Is Aphrodite’s raised sandal a tease or is she intending to slap the goat-legged Pan with it, because she is not interested in an erotic adventure with him?
100 BC. National Archaeological Museum of Athens.*
Beautifully decorated sandals were traditionally included in bride’s gifts. For jewelry, perfumes and sandals provided her with the tools to maintain her beauty of the night of her marriage.
Greek red-figure amphora with Hippodameia preparing for her wedding, ca 425 BC.
(Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
Homer called Dawn “Eos with pale- rose fingers” but Sappho dressed her bare beet in golden sandals: “Standing by my bed / in gold sandals / Dawn that very / moment awoke me”.**
Eos (Dawn) pursuing Tithonus.
(Attic red-figure oenochoe by Achilles painter. 470-460 BC, Louvre Museum.)
And there were sandals with marked soles. Walking the dusty streets, the ancient prostitutes would leave footprints with ΑΚΟΛΟΥΘΙ / AKOLOUTHI (“Follow me”) written on the ground.
Tondo of an Attic red-figured cup. (ca 490 BC. British Museum)
Elaborate Byzantine shoes, so brighlty colored but almost hidden by the long draped clothes….
Red was reserved for the Emperor and for women’s footwear in art.
Theodora. Mosaic at San Vitale in Ravenna. ca 546 CE
Fleeting glimpses of low cut slippers…
Maiden of Livadeia, 1825.
(Dupre’s Voyage a Athenes et a Constantinople ou collection des portraits, de vues et costumes grecs et ottomans. commons.wikimedia.org)
Did the Queen and the Maids of honour wear boots or small heel silk bow shoes?
Queen Amalia, ca. 1850
(Philibert Perraud, ΦΑ_1_658, PhotoArchive, Mpenaki Museum)
A precious new pair of shoes, just after World War II.
New shoes by Voula Papaioannou (PhotoArchive, Mpenaki Museum)
This is the one who got the perfect legs for such fire red velvet shoes.
A shoe that is not made for walking and certainly doesn’t make every man pay close attention at women’s legs….
Though, if prepared with thoughtful care, it offers an unforgettable pleasure…
AUBERGINE LITTLE SHOES (Melitzanes papoutsakia)
8 small aubergines
4 tbs virgin olive oil
MINCED MEAT- TOMATO SAUCE
300 gr minced beef
300 gr minced lamb
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 medium ripe peeled, cored tomatoes, finely chopped
5-7 tbs virgin olive oil
2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cinnamon stick
1/3 tsp sugar
sea salt to taste
1 2/3 cups milk
3 tbs all purpose- flour
2 tbs butter
sea salt to taste
3/4 cup grated graviera or Gruyere cheese
Cut off the stems of the aubergines, then cut in half, lengthwise. With a spoon, discard the pulp of the aubergine, leaving a shell about 1 cm thick. Salt and leave in a colander for 1 hour to rid of bitterness. Wash well and dry. Brush both sides with olive oil and roast until just soft. (Traditionally they are sautéed in olive oil).
Sauté the onions in 2 tbs of olive oil. When they soften add the minced meat and sauté briefly. Add the wine and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, cinnamon stick, sugar, salt and pepper to taste and simmer until the minced meat is tender. Add a little water if necessary. The sauce should be lightly moist and strongly flavored. Remove from the heat, remove cinnamon stick and stir in parsley and half cheese.
In a saucepan mix the butter with flour over low heat. Stir with a wire whisk. Remove from the heat and add milk slowly, stirring constantly. Place again over low heat and add salt and pepper. Stir with the whisk until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the other half of cheese. Allow to cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the aubergines on a baking pan and spoon in the filling. Spoon over 1 – 1 1/2 tbs bechamel sauce. Cook on the bottom oven rank, until the aubergines are soft and the bechamel top is browned (about 45 minutes – 1 hour). Serve warm.
VEGETARIAN VARIATION ON THE MEAT SAUCE
2 large onions, finely chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large green pepper, minced
2 1/2 cups tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup walnuts, blanched, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup currants (optional)
5 tbs virgin olive oil
sea salt and ground pepper
3/4 cup grated graviera or Gruyere cheese.
In a skillet, heat 2 tbs of olive oil and add the onions and green pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, 3tbs olive oil, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Simmer until sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in currants, walnuts and cheece. Let cool slightly before filling.
*The group of statues bears a solemn votive inscription: “Dionysios, son of Zeno, son of Theodoros of Berytus, benefactor, [dedicates this] on behalf of himself and of his children to the ancestral gods”.
**SAPPHO A new translation, by M. Barnard, 1958.