An Introduction to Greek Cuisine
Seasonal wonderful ingredients and simple cooking techniques – these are the two pillars of Greek cuisine.
Its a cuisine rich in vegetables, legumes, wild herbs and fruit, breads and baked goods, honey, cheeses, olives and olive oil, grilled meats, and fried fish, but it isn't a cuisine for the rich.
It is mostly good simple food that cleverly uses all the foods of the land and the sea, growing under the blazing sun and the soft breeze. And perhaps that is the reason Greek food suits us so well, and is tailored for us.
Although the Greek people is united by one language, a shared history and a typical cuisine, every region prides itself on its own folklore: traditional garbs, local dialects, and of course, local dishes.
Despite the fact you could find similar foods and dishes all across Greece, every region has versions with a unique taste that take advantage of the region's crops, and every region has different names for similar dishes.
And every region has its own unique dishes that developed from local cooking traditions. As with any other developed country, only a few of the residents of Greece still work in agriculture. And even those who once had a few vines, olive trees, a vegetable gardens, and perhaps a sheep or two in their back yards have mostly left the rural areas – some for the cities, and some, especially in the various islands, turned to work in the tourism industry.
And still many, especially the residents of the isles and the villages, have deep personal connection to the land and the cuisine. They grow the vegetables and fruit on their own; they collect honey, herd sheep and goats, produce goat and sheep milk and from it, thick yogurt and local cheeses; they distill the tsipouro they drink, collect the wild herbs and cook with olive oil made from their olives, which they picked themselves.
It is surprising how we Israelis know so little about this nation so close to us and about its cuisine. Greek salad, tzatziki, souvlaki, and that's more or less it. Only recently are we starting to discover Greece, the deep blue sea and the wonderful beaches, the rich history and culture, and of course, its rich and diverse cuisine.