Hilde Lee: Pandemic armchair travels continue with Greece’s contributions to world cuisine | Food & Cooking

Adella Miesner

However, Greece is surrounded on three sides by water and many islands. What could be more enchanting than eating a midday meal on an island in the Aegean surrounded by shimmering water and beautiful scenery? Boats with red and white sails are unloading the morning’s catch of crawfish, mullet, and […]

However, Greece is surrounded on three sides by water and many islands. What could be more enchanting than eating a midday meal on an island in the Aegean surrounded by shimmering water and beautiful scenery?

Boats with red and white sails are unloading the morning’s catch of crawfish, mullet, and octopus. Market stalls neat the water sell scarlet tomatoes green peppers, wine-dark eggplants and beautifully scented lemons. All a preview of an excellent meal.

Greek food is still traditional, with many of the dishes being centuries old. Greek cooking goes back 500 years before the birth of Christ. One of the first cookbooks stems from about that time.

Greek civilization and cuisine eventually spread throughout the Mediterranean. The Greeks taught the Romans to eat well. With the occupation of Greece by various invaders, Greek civilization and its culinary arts declined. However, some of the Greek food items eventually were incorporated in many other cuisines.

The most important element in Greek cuisine is olive oil. It seems that the olive tree grows everywhere is Greece. Its flavor dominates Greek food. The ancient Greeks used olive oil medicinally, as well as in their food. Green olive oil is fruity, thick, green, and more flavorful than the olive oils refined in other countries.

Greek cheeses, although not exceptional, add a pleasant, slightly salty taste to many dishes. Feta, a slightly salty goat cheese, is most commonly served; it is cut into small cubes, as an appetizer. It is also used as an ingredient in meat and fish dishes, and in salads, which seem to accompany every meal.

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