The 4,000 Year Old Greek Food That Changed Cooking Forever

The souvlaki as we know them today were introduced to the ancient Greeks as “obelisks”, a derivative of the word “oberos” which means “spit”. The name is literal in the fact that ancient souvlaki, as it is today, was served vertically on a skewer or stuffed into a slice of bread. Consider your modern pita pocket (via Athens Insiders). References to this cooking method can be found in many ancient texts, including Homer’s Iliad. In it we come across Achilles cooking meat over a fire.

The ancient Greeks were one of the first peoples known to cook meat in this manner. According to a Greek reporter, archaeologists have found evidence of ancient grills used to make souvlaki. They consisted of two ceramic left and right sides, in which he created a channel into which the coal was shoveled. Skewered meat is straddled on both sides and cooked quickly and efficiently in the heat of the charcoal.

The grill shows that the Greeks developed a whole new way of cooking, a far cry from the boiling methods of previous eras. Moreover, ancient writings show that this method has survived and changed. Thermopolias (grill carts) were common in Greek markets. Thus, the ancient Greeks not only pioneered the method of grilling, but also helped develop the ancient origins of fast food, a concept that helped shape the structure of modern food.

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