Archive for May 20th, 2008

The care and feeding of archaeologists

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Do you ever wonder how dig workers get fed? I figured it was either hotel food or camping food, but the truth turns out to be a lot more interesting (and delicious) than that.

Evans came to the role of dig cook, which she adores, more by chance than planning. About 10 years ago her husband, who has a long-standing interest in archaeology, spotted an advertisement from a British academic looking for someone to cook for 15 people at an excavation site in Cyprus.

“I thought, 15 people, I could do that,” Evans says. “If someone asks me to cook for their party, I get really excited.

“I’ve done catering, worked in restaurants and cafes and done a lot of my friends’ weddings but I had never thought of cooking as a way of travelling and seeing other parts of the world.”

She got the job. “Then I had to get an atlas and look up exactly where Cyprus was.”

Much coolness ensues. Apparently archaeologists eat two breakfasts because they start so early in the morning and then try to avoid the midday heat.

She never knows what sort of cooking apparatus she’s going to find on site, whether it’s mud brick ovens or old Pepsi fridges like the 50’s one with the built-in bottle opener in Back to the Future.

But damn, she scores some fantastic produce from the locals. Who needs electricity when you’ve got this:

“One man used to turn up with 48 huge, perfect peaches on a tray, straight from the tree. Local women used to give me olives. They used to make haloumi in one village and we used to buy big buckets of it.”






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