As far as we know from the relevant inscriptions, during the classical era cooking was the profession for men who were free citizens.
From the Hellenistic period onwards though, cooks were specialized slaves. As Menander writes, "the good slaves-cooks were paid a lot of money and had a prominent position in domestic affairs".
In ancient times, there were quite a few collections of recipes but only a few extracts have been saved.
Most recipes and other details concerning nutrition can be found in "Deipnosofistis" which was written by Athineos who at the same time with the seven wise men, also accounts seven great cooks.
The greatest were Agis and Rodos who made the best fish, Afthonias who made the best sausages and Nireas from Chios who made a divine fish-soup.
Note: The following recipe is my attempt at an American translation of the copy sited in the above noted reference:
Ancient Seafood Fricasseé (MINUTAL MARINUM)
- 1 lb fish fillet (e.g. salmon)
- 2 cups white wine
- 4 cups beef broth
- 3 leeks, chopped
- 1/2 cup oil
- Salt, coriander, pepper, fennel, oregano to taste
- a little bit of starch or flour to thicken the sauce
Chop the fillets into small pieces. Put the fish in a pan, add salt, oil, wine and broth. Chop leek stalks and coriander and add to mix. Cook approximately 30 minutes on low to moderate heat. When well done add the oregano and fennel (to taste) to the fish fricasseé. Boil again shortly. Then thicken sauce with starch, sprinkle pepper on the fricasseé and serve.
Special Note: I guarantee if there were any Cajun cooks back in Ancient times they would have most certainly used catfish or sac-o-lais (crappie) instead of salmon, and they would have added onions, bell peppers and celery to the recipe.
Let me know how it turns out if you decide to prepare it, okay?
Bon Appetit! Ahheee!!