From the kitchen of Midas...feast recipes

funerary feast of king midas
.introduction
.banquet furnishings
.remains of a feast
served at the banquet?
.european cuisine
.acknowledgments+bibliography
.
links
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?
Jars filled with the remains of a spicy stew can be seen inside one of the large vats
Jars filled with the remains of a spicy stew can be seen inside one of the large vats or cauldrons. They were placed there after the fermented beverage, initially contained in the vats, had been served. The leftoversmay have been intended for the king's sustenance in the afterlife.
Eighteen pottery jars had been placed inside the large vats. These jars—handleless dinoi and small amphoras—each contained as much as 150 grams (about a third of a pound) of a spongiform and brownish material, quite unlike the shiny, dark residues found inside the bronze drinking vessels. The jars were also surrounded by large clumps of a similar-looking material.

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.

Although the meat in the ancient stew was probably barbecued, like the lamb chops in the upper left...
Although the meat in the ancient stew was probably barbecued, like the lamb chops in the upper left, it was then cut off the bone and cooked with pulses (lentils), herbs and spices, honey, wine, and olive oil. Flat bread (upper right) may have been served as an all-purpose utensil in lieu of forks and spoons.

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 pulse—most likely lentils—was 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.
...the main entreé at the funerary feast of King Midas was most likely a spicy lentil and barbecued sheep or goat stew...
Although some components of the stew were prepared separately and might have entered in at different stages of the ceremony, the uniform chemical composition of the contents of eight pottery vessels and four clumps that were analyzed strongly suggests that the ingredients were cooked together to make a stew; otherwise, one must imagine the leftovers being divided up and distributed equally to each vessel. The absence of bones, olive pits, or other seeds and grains also fits best with a well-prepared stew, now attested in the cult center of 13th century BC Mycenae, Greece, as well as other Bronze Age sites on Crete.


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