Friday, August 8, 2014

Kykeon, or It's not breakfast without wine

You know what? It's been a while since we brought out the recipes from the days when you could have naked people all over the town temple. Therefore, we at A Book of Cookrye are going to once again use a lot of wine and present... kykeon!
What's that? You've never heard of kykeon? I got a copy of The Classical Cookbook from the library, which has an extended history with each recipe, so prepare to learn more than you thought you wanted to know about it. Hey, it's described in the Iliad, so if it's good enough to march all those soldiers into an English class 3,000 years later, it's good enough for us!

The Classical Cookbook, Andrew Dalby & Sally Grainger, 1996

I'm sure Cato's recipe is good (most of the recipes I've done from this book are), but I wanted to taste what they were having in the Iliad. You know, wine and barley and all that. Therefore, let's open another bottle of wine because it's time to start the day!
The holy barley meal.

Enough wine to moisten it... I think.

Once again, since no one makes this anymore, there's no one to ask if I'm doing it right.
I had to add a lot of wine to get it to stop cooking onto the bottom of the pot.

And now, the cheese!
Behold, goat cheese. It took a lot of stirring to melt.

And as they said, the melted cheese thickened it a lot.
A lot.

So the porridge had turned into dough. Everyone messes up every now and then. I nevertheless tried it and... This stuff is good. I don't particularly like wine, I'm not all that into cheeses, and I don't care for porridge-stuff at all. But somehow putting together all of them added up to something amazing. And I have to add that I was full for hours.
The next day, I took out the rest of it to reheat. Since it looked like dough anyway, I decided now was as good a time as any to jump forward a few centuries in the history of bread. We're going from when people first discovered that grains are edible after boiling them soft to when they discovered you can turn your mush into flatbread! (However, because I cannot turn a pancake, we're also going to jump forward to when the oven came into being.)
All right, we're jumping forward thousands of years to the toaster oven.

Baked until crispy, we had this:
Not every attempt at bread ends up looking like misshapen raw hamburger patties.

And you know what? Cheese-wine flatbread is also amazing. It totally made up for making the kykeon way too thick to begin with. I would raise a toast to ancient cooks, but I used up all the wine making this.

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