|Prep Time||12 hours|
|Cook Time||1 hour|
- 1 cup chickpeas dried
- 1 cup butter beans dried
- 1 cup wheat grains (wheat berries) dried
- 1 cup lentils Le Puy green
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil Greek extra virgin
- 1 lemon freshly juiced
- 8 sprigs oregano fresh
- 2 scallions diced
- In a large bowl, cover the chickpeas with cold water and soak overnight. The next day, drain and rinse well. Follow the same process with the butter beans and wheat grains.
- Tip them in a large pan set on medium-high heat and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil, then leave to simmer for 40’.
- Add the lentils and leave the grains to simmer together for 20’, until they are tender.
- Season the soup with salt and pepper.
Panspermia, an ancient Greek ritual
Hermes Chthonius is a god associated with the earth and underworld. He is the god who presides over passages between this world and the underworld, and thus he is considered a psychopomp, a deity who helps guide the souls of the deceased to the afterlife. For Greeks, the gate to spring has been the Athenian festival of Anthesteria that was held for three days in the month of Anthesterion (February-March). Anthesteria is the ritual rite of the journey from winter to spring, from death to life. During the third day of the festival known as Chytroi — the name derives from the cooking pots chytrai — the Greeks made panspermia. Panspermia is a multi-grain soup, which was offered to Hermes Chthonius and the dead.
Panspermia makes for an atmosphere of mystery and timelessness. Not only has this recipe been passed down from the times of ancient Greece but it is still very popular among the Mediterraneans. The Spring Equinox marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. This is the perfect time to perform renewal rituals and get ready for a new cycle of growth. Preparing panspermia is a ritual that can help us mark a rebirth as nature reawakens. The grain, a symbol of Mother Earth and the bounty of harvest, is the main ritualistic ingredient in panspermia and relates to nature as we place our trust in this new cycle of growth.
Food is about history, culture, and rituals. Especially in Greece, people still perform this ritual by enjoying this soup with their families, feeding their domestic animals with panspermia and even leaving bowls of panspermia for stray and wild animals.
Spring is a time of renewal; ancient Greeks understood that, so let’s energise our bodies with a nourishing dish!
The accompanying image is a photograph of an Attic funerary lekythos (420-410 B.C.), a type of Greek pottery used for storing oil, especially olive oil, for Myrrhine, represented while she is taken by hand by Hermes psychopomp to be escorted to Hades, appearing on Wikimedia Commons. This lekythos is displayed in Room 10 of the National Archeological Museum in Athens, Greece.
- Packed with whole grains (whole grain helps lower cholesterol) this hearty dish is a nutrition powerhouse! Brighten up these wholesome Mediterranean grains with fresh oregano and a splash of lemon.
- This is a four-grain soup; should you wish to add more grains, take into consideration the different cooking times.
- Fresh thyme or dill can substitute for oregano.
In the media
My recipe for ancient Greek Panspermia was first published on March 21, 2020 in Mookychick Magazine.
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