Winner of the James Beard/ KitchenAid Cookbook of the Year 2000 and Winner of the Beard Award for the Best Writing on Food 2000.
 
 
February 23, 2018
Bookmark and Share

Mangia Bene

In the Pelion region of Greece, fishermen in the fifteenth century would give up their gardens and hunting and move their families to the streets of the local harbor for the fishing season. In Crete, men routinely joined Turkish ships even a century before Crete fell into Turkish hands. Turkish recruiters would also find Greek sailors in the taverns of Pera on Cyprus. There were many small- time Greek pirates in the islands of the Aegean and along the coasts of the Adriatic, in search of small-time victims and whatever food could be stolen. Although these fishermen-pirates could take from the sea, pirate rations were usually a sack of flour, some biscuits, a skin of oil, honey, a few bunches of garlic and onions, and a little salt. These rations would last a month, or until the next raid or port.

    Greek fishermen were truly sailors who found a home all over the Mediterranean. Greek sailors could easily be found manning a Spanish, Turkish, or pirate galley. The infamous brothers, the Barbarossas, were Greek or Turkish sailors from Lesbos who converted to Islam and settled in Djerba, becoming pirates who terrorized the western Mediterranean. By 1518, they ruled Algiers until the last brother's death in 1546.