Greece Colette Vitiritti

Greek map, coastline, and cuisine

Mainland Geographical Features: The mainland is barren with mountains that restrict its internal communications. It has a large peninsula jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea.

Island Geographical Features: There are 2,000+ islands, in which 170 are inhabited. Some of the easternmost islands called the Aegean Islands are located miles from the Turkish coast!

Geography and Food: Fish is predominant in the diet due to the access to the sea. In the northern parts, sweet spices are used in dishes. Corn, wheat, and tomatoes are grown in the fertile land.

Religion and Food: Easter is the most important holiday in Greece. There are dough cookies, red dyed eggs, and Easter bread. On Easter Sunday, there is salads, vegetable and rice dishes, breads, cakes, cookies, and plenty of wines and ouzo along with the traditional lamb.

Ancient Proteins: Meat wasn't very popular as there were vegetarian groups. They occasionally ate dogs and beef was expensive, but often just stuck to the fish diet.

Ancient Beverages: Milk was used for medicine, water was contaminated and mostly mixed with wine, and wine was used in symposiums as well as after meals. Getting water was a daily task for women,

Ancient Utensils: Greeks did not have eating utensils so they often used breads or their hands. Bread was also used as a napkin and then thrown on the floor for animals or slaves.

Ancient Symposiums: A symposium was a male's drinking party where females were provided as dancers or prostitutes. Wine was drank there. Having guests in the house was a “male-only” affair as they would talk about morals and politics.

Importance of Olive Oil: Olive oil is used and put on almost every dish in Greece. In the 6th century BC, Solon drafted the first law to protect the olive tree. Greece is the world's most important exporter of olive oil.

Greek Dishes:

  • Spanakopita: Made with stir fried spinach in filo dough crisped by butter.
  • Saganaki: Cheese from sheep's milk prepared in a small pan and flamed. Often paired with the phrase, "Opa!"
  • Pita: Small, baked, slightly leavened flatbread, made from wheat flour. Originated in the Near East.
  • Dolma: Stuffed vegetable dish which is then baked. Some vegetables to stuff are tomato, pepper, onion, zucchini, eggplant, and garlic as well as rice is commonly used in it.
  • Greek Salad: Dressed with salt, oregano, and or course olive oil, Greek Salad typically contains tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, feta cheese, and olives.
  • Skordalia: Dip made from crushed garlic mixed with a thick base (purée of potatoes, walnuts, or almonds)

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