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Salad dressing found in ancient shipwreck


chefmcone76
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Pretty interesting article

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/ingred...earoldshipwreck

Genetic analysis has revealed the contents of an ancient shipwreck dating back to the era of the Roman Republic and Athenian Empire. The cargo was olive oil flavored with oregano.

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Foley and his colleagues identified the DNA contents of one amphora as olives and oregano, suggesting it held olive oil mixed with oregano, they announced recently. This came as a surprise, since Chios was well known as a major exporter of fine wines in antiquity, and archeologists had assumed that any cargo from that area would have been wine.

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"If you go up into the hills of Greece today, the older generation of women know that adding oregano, thyme or sage not just flavors the oil, but helps preserve it longer," Foley said. The ancient Greeks may have used herbs—and the antioxidants in them—to intentionally help preserve the oil, and possibly accidentally helped preserve the DNA the researchers sampled more than two millennia later.

Moderator's note: quote added with permission of member.

"I'm drawn to places that fear their customers" -Kenji

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The oregano may have done more than just flavor the oil.

"If you go up into the hills of Greece today, the older generation of women know that adding oregano, thyme or sage not just flavors the oil, but helps preserve it longer," Foley said.

All we ever hear about now with herb-flavored oils is the risk of anaerobic bacteria. Interesting!

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That amazing, chefmcone76 - thanks for bringing it up. Its always interesting when a physical fragment from long ago surfaces and makes the experts re-evaluate.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Perhaps the herbs were dried before adding the oil? The lack of water in dried herbs create a less favorable environment for bacteria. That might come in handy while storing the oil in a hot, humid ships' hold for a long voyage.

On another note, I really, really wonder how flavors of aforementioned herbs have changed (or not) through the years. I have a difficult time believing that they taste the same now as they did over a hundred years ago, y'know? Our air, water, soil and various beasts are different and they *all* affect the flavors of everything else. Right?!

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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