Greek Cuisine and Recipes
Greek Food, Recipes and cooking
by Country - August 2002
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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
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.
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.
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.
Day Greek Cuisine
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.
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.