History >> Ancient Greece
The Ancient Greeks ate fairly simple foods. Unlike some other ancient cultures, they did not consider extravagant and rich meals a good thing. The three main staple foods of the Greek diet were wheat, oil, and wine.
What meals did they eat?
The Greeks typically ate three meals a day. Breakfast was a light and simple meal that usually consisted of bread or porridge. Lunch was also a light meal where they would again have some bread, but would also have some cheese or figs.
The big meal of the day was dinner, which was eaten around sundown. Dinner would sometimes be a long social event with a variety of foods including vegetables, bread, eggs, fish, and cheese.
The Greeks ate fairly simple foods. They ate a lot of bread that they would dip in wine or olive oil. They also ate a lot of vegetables such as cucumbers, beans, cabbage, onions, and garlic. Figs, grapes, and apples were common fruits. They used honey to sweeten their foods and make desserts such as honey cakes.
The main meat was fish, but the wealthy would sometimes eat other meat including beef, chicken, lamb, and pork.
Did the family eat together?
The family typically did not eat together as a group. Men and women ate their meals separately, either in different rooms or at different times. Men would often have their male friends over for dinner. They would eat, drink, talk, and play games for hours. This type of dinner party was called a "symposium." The women were not allowed to join.
What did they drink?
The Greeks drank water and wine. Wine would be watered down so it wouldn't be too strong. They sometimes drank a thick gruel called kykeon which included water, barley, and herbs.
The Greeks drank wine from a large shallow cup called a "kylix." Sometimes the kylix had a picture at the bottom that would be revealed as more wine was drunk from the cup.
An Ancient Greek Kylix Cup
Did they eat any strange foods?
Photo by Ducksters
The Greeks ate some foods that might seem strange to us today including eels, small birds, and locusts. Perhaps the strangest thing they ate was a popular food of the Spartans called "black soup." Black soup was made from pig's blood, salt, and vinegar.
Did they use forks and spoons?
The Greeks mostly used their hands to eat. They sometimes used spoons, but would also use bread to soak up broth or soups. They had knives to cut up meat.
Interesting Facts About Food and Cooking in Ancient Greece
- The Greeks didn't drink milk and considered it barbaric. They used milk to make cheese.
- Athletes often ate a special diet that consisted mostly of meat. You had to rich to be an athlete on this type of diet.
- Sometimes wealthy Greeks would use bread as napkins to wipe their hands.
- At dinner banquets, the guests would lay on their sides on couches while eating.
- Poor people in the cities mostly got their meat from animal sacrifices to the gods held during festivals.
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History >> Ancient Greece