Last week, Jordan and Eris visited and were fascinated by all the toys in my kitchen. This, along with Brenda’s challenge of baking bread, discussed on today’s tour stop at her blog, made me think it would be fun to look at what you might find in an Ancient Greek kitchen (though not all households had kitchens as we know them).

Let’s start with Brenda’s challenge of how Cassandra made bread. Most Greek women oversaw slaves who did all the cooking and care for the home, even in lower class households. However, bread-making and weaving were two tasks even the noble women participated in. Cassandra was raised in a nomadic lifestyle, however, so her bread-making would look more like this (although she’d be doing all three):

Right: Cleaning and crushing the grain; Middle: making the dough; Left: cooking the flatbread over the fire.

Bread was often baked in portable clay ovens, but even these were too big for Cassandra to carry on her travels:

A fancy portable oven in the center, surrounded by pots and jugs of the time.

So she would be more likely to bake bread using the two-pot method or make flat bread in a metal pan over the coals.

The dough would be placed in the flat bottom and the rounded top secured over it. Both were surrounded by hot coals to bake the bread within.

Other food was cooked over an open fire, often using spits to roast meat, which was almost always wild, or fish.

Shows a naked slave cooking poultry on a spit, probably during a festival, about the only time the Greeks ate meat rather than fish.

Other tools and utensils you’d find in their kitchens include wooden and metal spoons, large knives, clay plates and all sorts of clay bowls and jugs like this one.

A water jug – so fancy! Not quite like the plastic ones of today…

As you can imagine, since there were no refrigerators or freezers, most food was cooked fresh. They did, however, use drying, vinegar and fermentation as preservation techniques for some foods.

I think the fact that they had real ovens surprised me the most. I hadn’t realized those clay ovens had been around so long! Does any of this surprise you? Learn anything new?