Eduardo Javier García López



Byzantine cuisine
 
 Byzantine cuisine was marked by a merger of Greek and Roman gastronomy. The development of the Byzantine Empire and trade brought in spices, sugar and new vegetables to Greece. Cooks experimented with new combinations of food, creating two styles in the process. These were the Eastern (Asia Minor and the Eastern Aegean), consisting of Byzantine cuisine supplemented by trade items, and a leaner style primarily based on local Greek culture.
 
Diet Byzantine food consumption was based around class. The Imperial Palace was a metropolis of spices and exotic recipes; guests were entertained with fruits, honey-cakes and syrupy sweetmeats. Ordinary people ate more conservatively. The core diet consisted of bread, vegetables, pulses, and cereals prepared in varied ways. Salad was very popular. The Byzantines produced various cheeses. They also relished shellfish and fish, both fresh and salt-water. Every household also kept a supply of poultry. Byzantine elites obtained other kinds of meat by hunting, a favorite and distinguished occupation of men. They usually hunted with dogs and hawks, though sometimes employed trapping, netting, and bird-liming. Larger animals were a more expensive and rare food. Citizens slaughtered pigs at the beginning of winter and provided their families with sausages, salt pork, and lard for the year. Only upper middle and higher Byzantines could afford lamb. They seldom ate beef, as they used cattle to cultivate the fields. Middle and lower class citizens in cities such as Constantinople and Thessaloniki consumed the offerings of the taverna. The most common form of cooking was boiling, a tendency which sparked a derisive Byzantine maxim—the lazy cook prepares everything by boiling. Garos sauce in all its varieties was especially favored as a condiment.
© 2017 Eduardo Javier García López

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