While we sit out this austere festive season and wait for all our favourite Athenian tavernas and restaurants to re-open, let us at least live vicariously through the lusty appetites and dining habits of our ancestors. The ancient Greeks ate four meals a day. Men and women dined separately (and if there was not enough room at the table, the men ate first). The father of gastronomy, a Greek poet called Archestratus of Syracuse, penned the first recorded cookery book entitled Hedypatheia (Pleasant Living) in the 4th century BC. From this, we can trace the origins of the Greek symposia and the love of drawn out meals, fueled by wine and lively discussion.
“People should dine together at a rich table,” urged Archestratus, “set aside restraint and indulge fully in pleasure.”
Sit down to a virtual banquet of tasty historic tidbits like this and more as the Museum of Cycladic Art dishes up another one of its fascinating on-line exhibitions to keep our minds nourished during lockdown. The engrossing digital display spans from the symposium of classical Antiquity to today’s vibrant Athenian gastronomy. Make a full meal of it, or digest it over several sittings.