History of Greek Food

Sparrows rooted in soil

Αre sparrows  found rooted in soil?

Greek word “strouthion” means literally “little sparrow”, which doesn’t not seem an unlikely name for the delicate Bladder Campion  as its flowers resemble small chubby sparrows moving here and there.
In Greece it is known under several names including strouthoula, strouthoni (sparrow related names), fouskoudi (Lemnos and Mani), koukaki (Zakynthos), stroufouliagriopapoulo and ktypalo (Crete). As for its botanical name, it derives from Sileni, the drunken companions of Dionysus or from ancient Greek “sielon” (saliva) because of the gummy exudation of the stems.

The leaves and young stems of strouthion are traditionally eaten in omelettes or with scrambled eggs (Crete, Cyprus, Mani); they are also used in small pies filling (Cyprus) and in Lenten green pies. Cretans brown  them in olive oil or they cook them with meat or  salt cod.  
I myself like to mix them with  spinach, wild sorrel, spring onions, a few sprigs of wild fennel and cook them with fresh cuttlefish.

Clean the cuttlefish, cut it into pieces and brown  it with olive oil and chopped onion. Then  add water and demi –sweet red wine to cover,  and continue cooking. When it is almost ready, add the greens, cleaned and cut into large pieces. Cook until everything is tender. If necessary, add water and taste to see if it needs salt.
Another delicious with cuttlefish is to stuff it with the mixture of the greens. Of course, chop the greens by cutting them in very small pieces
 and add pine nuts or some other unsalted nut.

 I am not going to give precise instructions and proportions here, just  trust your taste.

Gennadios P., Phytologicon lexicon pp. 872;  Stavridakis Cl, Wild edible plants of Crete  pp. 121.
Many thanks to Angelina of twominutesangie for the mention of “spourgitaki” (sparrow)I also thank Kyriaki Pantelis, social geographer with special interest in Historical Geography of Food; she told me that “sparrow” is  Silene voulgaris since in Cyprus it is called strouthouthki (small sparrow) or tsakridki.


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