Yesterday I wrote about taking a tour of the site with Mr. McCreadie, and that I felt good that I was retaining much from year to year. But this year I heard something new in the tour, and that was that the marble used for the building called the Dedication of Phillip III and Alexander IV was from two different sources. Specifically the marble for the facade is Pentelic, meaning that it was quarried from Mt. Pentelicus, near Athens, and the marble for the other 3 sides is Thasian, meaning it was quarried on Thasos, an island very close to Samothrace in the northern Aegean. In the back of my mind I have been puzzling about this building for weeks, since Bonna is not content with the estimated foot unit that I have derived. So when it hit me that two different marbles were used, I started to think that the estimate is bad because there are two different foot units being used by two different sets of masons quarrying marble at two different geographic sites.

So then, how could you construct a building with two different foot units? I would argue that width (the depth of the block) would not matter. If the corner blocks were custom-fit on the facade, if the last course of blocks on the facade were custom fit, then it might work. BUT I am not very intuitive when it comes to geometry, so maybe this conjecture is all wet. What do you think?

In the meantime I wanted to talk about our kitchen situation, which I have described previously (see the end of the post). We work with extreme conditions in our kitchen. We have a range with solid state cooking elements, and there are no markings on the control knobs to clue us to the strength of the heat. The oven has one wire rack, and the barely legible temperatures are, of course, in Centigrade, always necessitating quick mental arithmetic to translate 350 or 400 into the proper temperature. In addition we have dull knives, no serving platters nor bowls, pots and pans with bottoms that are so warped that only one point on the bottom makes contact with the burner.

Add to that the fact that we eating slower foods here. By that I mean that if you go to town to buy fish at 1 in the afternoon, you are likely to find one of the fish stores closed and the other one with only sardines left, as we found out yesterday. The only fruits and vegetables are seasonal, although they are brought over by ferry from the mainland. It’s a good thing that I really like fresh tomatoes, since that is a staple of the diet here. Last night I ended up making keftedes, Greek meatballs, in which the only sure measurement was that I had 1 kilo of ground beef and one onion chopped. Lisa made tzatzkiki with local sheep yogurt, 8% for tzatzkiki, as well as a garbanzo bean salad and patates. We had hoped to grill fish, a plan that we had to abort because we did our shopping after lunch.

To leave you with a visual, here is a picture of the stove:

Kitchen at Hotel Xenia, Paleopolis, Samothraki

The blue bag hanging to the left of the stove contains our bread and cereals. It is hanging since ants are less likely to get into it that way. The collection of pans for using in the oven is to the right of the stove, stacked atop a non-working propane grill. We do have a nice big freezer chest, which you can see just through the door.

We have been joking that the Food Network should shoot a series called “Extreme Cooking” – put chefs into kitchens like this and see how they fare, what they can create.

I won’t have internet access tomorrow, but I’ll be back on Monday, so stay tuned!

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