Furniko Flour: An Emblematic Traditional Food of Greek Pontic Cuisine
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Furniko Flour: An Emblematic Traditional Food of Greek Pontic Cuisine

Authors: A. Keramaris, T. Sawidis, E. Kasapidou, P. Mitlianga

Abstract:

Although the gastronomy of the Greeks of Pontus is well-known, it has not received the same level of scientific scrutiny as another Greek local cuisine, that of Crete. As a result, we planned to concentrate our research on Greek Pontic cuisine to shed light on its distinct recipes, food products, and, ultimately, its characteristics. The Greeks of Pontus have one of Greece's most distinguished local cuisines, having lived for a long time in the northern part (Black Sea Region) of modern Turkey and now widely inhabiting northern Greece. Despite its simplicity, their cuisine contains several mouthwatering delicacies. Even though they have been in Greece for a century, their gastronomic culture remains an important part of their collective identity. As a first step toward understanding Greek Pontic cuisine, furniko flour, one of its most well-known traditional products, was investigated. For this project, we targeted residents of Western Macedonia, a province in northern Greece with a large population of descendants of Pontus Greeks who are primarily engaged in agricultural activities. In this quest, we approached a descendant of Pontus Greeks who is involved in the production of furniko flour and agreed to show us the entire process as we participated in it. Furniko flour is made from heirloom non-hybrid corn. When the moisture content of the seeds is low enough to make them suitable for roasting, they are harvested by hand. Harvesting by hand entails removing the cob from the plant and separating the husks. The harvested cobs are then roasted in a traditional wood oven for 24 hours. After that, the these are collected and stored in sacks. The next step is to extract the seeds by rubbing the cobs together. Ideally, the seeds should be ground in a traditional stone hand mill. The outcome of this process is aromatic, dark golden furniko flour, which is used to make havitz. Along with the furniko flour preparation, we also documented the havitz cooking process (a porridge-like corn flour dish). One of the most delectable dishes in Greek Pontic cuisine, this savory delicacy is simple to prepare. Because of the ingredients of furniko flour, havitz is a highly nutritious dish, according to the research participant. Furthermore, he claims that preparing havitz is a wonderful way to bring families together, share stories, and revisit happy memories. Finally, as an initial effort to highlight elements of Pontic Greek cuisine, this study illustrates the traditional preparation of furniko flour and its use in various traditional recipes. Our next objective would be to evaluate the nutritional value of furniko flour by analyzing its chemical components.

Keywords: Furniko flour, Greek Pontic cuisine, Havitz, traditional foods.

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