Category: food

The labyrinth city

One of the main reasons I chose Newcastle for my MA was the two study trips with Greek and Roman Archaeology. In January, we went to Rome for four days. The planned trip to Greece was only Athens for two days, but since I have dreamed of visiting Greece since I was a six year old reading mythology picture books, I had to see more than just Athens.

And so, Chandra and I planned a ten day trip designed to see as much of Greece as possible - and still spend a bit of time in the sun.

The first place we went was Crete. We flew from Manchester to Heraklion, the modern city from which you can visit ancient Knossos.

Instead of staying in the city, we stayed outside at a nice little hotel with a pool and a short walk to the beach. After all, us Canadians (pale as we might be) are used to a warm summer that we’re fairly certain not to get in the Northeast of England this year, so we had to get some much needed Vitamin D while we could.

Our first discovery from Greece was the wonderful food:

Gemista and Greek salad, photo by Chandra

And a beer named Mythos, which is like, perfect!

Me and a Mythos, photo by Chandra

The next day we headed into Heraklion to find our way to Knossos, the ruins of the legendary Minoan city that dates back to about 1700 BCE. It’s the famous city of King Minos and the Minotaur, of the Labyrinth built by Daedalus. It was excavated by the infamous Sir Arthur Evans, starting in about 1900 CE.

Knossos, photo by me

And why is Evans infamous?

It has to do with both archaeological theory and the ethics of restoration. Evans restored and reconstructed a number of buildings on the site, something that no archaeologist would dare to do nowadays. It wasn’t long before his British colleagues were pronouncing the reconstructions as wrong. To this day, Evans is used as a bad example in archaeology textbooks.

A few of Evans' reconstructions, photo by me

But the people of Crete see Evans in a different light. Unlike many of the antiquarian archaeologists of the early 20th century, Evans didn’t expropriate the artefacts from Knossos to a fancy cabinet of curiosities in England. He left the site and all its finds to the people of Crete. So they kind of love him.

Part of me disagrees with Evans’ reconstructions, but the other part of me recognizes that it makes the site a hell of a lot more interesting to visit. And to take photos of. Like our tour guide said, it’s easy to imagine yourself back in ancient Knossos.

After an educational morning, we retired to spend our next day and a half on the beach and swimming in the Sea of Crete.

Beach! photo by me

Greece is officially my favourite holiday spot because you get archaeology and history and sun and sand.

Strasberries: not a typo

Today, I went grocery shopping. I wandered over to the berry section, as per usual, and was greeted by something I’ve never seen before: strasberries.

strasberries, by me

Apparently they’re a new fruit, a hybrid berry from strawberries and raspberries. How can you get any better than that?

They taste quite like really sweet strawberries, but they’re smaller and a bit more airy - the texture is really unique. It’s light like a raspberry but without the gritty raspberry seeds. If you find them, try them! For anyone in the UK… they’re on sale at Waitrose* this week!

*The author of this blog would fully consider any offers of sponsorship from Waitrose, in the form of lots of money or, you know, free groceries.

Omelette fail

I’m a new convert to the ways of eggs. Mostly because of my severe lack of protein in my diet (since I generally don’t like meat… except fried chicken) but also because about two years ago I discovered that eggs weren’t just those runny things I dragged toast through when I was little. They were actually good, in scrambled form and omelette form! Since this wonderful discovery (I actually remember when it was - I went out for breakfast with Kristen the day before I left for Ireland and ordered an egg wrap thing) I have been an egg keener. I almost always order omelettes for breakfast out. I make myself scrambled eggs for dinner.

I have only made two attempts at making my own omelettes. The last was under Kristen’s supervision last Saturday morning - they turned out surprisingly well. Tonight I decided I’d try again.

Needless to say, I failed at the most important part of omelette making - the part where you flip it over. You’d think since I’m a master at making crepes, this would be easy. But alas.

So, I let the thing cook in shambles and topped it with lots of cheese… and pretended that I had intended to make scrambled eggs, not an omelette.

Ummm Chili…

A few weeks ago I made a wonderful chili recipe from the cookbook my mommy bought me for my birthday. We ate it for two weeks, and it was awesome. Usually, when it’s just Kristen and I, we have soup and grilled cheese. But last week we got to have chili instead! Then, on Friday I ate the last of it for lunch at work. So I decided I had to make more this weekend. Today, I made more.

This really is the best chili recipe. It doesn’t have any meat, and it has chickpeas. It tastes even better after it’s frozen. I love having something good to eat throughout the week. It’s well worth the work on Sunday. This picture doesn’t really do it justice (Kristen thinks it looks gross here) but it really is good!