Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Cult of Food

Everybody heard about the "Mediterranean diet", how light, healthy and balanced it is. I wonder what inspired that diet because Greek cuisine is anything BUT light and balanced.
You would think that since they have so much sea, their plates would be mostly fish and sea food. I think this is the seed that started the legend of the "Mediterranean diet'". The reality though is that the best fish they eat in Greece goes "Oink Oink" and "Bee".

 The traditional meat plates are indeed very tasty but one portion would rise your cholesterol to picks so high it has never known before. If we are to consider that it's never just one plate you might want to have your doctor's phone number close just in case. 
You most probably are familiar with the western way of ordering food which implies an appetizer(maybe) and than the main course. You may or may not chose to have wine during eating but that's about all the meal. Well, in Greece things are a bit different, as they always are here.

When going to a restaurant Greeks order: cold aperitifs, warm aperitifs, several plates of main course,  salads (Please notice the plural in all of them) and of course something to drink which can be ouzo, tsipuro or wine. I'm not counting the sweets, not because they are not having them but because they are usually on the house.
Don't think this happens on special events nor that the size of the order is for an extremely large family (or a small developing country for that matter:P ). This is a normal, everyday order for 2 to 4 people. 

Food in general plays a very important role in Greek society and it's generally regarded as a proof of love:
"You look sad, I'll make you something to eat"
"You look happy, I'll make you something to eat"
"You look pale, I'll make you something to eat"
"You had a bad day, I'll make you something to eat"
"You look sick, I'll make you something to eat"
"You look tired, I'll make you something to eat"
 "The kid is crying. Give him something to eat"
and so on...
Some people consider this to be a post war syndrome. During the WW 2 and the civil war that ravaged Greece food was scarce and people appreciated every single bite of it. So, back then, offering food was indeed a sign of love and affection. Now days though, this way of thinking placed Greece on the first place on child obesity in Europe. 

I am very familiar with the expression "Love goes through the stomach" since you can find it in most Balkan countries but I believe that Greece is the one country that hangs on to it the tightest.

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