Diets of Athletes in the Ancient Olympics and our Grade 5 Menu

Below is the product of my research regarding the ancient Greek Olympics spanning probably a thousand or more years from the beginning 776 BCE to the 7th century AD. What I will strive for is to be able to construct a menu that was suitable for ancient Olympians… not the poverty fare of the Greek peasants during that time.

I will also strive for authenticity of foods that were available in that part of the world at that time. For example, today’s new world foods / GMO foods were not available at that time such as CORN and TOMATOES and more were from the new world… and the world monolithic crop semi-dwarf wheat of the 21st century which supplies all “whole wheat” and white flour all come from the same GMO crop created in the 1960s and the 1970s.

A list of new world foods we should NOT include in our menu are:

New World Foods: corn, potato, tomato, bell pepper, chili pepper, vanilla, tobacco, beans, pumpkin, cassava root, avocado, peanut, pecan , cashew, pineapple, blueberry, sunflower, petunia, black-eyed susan, dahlia, marigold, quinine, wild rice, cacao (chocolate), gourds, and squash.

What kind of diet did the Ancient Olympians eat? Their recommended winning diets were mostly high quality red meats smothered in olive oil from BEEF, LAMB, DEER and goat (fish was a more modern introduction as the original Olympic games were inland far from the ocean). They also ate LENTILS, barley, and ancient wheat (not today’s gmo wheat). Their fruits were high energy dried figs, grapes, apples, olives, pears, plums, oranges. And their drink was water with grape wine (to disinfect the water).

The athletes did not indulge in salads as these are low nutrition foods but we can use salad ingredients as adornments and condiments. Arugula, Asparagus, Artichokes, Bulbs, Cabbage, Carrots, Cos lettuce (Romaine), Cress, Cucumbers, Fennel, Garlic, Leeks, Radishes, Turnips, Celery.

The Olympians had access to simple Greek cheeses… especially fresh cheese. Feta cheese as an example.

The only sweetener available at those times were fruit such as dried figs and wild honey.

My proposal for our grade 5 Greek Olympians’ menu after their Olympic Games is an authentic Greek feast close to the winning ancient Olympian diets that is available in our markets today that I surely have access to:

MEATS

Beef T-Bone Steaks – grass fed, freshly slaughtered the day before from Farmers Market in Cubao
Smoked Deer – from the island of Mindoro available in Makati Saturday Market in Leviste
Smoked Wild Pig (Baboy Damo) – from the island of Mindoro available in Makati Saturday Market in Leviste
Seared Lamb – from New Zealand from S & R

If there are any calls for FISH, I can get ocean freshly caught Dorado to be grilled.

All simply grilled on location for authentic aroma to whet the appetites of the athletes. The seared lamb has a recipe smothered in the finest virgin olive oil from Greece imported by Bragg’s brand from Healthy Options. We can condiment the meat with fresh Dill from our gardens.

CHEESE

Feta cheese is the most commonly available in our markets. But if we can get others, we should.

FRUITS

Dried figs – from the Mediterranean bought at the Indian grocery Assad’s Mini Mart
Grapes with seeds – from the fruit vendors in Marikina or Cubao
Olives – Get the highest quality from S&R or the Super Markets
Apples – from the fruit vendors in Marikina or Cubao
Oranges – from the fruit vendors in Marikina or Cubao
Watermelon – from the fruit vendors in Marikina or Cubao

SALADS

Organic only from our reliable organic suppliers. And none of the new world ingredients. With a triple dip of Balsamic Vinegar, Virgin Olive Oil, and Wild Honey

SOUP

Lentil soup. – Lentils are available in the Indian grocery Assad’s Mini Mart
Recipe with no tomatoes: http://markbittman.com/7-ways-to-make-lentil-soup

WINE

High quality grape wine from the spirit section of SM.
To be diluted in reverse osmosis water.
Served in shallow cups… like the ancient Greeks did.

PLATES, if we can get wooden plates and wooden cups.
I’d assume they did not use China wares at that time.
And the Greeks at that time ate with their hands.

With this menu let’s wish to delight the children’s sense of smell, sight and taste. They will be transported back to to another time and place as we strive to be as authentic Greek Olympic as possible.

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COST Section:

– T-Bone Beef Costs P 300 / kilo
– Smoked Deer Costs P 600 / kilo
– Smoked Wild Pig Costs P 600 / kilo
– Lamb Costs P 600 / kilo
– Dorado Fish P 140 / kilo

– Figs Cost P 150 / pack of 10 pieces

– Lentils P 250 / 1 kilo pack

– Wine – someone donate red wine from their Christmas loot.

– Honey P 350 / 1 big quattro kantos (Kalinga source)

– Virgin Olive Oil Braggs from Greece P 500 / bottle.

– Balsamic Vinegar

– Organic Salad P 500 budget for cucumbers, celery, romain lettuce, etc. should be enough.

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Photo gallery of foods, I will add as I take the pictures:

* Updated Feb 10, 2013 and added 3 additional food pictures: smoked deer, feta cheese, smoked wild pig

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Greek Olympic Banquet Costing: 4,000 vs 10,500. Where P 10,500 is we feed 80 Pax with more figs, more grapes and more smoked wild deer and smoked wild pig. Otherwise, duck and lentil soup can economically feed all 80 pax. See PDF of 2 scenarios.

Authentic Greek Banquet Super Special:

*** Fruits *** (you tasted the figs in our last get together)
Dried Figs, Grapes, Watermelon

*** Soup *** (you tasted this in our last get together)
Organic Duck, Lentil, Carrots and Celery Soup
Ingredients: Organic Carrots, Organic Celery, Whole Organic Duck, Lemons, Wansoy, Lentils, Cumin, Salt, Pepper

*** Meats ***
Smoked Wild Deer (from Mindoro) + Smoked Wild Pig (from Mindoro) + Seared Lamb (from New Zealand)
Lightly Roasted slathered with olive oil and sprinkled with dill / parsley / thyme
Cut in 1″ squares for finger eating
Or if you like can be in Kebab presentation (on a BBQ stick)

*** Vegetables ***
Greek Salad with Feta Cheese

*** Drink ***
Red wine + Water

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AUTHENTIC ANCIENT GREEK OLYMPIC MENU circa 776 BC

AUTHENTICITY ISSUE for COT APPROVAL:

Fruits: Dried Figs, Grapes, Watermelon
… are all ancient foods that were available to Ancient Olympic Greeks at that time.

Vegetables: Salad without “New World” / “recent” ingredients – no tomatoes, no corn, no egg plants with Feta Cheese, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey as dips.
… are all ancient foods that were available to Ancient Olympic Greeks at that time.

Soup: Duck, Lentil, Carrot, Celery and Cumin are all ancient and available during Ancient Greek Olympic times. In fact Cumin is native to the Mediterranean up to the Indian area. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumin

Meats: Duck above + Wild Pig + Wild Deer + Grass Fed Lamb … are all ancient foods, ancient species. Calvin sometimes brings smoked wild deer as his lunch pack so some of his classmates are already familiar with the great taste of smoked wild deer.

Drink: Water + Grape Wine … is an ancient Greek Olympic practice to sterilize the water with wine from the natural water source.

So my answer is YES the menu above is very much AUTHENTIC ANCIENT GREEK OLYMPIC.
Note that Ancient Greek Olympic Games began 776 BC.

Best wishes,
Edwin

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