Black soup

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Black soup
Type Soup
Place of origin Greece
Main ingredients Pigs' legs, blood, salt and vinegar
Cookbook:Black soup  Black soup

The ancient Spartan melas zomos (μέλας ζωμός), or black soup / black broth, was a staple soup made of boiled pigs' legs, blood, salt and vinegar.[1] It is thought that the vinegar was used as an emulsifier to keep the blood from clotting during the cooking process. The armies of Sparta mainly ate this. It was not a delicacy, but used for sustenance.

According to legend, a man from Sybaris, a city in southern Italy infamous for its luxury and gluttony (which gave rise to the word sybarite), after tasting the Spartans' black soup remarked with disgust, "Now I know why the Spartans do not fear death". In another story, it is said that Dionysus, the tyrant of Syracuse, for the sake of this bought a slave who had been a Spartan cook, and ordered him to prepare the broth for him, sparing no expense; but when the king tasted it he spat it out in disgust; whereupon the cook said, "Your Majesty, it is necessary to have exercised in the Spartan manner, and to have bathed in the Eurotas, in order to relish this broth."

No recipe for the Spartan black soup has survived, but blood soups are still eaten in various countries today, such as Italy, France and also Serbia.

See also[edit]

  • Black pudding, a wide variety of sausages containing blood
  • Maasai tribesmen also consume cow's blood, sometimes mixed with milk
  • Svartsoppa, Swedish (Scanian) soup made with goose blood
  • Czernina, Polish soup made with duck blood
  • Dinuguan, Filipino stew made of pig's blood, pork, chili, and vinegar

References[edit]

  1. ^ Flacelière R. La Vie quotidienne en Grèce au temps de Périclès. Paris: Hachette, 1988 (1st edn. 1959) ISBN 2-01-005966-2, translated in English as Daily Life in Greece at the Time of Pericles. London: Phoenix Press, 2002 ISBN 1-84212-507-9, p. 171

Further reading[edit]

  • Clauss, Manfred (1983). Sparta. Eine Einführung in seine Geschichte und Zivilisation (Sparta. An Introduction to its History and Civilisation) (in German). C.H. Beck, München (Beck'sche Elementarbücher). p. 166. ISBN 3-406-09476-7.