Search

Forensic Culinary Archaeology:

A Collaboration between Christine Hastorf and Stella Diomantaraki

A Collaboration between Christine Hastorf and Stella Diomantaraki
From the left, Stella Diomantaraki, Christine Hastorf. Image by Athena Saridakis.

Gavalochori is home to a unique collaboration between an American palaeoethnobotanist and a Greek sommelier. Christine Hastorf, an anthropology professor at the University of California—Berkeley, and Stella Diomantaraki, a sommelier at restaurants and tavernas in the Apokoronas region, have teamed up to recreate old Cretan recipes. Here’s how this happened: Christine is friends with an American woman who owns a house in Gavalochori, and when the house was purchased, Christine loaned her some money to help her buy it. As a result, Christine has an open invitation to stay in the house, so she tries to come to Gavalochori for a week or two every summer.

Christine met Stella when Stella was working as a sommelier at the Emerald taverna in Plaka. They discovered that they have a common interest in the foods of Crete, which prompted Stella to reveal that her doctor in Exopoli had found some old Cretan recipes in a trunk. This started the two women on a quest to study and actually make the 10 recipes.

Cooking up the recipes was no easy task, however, because they only contained a list of ingredients. They didn’t include the amounts to put into the dish and nothing about how to put the ingredients together. Stella, who is from Crete, used her knowledge of Cretan foods and recipes to identify what dish each recipe was designed to produce and how to prepare it. The two women have been cooking at least one recipe each summer since the project began and have just one left to make. The recipes produced, for example, a chicken dish with the ingredients of chicken or wild bird, olive oil, cheese, wild onions, honey, garlic, white pepper, raisins, coriander seeds, and cumin. Another was a leek puree made of wild leeks, cheese, olive oil, garlic, and honey. Were there any flops? “No,” explains Christine, “because Stella is a good cook!”

Christine had help from her undergraduate students to try to determine how old the recipes are. They did research on the ingredients in the recipes to determine the earliest known dates of their existence, where the plants and other items were first domesticated, and whether they are native to Crete or when they first appeared on the island. The question she asked about the recipes was, “When could this recipe have been made?” In other words, given the ingredients, could it have been made, for example, in Neolithic times? During the Bronze Age? Although the answer to this question can’t be established for sure, Christine thinks the recipes are from the 16th century or even earlier given the ingredients that are included. None of the ingredients are from the colonial era (foods such as tomatoes, chili peppers, potatoes, and cucumbers), which leads her to believe some of the recipes could even have been prepared by the first Neolithic farmers on Crete.

Christine brings a great deal of experience to the food project with Stella. She earned a B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her archaeological work has taken her to Bolivia, Peru, Italy, Denmark, Turkey, Hungary, Argentina, and Mexico, where she focuses on plants and their functions in ancient cultures. When she began in this discipline there were few paleoethnobotanists in the discipline of archaeology, in part because it is not easy to study ancient plants. She studies the remnants of plants at archaeological sites and in her laboratory and has developed new methods for studying ancient plants. Among her many books and articles are The Social Archaeology of Food: Thinking About Eating in the Past and Present and an edited volume, Current Paleoethnobotany: Analytical Methods and Cultural Interpretations of Archaeological Plant Remains. Christine plans to coauthor an essay with Stella about their recipe project and will submit it to a food-history journal.

Stella, who lives in Kokkino Chorio, is a professional sommelier (CMS certified) with certified studies on wine (WSPC level 3). She graduated from the Hellenic Open University with a degree in Greek culture. As part of her professional career, she has worked at the restaurant Tudor Hall in Athens, Badrutt’s Palace and Zermatt MX in Switzerland, and Nobu Matsuhisa in Mykonos, among others. She is currently involved in the gastropub Steria, located in the Splantzia neighborhood of Chania. She runs the pub according to the principles of sustainability, zero footprint, and recycling, and she incorporates the same principles in her small catering business Nakara Catering. Stella is now writing a cookbook because she believes one of the most important intangible heritages of Crete is its culinary art.

Even as Christine and Stella complete their forensic culinary project, there is still that amazing Cretan food to be enjoyed in the present. Στην υγεία μας!

Explore other blog posts
Siobhan Timpson

Siobhan Timpson

If you spend any time at all in Gavalochori, you are likely to run across a slight woman with fiery red hair who is an

Anestis Stais and Aggeliki Soumala

Anestis Stais and Aggeliki Soumala

Who would ever guess that Gavalochori is home to a world-class collection of beer bottles? Meet long-time Gavalochori residents Anestis Stais and Aggeliki Soumala, Anestis

Nature Play for Children

Nature Play for Children

Kokkino Chorio
Lime Plasters & Tadilakt Workshop

Lime Plasters & Tadilakt Workshop

Vamos
Lunchtime concert

Lunchtime concert

Alikampos
fres paidochori porizo

Parenting Workshop in Nature

Cretan Music

Cretan Music

Douliana
Spring Play

Spring Play

Kokkino Chorio
Cretan Music

Cretan Music

Douliana
vamos music jazz

Jazz

Vamos
Eleutherna
63 km from Gavalochori
Eleutherna
Yoga with Kids

Yoga with Kids

Nio Chorio
Technical Engineering Office

Technical Engineering Office

At village center
Gavalochori
Tango Classes

Tango Classes

Douliana
Levity Yoga with Julien Andres

Levity Yoga with Julien Andres

Gavalochori
Cultural Association Center

Cultural Association Center

At village center
Gavalochori
Traveling ART Exhibition

Traveling ART Exhibition

Gavalochori
Cutting of the Vasilopita Cake

Cutting of the Vasilopita Cake

Gavalochori
Almyrida Taxi

Almyrida Taxi

3.9 km from Gavalochori
Almyrida
Art Classes

Art Classes

Vamos
Stylos
15 km from Gavalochori
Stylos
Playground in Episkopi

Playground in Episkopi

25 km from Gavalochori
Episkopi
Vryses
8.3 km from Gavalochori
We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. View more
Cookies settings
Accept
Decline
Privacy & Cookie policy
Privacy & Cookies policy
Cookie name Active
  1. Information Collected and Its Uses: When you participate in this site, we may collect the personal information you give us such as your name and email address. We may send you emails about our site and related information about the village of Gavalochori. We may also use your email to survey you about your usage or to collect your opinion.
  2. Obtaining Consent: When you provide us with personal information, you imply that you consent to our collecting it and using it for that specific reason only. If we ask for your personal information for a secondary reason, like marketing, we will either ask you directly for your expressed consent or provide you with an opportunity to say no.
  3. Withdrawing Consent: After you opt in, if you change your mind, you may withdraw your consent for us to contact you or for the continued collection, use, or disclosure of your information at any time by contacting us at AnthonyRadich45@gmail.com or mailing us at: 1788 Glencoe Street, Denver, Colorado 80220, USA.
  4. Disclosure: We may disclose your personal information if we are required by law to do so or if you violate our Terms & Conditions. [INSERT LINK to Terms & Conditions].
  5. Location of Data: Your data are stored through the data-storage system of the Foss-Radich Foundation for Gavalochori. Data are stored on a secure server behind a firewall.
  6. Payment Process: If you make a purchase on our site, we use a third-party payment processor. Payments are encrypted through the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). Your purchase transaction data are stored only as long as is necessary to complete your purchase transaction. All direct payment gateways adhere to the standards set by PCI-DSS as managed by the PCI Security Standards Council, which is a joint effort of brands like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. PCI-DSS requirements help ensure the secure handling of credit-card information by our site.
  7. Third Party Services: In general, the third-party providers we use will only collect, use, and disclose your information to the extent necessary to allow them to perform the services they provide to us. However, certain third-party service providers, such as payment gateways and other payment-transaction processors, have their own privacy policies in respect to the information we are required to provide to them for your purchase-related transactions. For these providers, we recommend that you read their privacy policies so you understand the manner in which your personal information will be handled by these providers. Certain providers may be located in or have facilities in a different jurisdiction than either you or us. If you elect to proceed with a transaction that involves the services of a third-party service provider, your information may become subject to the laws of the jurisdiction(s) in which that service provider or its facilities are located. Once you leave our Website or are redirected to a third-party website or application, you are no longer governed by this Privacy Policy or our Website’s Terms & Conditions.
  8. Links: When you click on links on our Website, they may direct you away from the site. We are not responsible for the privacy practices of other sites and encourage you to read their privacy statements.
  9. Security: To protect your personal information, we take reasonable precautions and follow industry best practices to make sure it is not inappropriately lost, misused, accessed, disclosed, altered, or destroyed. If you provide us with your credit-card information, the information is encrypted using secure socket layer technology (SSL) and stored with AES-256 encryption. Although no method of transmission over the internet or electronic storage is 100% secure, we follow all PCI-DSS requirements and implement additional generally accepted industry standards.
  10. Cookies: We collect cookies or similar tracking technologies—information that our Website’s server transfers to your computer. This information can be used to track your session on our Website. Cookies may also be used to customize our Website content for you as an individual. If you are using one of the common internet web browsers, you can set up your browser to either let you know when you receive a cookie or to deny cookie access to your computer.
    • We use cookies to recognize your device and provide you with a personalized experience.
    • We use cookies to attribute visits to our Website to third-party sources and to serve targeted ads from Google, Facebook, Instagram, and other third-party vendors.
    • Our third-party advertisers use cookies to track your prior visits to our Website and elsewhere on the internet in order to serve you targeted ads. For more information about targeted or behavioral advertising, please visit: https://www.networkadvertising.org/understanding-online-advertising.
    • Opting out: You can opt out of targeted ads served via specific third-party vendors by visiting the Digital Advertising Alliance’s Opt-Out page.
    • We may also use automated tracking methods on our Website, in communications with you, and in our products and services to measure performance and engagement.
    • Please note that because there is no consistent industry understanding of how to respond to “Do Not Track” signals, we do not alter our data collection and usage practices when we detect such a signal from your browser.
  11. Web-Analysis Tools: We may use web-analysis tools that are built into the Website to measure and collect anonymous session information.
  12. Age of Consent:  You may not use this Website if you are a minor (defined as those who are younger than 18 years of age).
  13. Changes to this Privacy Policy: We reserve the right to modify this Privacy Policy at any time. Please review it frequently. Changes and clarifications will take effect immediately upon their posting on the Website. If we make material changes to this policy, we will notify you here that it has been updated so that you are aware of the nature of the information we collect; how we use it; and the circumstances, if any, under which we will use and/or disclose it. If our site is acquired or merged with another company, your information may be transferred to the new owners so that we may continue to provide information to you.
  14. Questions and Contact Information: If you would like to access, correct, amend, or delete any personal information we have about you; register a complaint; or simply want more information, contact our Privacy Compliance Officer at AnthonyRadich45@gmail.com or by mail at 1788 Glencoe Street, Denver, Colorado 80220, USA.
Save settings
Cookies settings