Between starting a new full-time job and several other projects I’ve been working on, I haven’t had much time this past month to post recipes, ancient or otherwise. My apologies! There are several new blog posts coming soon (including a whole series on gourds, which I’ve been somewhat obsessed with recently).
I also wanted to take a moment to make a personal announcement which I am really excited about: The Knife’s Daughter, my first published novel, is now available for purchase from Pink Narcissus Press. It’s a queer fairytale set in a world inspired by ancient Korea and written in the second person, present tense, because “this is a story about you.” Check out the full description below, and buy it here (paperback) and here (Kindle edition), or wherever books are sold.
Thanks for reading Pass the Flamingo and stay tuned for further delicious ancient updates!
Your mother needed you to be a prince.
When your father was slain and your mother fled into exile, the prophecy was her only comfort. The child in her belly would be a prince, it said, who would wield his father’s sword, avenge his death and take back his throne. But when the time came, your mother didn’t have a boy.
She had you.
Raised to conceal your body, you take up your father’s sword on your eighteenth birthday and set out to fulfill your destiny as a prince, regardless of your sex. You must travel far from the bamboo forests of the mountains; under the earth and into the sky and over the walls of your father’s palace, where his enemy awaits with a secret you could never have imagined. You will face powerful monsters and painful memories as you struggle to complete a journey that will prove who and what you are.
You are the Knife’s Daughter, and this is a story about you.
“This is the display of the inquiry of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, so that things done by man not be forgotten in time, and that great and marvelous deeds, some displayed by the Hellenes [Greeks], some by the barbarians [non-Greeks], not lose their glory, including among others what was the cause of their waging war on each other.”
Two wars in the 5th century BCE might seem like an unusual theme for a dinner party, but the Greco-Persian Wars are among the most momentous events ever in ancient history. Faced with a common enemy, the fractious city-states of Greece were forced to unite for the first time as they fought for independence from the largest empire in the world. The Wars helped define the distinct quality of “Greekness” (Hellenikon) and set the stage for the flowering of Greek art, government and literature that would inspire later cultures up to the present day. They also helped seed our modern division of the world’s cultures into “East” vs. “West.” Herodotus, a Greek who grew up in the Persian Empire and whose home city played an important role in the conflict, devoted his life to researching the cause behind the Wars. The modern study of history, and even the word itself, are derived from the text Herodotus titled his Inquiries (Historiai), because it represented his inquiry into that most basic of loaded questions: “why don’t we get along?”
Luckily, there was nothing but harmony in the air last night at the Greek restaurant Nerai in Manhattan, which hosted a very special event in collaboration with myself and Eklektikon Wines. Together we developed an ancient-inspired menu, with Greek natural wine pairings drawn from ancient traditions.
To represent the conflict, we chose to serve Ancient Greek and Ancient Persian-inspired food side by side for each course. The restaurant’s chef spun off from our initial ideas to create recipes within the realm of what would have been possible for ancient chefs. Except for the refined sugar in the candied walnuts, all the ingredients are authentically ancient. Though we don’t have as much documentation of the Ancient Persian diet as the Ancient Greek one, the Persian side of the menu was informed by modern Persian cuisine as well as Ancient Greek sources like Xenophon’s Cyropaedia (a biography of the Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great) and the grocery lists of the Persian royal kitchens. This blog was one online source that provided a lot of useful background information.
I was so excited to see this event come together. Huge thanks to Nerai, Eklektikon, and to everyone who came and ate!