Many of you have been in Greece, and many of you had a glimpse of the Greek cuisine and eating habits during your vacations in Greece or by visiting a local Greek tavern in your town.
Well the most important message to all of you through this post is that the real Greek cuisine is not like that at all.
Greeks are traditional indeed. Unfortunately most of the foreigners think that the traditional Greek cuisine is what they can find on every restaurant and tavern that have almost identical menus.
As much as we all like tzatziki, Greek salad, saganaki, mussaka, calamari, gyro, etc, we get tired of them after a while. Right?
Well the truth is that in Greece we don’t eat the same food year round, though. Greeks eat what is in season so the specials on the Greek family table change throughout the year.
However, eating according to the seasons is a bit of a challenge. Because nowadays you can find almost everything on the market throughout the whole year.
I also get into the temptation to buy fruits or vegetables out-of-season from time to time. The truth is that I’m usually disappointed because they don’t seem to taste as good as when I buy them at their season time.
For example the most famous Greek dish is Moussaka. Somehow, this classic dish only tastes good when the eggplants are picked fresh.
Horiatiki. This classic Greek salad isn’t quite the same unless the tomatoes and cucumbers were in their season and fresh.
Horta. Greeks sure love and use a lot of greens, but only when they’re in season. Whenever you find this dish in Greece, it usually contains whichever greens are available fresh at this time.
Pita. The reason why there are so many different recipes for pita (pie) in Greece is because Greeks use whatever they have available. There are versions of the classic recipes that include spinach, miscellaneous greens, vegetables, squash, and various cheeses.
Stuffed vegetables. Greeks love to stuff ingredients such as rice, ground meat, and fresh herbs into vegetables like peppers, squash, zucchini, eggplants, and tomatoes. In other words, the filling is nearly the same no matter what vegetable is used and cooks seem to use the vegetables that are the most readily available and at their season at the time.
If you wish to cook like Greeks do, it’s all about learning a handful of cooking methods and then adapting them for whichever ingredients are available. If you are interested in learning more regarding Greek cuisine and family style meals, please get in touch with me. I organize ,,Eat healthy, like Greeks do” workshops all around the Europe (in English). My clients are mostly family people, young moms, students, but also big corporations that use my workshops as the team bonding and team building events.
You could easily mimic this style of Greek cooking, as long as you focus on using fresh ingredients and learn to see meal preparation as a series of methods that can be adapted depending on what you have on hand.
Good luck and kalí sas óreksi (Καλή σας όρεξη), the Greek equivalent of ‘Bon Appetit’. Regarding the Greeks, seasons and food here is one useful guide on how to greet on Greek language. You can use it on your next visit to Greece, or to surprise your local Greek friends.