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the kitchen of Midas...feast
| If a mixed
fermented beverage had been served at the king's funeral, was there also
an entrée, or at least hor d'oeuvres, to go with it?
The infrared results from one sample to the next were like carbon copies of one another, and quite different from those of the beverage residues. Additional testing led to the identification of specific fatty acids and lipids characteristic of sheep or goat fat. The presence of intact triglycerides (which are stored as a prime energy source in fat globules of animal tissue) attested to the extraordinary preservation conditions inside the tomb.
A variety of other ingredients were also detected in these residues. Phenanthrene and cresol implied that the meat was first barbecued before it was cut off the bone. Honey, wine, and olive oil, which may have been used to marinate the meat, were respectively represented by gluconic, tartaric, and oleic/elaidic acids. Besides large amounts of cholesterol, which would be expected in a meat dish, a high-protein pulsemost likely lentilswas present. Indeed, large stocks of lentils and cereals were found in storage jars in the kitchens of buildings across the street from what is almost certainly Midas's palace on the Gordion citadel.
The finishing touches to this stew were provided by herbs and spices. Whether or not the ancient Phrygians imported real pepper from the Indian subcontinent this early is unknown. Dr. Naomi F. Miller, a paleobotanist and member of the Gordion team, reports that pulses of some domesticated and wild legumes that grow around Gordion today have a very bitter taste. They may have been used as flavoring agents.Chemical findings reveal that the main entrée at the funerary feast of King Midas was most likely a spicy lentil and barbecued sheep or goat stew.