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Greek Cuisine and Recipes

Greek Food, Recipes and cooking

Cooking by Country - August 2002


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Go To:-  Greek Featured Ingredient  Greek Speciality Dish   |  Cooking by Country Main Page



Greek cooking is so much more than Moussaka. Whilst lamb is the traditional meat of holidays and festivals, poultry, beef, and pork are also in plentiful supply and with 1/5th of Greece consisting of islands and no part of the Greek mainland lying more than 90 miles from the sea,  fish and seafood are a popular and common part of Greek cuisine.  



Ancient Times and Influences on Greek Cooking


Whilst itís not entirely surprising that the first cookery book in history was written by the Greek food gourmet, Archestratos in 330 B.C.,  it does serve to show how cooking has always ranked highly in Greek society. 


Most countries in the Cooking by Country  series have cuisines which have been influenced by other cultures, but of all of these, Greece must be foremost in the ranks of having a  "fusion" cuisine which is easily traced back to 350 B.C. when Alexander the Great extended the Greek empire to stretch from  Europe through to India. Whilst the Hellenic philosophy remained strong, it is safe to say that certain eastern influences must have been embraced during this period.


In 146 B.C. Greece fell to the Romans and in 330 A.D. Emperor Constantine moved the Capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople, founding the Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium.  The Byzantine Empire in turn  fell to the Turks in 1453 and  remained part of the Ottoman empire for nearly 400 years. With each successive invasion and settlement,  came culinary influences ranging from the Venetians, Balkans, Turks and Slavs.



Current Day Greek Cuisine


As a result of the many invasions mentioned above, today many Greek dishes are shared with and have Turkish names e.g. Baklava and Moussaka whilst in western parts of Greece, many food names have a distinctive Italian flavour to them  e.g. pastitsada.


Whatever the names or historical culinary influences, one thing is as true today as it was back in Alexander the Great's time  and that is the importance, preparation and appreciation of wholesome fresh food not only for sustenance, but also as a means of socialising both at home with family  and friends or in restaurants. In fact, the Greek word "symposium" literally translates to "drinking with company".


The warm, dry  climate of Greece creates perfect growing conditions for olive and lemon trees and both olive oil and lemons are an important part of the Greek diet today. Garlic, herbs such as oregano, basil and thyme are also widely used,  as are vegetables such as aubergines and courgettes. Honey is  often used to flavour desserts such as Theepless and Baklava and we mustn't forget the famous Feta Cheese which we've featured as Speciality ingredient for Greece.



Recipes from Greece -  Click here for lots of Greek Recipes

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