Cultural, Social, and Environmental Influences on Surviving Dietary Patterns of the Past: A Case Study from the Northern Villages of Karpathos

in Nature and Culture

The present work documents the core diet of a population in a Mediterranean island that has been minimally eroded by industrialization and tourism, and links present food-consumption patterns to the foods' historical roots and to the exploitation of natural resources available to the community. Demographic, behavioral, cultivation, and food-intake information were collected among inhabitants of the isolated northern villages of Karpathos. The core diet of the elderly village inhabitants was found to be based on wheat, barley, legumes, and olive oil. Inhabitants in the northern villages of Karpathos rely on local resources for most of their food. Absence of mechanized farming, the social role of women, and customs of inheritance are factors that have contributed to the preservation of traditional food-related practices.