasted. During the Greek War of Independence, women would roast meat in clay pots to bring to the soldiers in the mountains. You’re most likely to find clay pot cooking in places where traditional clay ovens are still in use.
Ancient Greek cooking methods are far from a thing of the past. Throughout Greece, you will find modern kitchens and appliances, but thanks to tradition and the simple methods of cooking, many of the ways that Greeks cooked in ancient times are still used to this day.