What happened when Odysseus came home

First Odysseus slays the suitors, then he will sit down and eat his pancakes

The Ancient Greeks are good for many things, not the least of which is their mythology. However, in a turn away from my main theme (not that I really remember what it is in the summer heat) I would like to show you a recipe from Homer’s time.

When Odysseus came home from his ten year travail, he was hungry, and by the time he slew the suitors, I’m sure he was starving. This dish, found in The Classical Cookbook by Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger, tells us that the following recipe was already 800 years old by the time Galen, “the most prominent medical researcher of his time,” wrote the following detailed description of someone flipping the pancakes.

Anyway, if you ever make this, think of Odysseus, because he most likely ate this food at his homecoming; the recipe is, indeed, that old.

Let us find time to speak of other cakes, the ones made with wheat flour. Teganitai, as we call them, are made simply with oil. The oil is put in a frying-pan resting on a smokeless fire, and when it has heated, the wheat flour, mixed with plenty of water, is poured on. Rapidly, as it fries in the oil, it sets and thickens like fresh cheese setting in the baskets. And at this point the cooks turn it, putting the visible side under, next to the pan, and bringing the sufficiently fried side, which was underneath at first, up on to the top, and when the underneath is set they turn it again another two or maybe three times till they think it is all equally cooked. Some mix it with honey, and others again with sea-salt.

Galen, On the Properties of Foods

Pancakes with Honey and Sesame Seeds

1 cup or 120 g. flour

1 cup or 225 ml. water

2 Tbsp. or 60 g. clear honey

oil for frying

1 Tbsp. or 15 g. toasted sesame seeds

Mix the flour, water and 1 Tbsp. honey together into a batter. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a frying pan and pour a quarter of the mixture into the fat. When it has set, turn it two or three times to give an even colour. Cook 3 more pancakes in the same way. Serve all four pancakes hot with the remainder of the honey poured over and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

See how easy that was? I would make it, but the weather is simply too hot to stand over a stove, frying something.








After this, Odysseus eats his pancakes, I promise you
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