Lunch Research for The College of Three Ravens


Pita-style bread or small loaves served with honey and oil/butter (Byz)

Olives (Roman)

Apples, melons, dates, figs, grapes, pomegranates (Roman)

Cucumbers (Roman)

Hard-boiled eggs (Roman)

Pastfeli {honey/sesame seed candy} (Byz/Greek)


Yuvarelakia {meat dumplings in broth} (Byz/Greek)

Avgolemono {chicken, lemon, egg soup) (Byz/Greek)

Celery/leek/honey soup (Roman)

Cabbage/cumin/coriander/leek soup (Roman)

Carrot/cumin soup (Roman)

Barley/pork/dill/coriander soup (Roman)

Barley/chickpeas/lentils/onions soup (Roman)

Lentils/mint/honey soup (Roman)




Greek – Siren Feasts, Andrew Dalby, 1999

Byzantine – Early Period Magazine #5, (date?) Rebecca and David Wendelken, based on:

Chantiles, Vilma Liacouras. The Food of Greece. Avenel, 1979.

Diehl, Charles. Byzantium: Greatness and Decline. Rutgers University Press, 1957

Haussig, H.W. A History of Byzantine Civilization. Praeger, 1971.

Rice, Tamara Talbot. Everyday Life in Byzantium. Dorset, 1967.

Roman – The Roman Cookery Book, Apicius, 6th Century (1958 translation, B. Flowers and E. Rosenbaum)




Bread (pita or whole wheat loaves)

According to an entry in the Florilegium, Dalby apparently mentions pita-style bread in his book on ancient Greek and Byzantine cuisine, Siren Feasts, but I don’t have his book for the exact quote.

"Picentine bread. According to Pliny (XVII, II, 27 (106)) this bread – invented by the people of picenum – was made of spelt-grits. The spelt-grits were left to soak for nine days, and on the tenth day were made into dough by mixing them with raisin juice. The dough was put into earthenware pots and baked hard in the oven. The pots were supposed to break in the process. This bread was only eaten in a moistened state, usually dipped in milk and honey. We used for Picentine bread the coarsest wholemeal bread available." (Apicius, pg. 99, footnote 2.)

"Alexandrian bread was presumably a bread invented by the people of Alexandria, possibly made of grain from there. It contained, according to Pliny (Natural History, XX, 15, 58 (163)), cumin." (Apicius, pg. 99, footnote 4.)


"To preserve green olives so as to make oil at any time you wish. Put the olives gathered from the tree in oil, and they will remain for any length of time as if just gathered from the tree. From these you can make fine-quality oil if you wish." (Apicius, I, XIV.)


"How to preserve fresh figs, and apples, plums, pears, and cherries. Gather them carefully with their stalks and put them in honey, so that they do not touch each other." (Apicius, I, XII, 4)

"How to keep apples and pomegranates fresh. Plunge them in boiling water, take out instantly, and hang up." (Apicius, I, XII, 2)

"How to keep grapes fresh. Take undamaged grapes from the vine, and reduce rain-water to one-third and put it in a receptacle in which you also put the grapes. Treat the receptacle with pitch and seal with gypsum, and store it in a cool place where the sun does not enter, and you will find fresh grapes when required. The water can be given to the sick as honey-water. You will also keep grapes undamaged if you store them in barley." (Apicius, I, XII, 1)


"Cucumbers, another method. Dressing for salad: pepper, pennyroyal, honey or passum, liquamen, and vinegar. Sometimes asafetida is added. (Apicius, III, VI, 3)

HB eggs

"Boiled eggs. Serve with liquamen, oil, and wine, or with liquamen, pepper, and asafetida." (Apicius VII, XIX, 2)


"Combine 1 pound ground beef or lamb (may be pounded if you like), 1 grated onion, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 6 tbls. natural barley (crush it coarsely in the blender of food processor), 3 tbls. chopped parsley, 2 tbls. mint or basil (fresh), 1 tbls. dried oregano or thyme, salt and 1 egg slightly beaten. Mix well and knead for a few minutes. Shape into walnut-sized barrel or egg shapes and set aside. Bring 5 cups of stock to a boil with a chopped onion, a chopped stalk of celery and a chopped carrot. Add salt to taste. Add the "barrels" and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Add the juice of 1 lemon and serve." (Wendelken)


Beat 2 large egg yolks for two minutes. Continue to beat and gradually add the juice of 1 to 2 lemons, strained. Slowly add 1 qt. of hot chicken broth. (My adaptation from Wendelken)

Celery/leek/honey soup

"Another laxative. Wash green celery complete with roots, and dry in the sun. Boil in water. Next boil the heads and white parts of leeks together in a new saucepan, reducing the water to one-third. After this mix pounded pepper and liquamen and blend with a little liquid honey, and strain off the water in which the celery has cooked into the mortar and pour over the leeks. Bring to the boil and serve as once, adding the celery if liked."(Apicius III, II 5)

Cabbage/cumin/coriander/leek stew

"Another method. Boil and halve the cabbages, mince the tender parts of the leaves with coriander, onion, cumin, pepper, passum or caroenum, and a little oil. Another method. Arrange the boiled cabbages in a shallow pan and dress them with liquamen, oil, wine, cumin. Sprinkle with pepper, chopped leeks, caraway seed, and fresh coriander." (Apicius III, IX, 2,3)

Carrot/cumin stew

"Another method. Boil the carrots, and chop. Then cook in cumin-sauce with a little oil, and serve. Make the cumin-sauce as for cabbage." (Apicius III, XXI, 3)

Barley/pork/dill/coriander soup

"Barley soup. Wash and crush barley which has been soaking since the previous day. Put on the fire. When it boils add sufficient oil, a small bouquet of dill, dry onion, savory, and leg of pork. Let all this cook with the barley for flavor. Add fresh coriander and salt pounded together, and bring to the boil. When it has boiled well remove the bouquet and transfer the barley to another saucepan, taking care that it does not stick to the pan and burn. Cream well, and strain into a pan over the leg of pork so that it is well covered. Pound pepper, lovage, a little dried pennyroyal, cumin, and dried seseli. Moisten with honey, vinegar, defrutum, and liquamen, and pour into the pan over the leg pork. Cook over a slow fire." (Apicius IV, IV, 1)

Barley/chickpeas/lentils/onions soup

"Barley soup with dried vegetables. Soak chick-peas, lentils, and peas. Crush barley, and boil with the dried vegetables. When it has boiled long enough add sufficient oil, and chop the following greens: leeks, coriander, dill, fennel, beet, mallow, and tender cabbage. Put all these finely chopped greens into the saucepan. Boil cabbage, pound a generous quantity of fennel-seed, origan, asafetida, lovage, and after pounding blend with liquamen. Pour over the dried vegetables and stir. Put the chopped cabbage leaves on top." (Apicius IV, IV, 2)

Lentils/mint/honey soup

"Lentils, another method. Boil; when you have skimmed off the froth put in leeks and green coriander. Pound coriander-seed, pennyroyal, asafetida root, mint, and rue, moisten with vinegar, add honey, blend with liquamen, vinegar, and de rutum. Add oil, stir. If something is wanting, add it. Thicken with cornflour, pour on best oil, sprinkle with pepper, and serve." (Apicius V, II, 3)


"Use equal weights of honey and sesame seeds. In a heavy skillet bring the honey to a very firm ball stage (250 to 256 ° F). Stir in the sesame seeds and continue cooking until the mixture comes to a bubbling boil. Spread the mixture 1/2" thick on a marble slab or tray moistened with orange flower water. Cool and cut into small diamonds or squares." (Wendelken)


Chris Adler© 2001