Archestratus a Greek poet/writer lived in Sicily, which was a Greek colony at the time around 350BC. He is believed to have lived in either the city of Syracuse or Gela.
His love for good food made him known as the Classical Greek Gourmand. His poem Hedypatheia (Life of Luxury or pleasant living) was written in classical Greek hexameters and is probably the world’s earliest cookbook. From this poem, 62 fragments remain and 48 of them concern fish.
In his poem, he gives advice on how to pick the best food and where to travel to get it. He travelled a lot. Archestratus mentions how cosmopolitan Greek food had become throughout the known Mediterranean world at the time. Although not a full time cook himself but being a lover of good food, he must have cooperated with his cooks and servants quite a lot to achieve the result.
He travelled a lot in search of good food and ingredients to enrich his knowledge and experience of extraordinary tastes. A great lover of fish he rarely ate meat which considered as a barbaric habit. Of the few types of meat, he liked to eat include hare, deer and all sorts of birds (animals not used for sacrifice).
He insisted that fish must be cooked simply adding only a little oregano. Fresh fish needs no more than that he said. No cheese, no-nonsense, not too many spices. Stronger flavours are used for lesser quality fish. He used to despise the way Sicilians used to cook their fish. “Eat what I recommend” he used to say, “all other delicacies are the sign of miserable poverty.”
The result amazing. Simple full of flavours and most important you enjoy the real taste of fish!