Eukrates’ Guide to Wining and Dining in Athens, by Karen Dudley

Corey Mintz may have a few pearls of wisdom when it comes to entertaining guests in 2013, but would he know what to do in Ancient Athens? Thankfully, none of us need go ignorant now that Karen Dudley is sharing Eukrates' Five Quick Tips for Hosts, complete with recommended—and edible—sex toys for bored women-folk.

Karen's genre-defying Food for the Gods, an historical fantasy novel set in ancient Athens, has been nominated for an Aurora Award (for science fiction and fantasy), a Bony Blithe Award (for humorous mystery), a Mary Scorer Award (for best book by a Manitoba publisher), and a High Plains Book Award for best culinary book. The sequel, Kraken Bake, is forthcoming in 2014.

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Ensure your dinner party is a success by following these Five Quick Tips for Hosts:

1. Hire the best foreign chef you can afford for your symposion. In some circles it has become common practice to demand that a cook and his slaves eat before they arrive so you do not have to bear the expense of feeding them. Although some find this behaviour acceptable, it is, in fact, niggardly and vulgar. By offering to feed the cook and his retinue, you will, in addition to appearing magnanimous, secure his gratitude and through this obtain a vastly superior meal for your special dinner party.

2. Consider carefully any decision to invite Socrates. Although he possesses a marked talent for sophistry and will impress your guests with his philosophizing, the man will show up looking like an unmade sleeping couch. In addition, it is said he consumes only barley rolls and water—the better to trough his way through supper when he’s out at parties. Apart from obvious aesthetic considerations, such behaviour will result in far fewer leftovers for the host.

3. During the month of Pyanepsion, include at least one bean dish on the menu as this month is named after the boiled beans which the legendary Theseus offered the god Apollo after slaying the dread Bull of Minos. Do not, however, invite Pythagoras to your Pyanepsion party as he possesses some rather strange beliefs—namely that we live and die over and over again, coming back each time as another living thing. According to this mathematical "genius," we begin this spiritual journey as beans (yes, that’s right, beans). Pythagoras therefore frowns on the consumption of anything that might be considered a (distant) relative. Needless to say, such beliefs are not conducive to a particularly relaxed or festive Pyanepsion evening.

4. Choose a symposiarch to direct the entertainment for the evening and keep the conversation clipping along. But exercise caution in your choice! Do not forget it is also the symposiarch’s job to water down the wine so the partygoers don’t get dung-faced, annoy the neighbors, and generally find themselves unable to converse in a coherent, philosophic manner. Many a dinner party has been cast into ruin by the appointment of an inexperienced or (worse!) reckless symposiarch. Remember, only Persians and other barbarians consume unwatered wine. Your typical Athenian, however, understands that drink enhances desire at the cost of performance.

5. Provide the highest quality comestibles and other party supplies for your soirée. Do not omit the bread dildos! In addition to providing pleasure for the flute girls and hetaeras at the party, your wife will appreciate the special treat as she spends her evening in the women’s quarters listening to the sound of your merrymaking. A few bread dildos should help alleviate any boredom she may feel and will therefore help promote marital accord.

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karendudley

Karen Dudley’s checkered past includes field biology, production art, photo research, palaeo-environmental studies, editing, archaeology, and Classical Studies. She lives in Winnipeg with her husband, daughter, and assorted very nice but occasionally evil-minded cats.

August 13, 2013
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