The Delicious Legacy

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The Mysterious Herb Sylphium

Season 1, Ep. 2

Hello! I'm Thom Ntinas and I delve into archaeogastronomy for reasons of greed (mainly!) but also curiosity about the foods of our ancestors, and how little or much our taste buds, ingredients and methods have changed, since the dawn of the civilisation!

Feasting was an important activity of the ancient Greeks and in general of all the Aegean societies and I believe in our modern day and age these activities are equally important especially when we spend so much of our time on our own without physical interaction with other human beings in any meaningful way.


I am not a trained cook/chef but I have worked for many years in kitchens -from my mums canteen at the Greek Telecommunications company in my hometown as a teenager- to the infamous Greek taverna of Bangor in north Wales while I was in university, studying Electronic Engineering!


In this second episode I am exploring the beginnings of the amazing and almost mythical in status, Sylphium! A herb that was extremely popular in the cuisine of ancient Greece and Rome, and made the Greek colony of Cyrene rich and powerful democracy with an important philosophy school too!

what did it taste like? How was it used? Can I use it in my recipes now ? All will be answered here!

I am talking briefly about a myriad other herbs and spices used in the ancient kitchen and also give you a couple of ancient recipes to play with. Enjoy!


With music by the marvellous Freddy Macha

@freddymacha

More music here: https://globalfusionmusicarts.bandcamp.com/album/freddy-macha-constipation


Further reading: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20170907-the-mystery-of-the-lost-roman-herb

https://fia.umd.edu/answer-an-important-plant-thats-now-extinct/

https://www.reddit.com/r/UnresolvedMysteries/comments/6gg0rr/what_exactly_was_the_ancient_plant_silphium/

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5/25/2021

Traditional Burmese Cuisine -An Interview with Mimi Aye

Season 1, Ep. 25
Burmese food writer turned activist MiMi Aye has been raising awareness about the crisis in Myanmar since the coup in February. MiMi’s award-winning book ‘MANDALAY: Recipes & Tales from a Burmese Kitchen’ is loved by Nigella Lawson and was chosen by The Observer, The FT, and The Mail on Sunday as one of their Best Books of 2019. MiMi also co-hosts the food and culture podcast The MSG Pod and is on social media as @meemalee***The vast tropical and sub-tropical south east Asia always was a place of tantalising and fascinating stories, myths and legends! Ruins and monuments hidden deep in the jungles, long and unexplored rivers, mysterious tribes living in the jungles, and long lost civilizations! Even more the myriads of different foods, the ingredients the thousands of local plants were alien to me!We do know a lot of Thai and Vietnamese food, and we have a sense of place for them. We know of Indian and Bangladeshi cuisines too well. But what about that "little" corner of the earth sandwiched between China in the north, India to the west and Thailand in the East? What about Myanmar?Or as it is also known (perhaps more correctly) Burma. I knew practically nothing about the country. Same with many of us. I could point it on the map, but aside from that, the long military dictatorship and the many years of isolation, shrouded her in mystery!I could not pass the opportunity then, to invite Mimi Aye on the podcast, since she is the go to person for all things that have to do with Burmese food in UK!Obviously rice was been cultivated in this region of the world for almost 6000 years...And what is Lahpet? A unique delicacy of the Burmese people...And do they eat fish sauce?Tea, rice, fritters, soups and salads, fermented bean pastes, fish sauce...!Why is that extremely bitter foods are consider a must-have?I need to know -and most importantly eat- everything!Well now I have a sense of direction on where to start thanks to Mimi!And so do you:https://www.meemalee.net/buy-my-bookEnjoy!Thom