| 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 had been placed inside the large vats. These
jarshandleless dinoi and small amphoraseach
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.
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 leftovers
been intended for the king's sustenance in the afterlife.
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.
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.
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.
touches to this stew were provided by herbs and spices.
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.
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.
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.
at the funerary feast of King Midas was most likely a spicy lentil
and barbecued sheep or goat stew...