I love food. I'm Greek. I have to love food. Greeks are very passionate people - we yell, we are loud, we love life, we love our families, we are really over-dramatic, we freak out over the smallest thing, we dance, we sing, we like to have fun, and we eat. Oh, do we eat!
One of the reasons I love visiting Greece is for the food. Yes, the beautiful sea and scenary are gorgeous, the culture and history is like no other, and it's nice seeing my family - but the food, man. It's so good. Greeks take their meals seriously. Dinner time is almost sacred. I remember my grandmother, my father's mother, cooking for me in her apartment in Patras. Being that she is also half Italian, you can bet she knows what she is doing in the kitchen.
I have memories of certain foods. One time, after a day at the beach, we went to my grandmother's for a light lunch - meatballs, canelloni, salad, fruit. Yup, light lunch. I remember eating my delicious food and then all of a sudden, the room started shaking. It was an earthquate. 5.6 on the richter scale. I knew we had to leave. We had 4 flights of stairs to walk down, and we most certainly were not going to take the elevator because well, if you saw it, you wouldn't take it, either. But the food was so good! I just had to get one more bite in my mouth before I left. Seemed like all of Patras was outside, talking, yelling, freaking out. Me? I was worried all right. And I couldn't wait to get back to my food!
Greeks sometimes show love through food. When I met my husband's extended family for the first time in Greece, they offered me a lot of food. Every night was a feast. Thank God we did so much walking, otherwise I'd have gained over 30 pounds in that one trip alone!
Souvlaki in a pita from little vendors outside night clubs at 3 a.m. has to be the best thing ever. Or corn on the BBQ by the dock. Fried meatballs. Fresh tzatziki. Lots and lots of bread. And Greek salad. Eating fresh fish overlooking the beautiful water... These are the foods I think of when I think about Greece. Oh, and ice cream. Ice cream from the 'periptero' - the little corner convenient store.
My other grandmother, my mother's mom, takes such good care of my children. She cooks for us several times a week. The healthiest of foods. My boys are very lucky to have her in their life - not only for the incredible amount of love she gives them, but for her amazing cooking! I'm glad she is around to make tiropites for us (cheese pies), and yemista (stuffed tomoatoes), and fakes (lentil bean soup)and givarolakia (meat and rice balls). I love that my kids love food as much as I do.
I have to start learning how to cook these foods, as well as koulouria, the special festive cookie we eat at Easter and Christmas. Food is a huge part of who we are. And amazingly, it's food that keeps most Greeks healthy, living long lives. Olive oil, lots of veggies, lots of fish, fruit, fresh bread, wine. How can you not be healthy when you eat and drink these things every day, right?
Remember My Big Fat Greek Wedding? The scenes which involve food pretty much gives you a glimpse into how seriously we take our food!
I hope I have not made you too hungry - but if I have, perhaps you'll be inspired to cook up a Greek meal for dinner tonight! If you need any recipe ideas - let me know and I'll ask my grandmother! (Because we all know the only thing I do good in the kitchen is eat!)
This post was written for June's write-away contest over at Scribbit.