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Monks: Fasting, Foraging and Praying in the Desert

Season 2, Ep. 11

A splendid photo from 1858, of the colossal Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens spurred me to write today's episode: A top of the ancient columns, protruding was a weird structure, almost placed on top as joke. What was it? This, it transpired, was the hut of a monk! A hermit, a stylite, an ascetic who lived his days praying on top of this magnificent ancient monument in the centre of 19th Century Athens.


A history of monasticism: one that traces the history of Christian religious life through food, eating and fasting. More importantly though,finding at the end that it is about the deliberate relegation of food and eating to a purely physical need, separated from any conscious emotion of pleasure or displeasure, on the part of individuals and collectives who followed a Christian religious life in the period from the earliest days through to the late Middle Ages. All the way from the Sinai Desert and the isolation of Dead Sea caves through to the forests of Northern England.


Easter is nearly here, and I thought that some Lenten recipes would be welcome if we would like to imitate the lifestyle of the first desert fathers and on this episode I have two recipes in the spirit of fasting that hope will inspire you.


Enjoy!


Thom & The Delicious Legacy

More Episodes

6/2/2022

Humoral Theory and Dietetics from Ancient Greece to Medieval Europe

Season 2, Ep. 14
The ancients, -Greeks and Romans alike- where equally worried about health and food and the balance between a healthy diet and a delicious one.More than in our days, diet played a role in preventing andcuring diseases, and in fact it was one of the main areas of study at medieval medical schools.Medical writers and doctors and philosophers of the ancient world, from Hippocrates, to Galen and Oreibasius to Haly Abbas in Islamic Persia al obsessed and thought about the connection of diet and healthy body.The notion of humours and the idea that disease was related to some imbalance of them was only one of many theories in antiquity, some of which completely ignored them. For Galen the definitive theory was that articulated in the Hippocratic Nature Of Man. The nature of Man was made up of blood phlegm yellow bile and black bile, and it was through these that the body felt pain and maintained health. If their balance was disturbed the body experienced disease.To find out more, listen to the episode!The music on this episode was written and performed by the incredible Pavlos Kapralos. Find out more here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzgAonk4-uVhXXjKSF-Nz1AAnd don't forget to get your Greek delicacies from Maltby and Greek! You get a 15% discount with the code "delicious" online here: https://www.maltbyandgreek.com/As ever, please let me know your thoughts, on twitter or anywhere else you'll find me!Enjoy,Thom & The Delicious Legacy
5/11/2022

Part Two of the Medieval Arab Cuisine

Season 2, Ep. 13
Welcome to Part Two of our Interview!So much more to explore, with kitchen innovations, stews, pickles, and the most incredible cookbooks preserved for our eyes from Medieval Arab World.The Islamic Golden Age...What does it come to one's mind when hears the above words?Do you think of the 'Arabian Nights' ? Or as it is properly called as 'One Thousand and One Nights'?Is your imagination also filled with other Middle Eastern Folk tales of Aladdin and Ali Baba and Sinbad the Sailor?Or, maybe, the flourishing of scientific, cultural, economic activities in the near middle east and the centre of the worlds knowledge in the largest city then in the world, Baghdad?Well so you should; these are superbly important aspects of the medieval Arab world, but for me equally important was the flourishing of an extremely delicious, complex culinary tradition, a cuisine with one foot in the Arab peninsula and the other in ancient Persia! Mouth watering rich stews and elaborate banquets, feasts for kings and caliphs that lasted weeks on end...In other words, food! Food glorious food, food that we've never heard of, food and recipes that influenced the European medieval cuisine and to this day we find echoes of them in recipes across the known world,-without exaggeration- from India to South America!For this reason I have invited on today's episode Professor Daniel Newman; an academic from Durham University specialising in Arabic literature, to talk to us about the medieval Arab cuisine. He is also known for his blog "Eat like a Sultan" where he brings the medieval recipes to our modern world with some mouth watering creations, professor Newman shares with us his unique insight of a rich and wonderful world!This was such a fun interview and I thoroughly enjoyed our chat. He is such a passionate and knowledgeable man who loves sharing his wisdom with us! If I had such lecturers when I was at University doubtless my time there would have been much, much more worthwhile!Today's music Nihavend peşrev is kindly performed by Pavlos Kapralos and it's by Petros Peloponnesios a great cantor, composer and teacher of Byzantine and Ottoman music (born c. 1735 Tripolis– died in 1778 Constantinople) the music is influenced obviously by Persian motifs and the song is played with a santur which is a hammered dulcimer of Iranian or Mesopotamian origins.Prof Daniel Newman's blog, Eat Like A Sultan: http://eatlikeasultan.com/Thank you and enjoy!Thom & The Delicious Legacy