Karanou (Chania / Crete)
July 16-17, 2011

Founded and Organized by
Mariana Kavroulaki
in conjuction with the
Historical, Folkore and Archaeological Society of Crete (ILAEK)


Possibilities for papers include:

~ historical and social context of Cretan cuisine

~ how Cretan food is intertwined with economy and politics

~ Cretan food as a cultural process (flavors; Cretan food and pleasure; prohibitions and restrictions; dietary choices; food as symbol; Cretan food as indicator of identity; evolution of food habits, culinary traditions, eating codes etc.)

~ people, places and Cretan cuisine (trying new foods and new techniques; fashion; Cretan cuisine and immigration; Cretan diaspora on a plate; the myth of Cretan cuisine outside of Crete; relationship between local foodways, tourism and globalization

~ the evolution of a particular dish

~ changes in food production

~ Cretan cuisine as a commodity

~ misconceptions regarding Cretan diet

The symposium will cover all periods of Cretan history.


The title, an abstract of no more than 300 words ( in either Greek or English) together with a no more of 100-word biography of the speaker (in either Greek or English) should be submitted by 30 Μarch 2011 to In the e-mail subject please write “Symposium”.

Oral presentations will be 15 minutes long.

Both graduate and post graduate students in Anthropology, Archaeology, Ethnology, History, Philology and Sociology are strongly encouraged to attend the symposium and present their work in the form of a poster.
The title, an abstract of no more than 70 words ( in either Greek or English), together with a no more of 100-word bio (in either Greek or English) should be submitted by 30 Μarch 2011 to In the e-mail subject please write Symposium.

The symposium languages are Greek and English.

Papers presented at the symposium will be published.


Information for poster presentation

Each presenter is responsible  for preparing their posters with the title  and  name(s)    of  author(s).
Size of the poster: max. hight: 1,20 m, max. width: 0,80 m.
The title should be readable at a distance of 2 meters and text should be easily readable from a distance of 1 meter.
Area: lecture hall.
Set-up: July 15 (adhesive material will be provided).
Dismantling: Saturday, July 17, directly after the symposium.

REGISTRATION: All persons wishing to present an oral talk or a poster must complete a registration form and return it by March 1.

The symposium is open to the public, but registration for non-presenting attendees is required as well.

There is no charge for the symposium. Moreover, refreshments, snacks and two Cretan dinners are also provided at no charge.

Organizers of the symposium provide free accommodation in private homes of Karanou for the presenters of the symposium (free accommodation for 1 presenter of a poster or an oral presentation at the time of symposium). Those interested should e-mail to arrange such shared housing. Free accommodation will be also arranged with local hotels.

The symposium program will be announced by April 15.

If you have any questions please contact Mariana Kavroulakis~, fax: 210 9021084, tel: 6979451484.



Egkrides, plakountes, 8 white and 8 black breads. Manufacture and use of dough in Classical Athens.

In Plato’s (c. 400 B.C.) ideal state men would lived on a healthy diet eating wholemeal barley or wheat bread and galettes. Socrates, however, suggested that this meant the whole population would be living on pig-food. The truth is that  in those days, Athenians  featured barley cakes (maza) and barley bread in their diet but they liked their bread white- the favourite bread of the rich too.

To many modern people it may seem surprising that Athenians  enjoyed about 66 kinds of bread and cakes, with more or less interesting names as regards ways of baking, shape of bread, ingredients and origin. A variety of breads were made for some religious festivity and to be offered to some particural divinity as well.

The average Athenian ate about 800 gr bread daily but bread was also figured in the diet of the very wealthy.

Athenians could grow wheat and barley but Athens had not the ability to produce all wheat it needed on its own soil without resorting to trade. The city-state imported wheat from other countries:  Black Sea Region, Sicily and Egypt.

The diet of Athenians was very simple, why, then, 66 kinds of bread and cakes? Fine athenian bakery developed because there were advances in technology,  economic conditions, political conditions, cultural influences, trade, abundance of ingredients at least among the upper classes, public bakeries’ establishment, evolving taste and fashion…

There were bakeries, yes, but of all household tasks the most serious was  breadmaking.

Pestles for pounding the grains, saddle querns and rotary hand querns for grinding the flour need muscle power. In classical Athens home grinding was done by woman’s muscle power… On a daily basis, farmers, poor women and women slaves spent about 5 ½ hours to make flour for a family of 3 adults and 3 children.

Heavy, heavy task .


Gorgeous sixth-century B.C. black-figure lekythos from Boeotia. It depicts the entire process, from crushing the grains with a mortar to kneading dough and shaping loaves


After all grains had been grinded, the women  pushed the flour through a sieve to remove brans,  kneaded and  baked.

 There were ash baked breads  and lovely crusty loaves mixed with cheese and honey.
What did they taste like?

All these were the subject of ” Egkrides,* plakountes,** 8 white and 8 black breads. Manufacture and use of dough in Classical Athens”,  the talk  I gave  at the invitation of Historical Folklore and Archaeological Society of Crete (ILAEK). I spoke in front of an audience that was curious about ancient breads and cakes, in the beautiful environment of Kipos, the open air cinema in the municipal Garden of Hania.  






To get a taste of ancient Athenian breads and cakes, I made 4 kinds of bread and 2 kinds  of cake that reflected both ancient Greek ingredients and baking techniques.


Vlomiaios: rectangular bread. Streptikios artos:  made with pepper, a little milk and a small amount of olive oil. Voletinos: a bread flavored with poppy seeds. I used emmer  flour (triticum dicoccum)  for cheese bread and vlomiaios and triticum compactum for voletinos and streptikios. The honey- cheese plakous and the sesame-honey-milk plakous (no photos included) were made with semidalis (durum wheat flour), the finest wheat flour. I substituted grape must for sourdough in voletinos… it gave excellent baking results.


Yes, after the talk there was bread-tasting and we had fun doing it!


*Egkrides: pieces of dough fried in olive oil.

**Plakountes (pl., plakous~ sing.): a large variety of cakes. There was no really difference between plakous and bread…  although, fine flour, cheeese, honey,spices, seeds and herbs were more appreciated in plakountes.   (The latin placenta comes from an. Gr.plakounta)



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