Greece Kirsten SAnford

Geographical (mainland) Features: The country consists of a large mainland and two additional smaller peninsulas projecting from it. Greece is largely mountainous (80%), with its latitude ranging from 35°00′N to 42°00′N and in longitude from 19°00′E to 28°30′E. Mount Olympus is the highest point in Greece

Geographical (island) Features: Greece also features a large number of islands, of various sizes, both large ones including Crete, Euboea, Rhodes and Corfu, and groups of smaller ones such as the Dodecanese and the Cyclades. Estimates of the number of islands vary between 1,200 and 6,000. The Greek islands amount for about 20% of the country's total territory

Geography and Food: Oranges, olives, dates, almonds, pomegranates, figs, grapes, tobacco, cotton, and rice abound in the areas of lower elevation, primarily in the east. In ancient times, the Persians introduced Middle Eastern foods, such as yogurt, rice, and sweets made from nuts, honey, and sesame seeds.

Food and Religion: Easter is by far the most important celebration for the Greeks, even Christmas comes second. The celebrations for Easter truly begin two months before, but Holy Week is the peak of these activities. The main dish at the Easter table is roasted lamb. In Greece, especially in villages, bread is considered a gift of God. Because of that women bless the bread and make the sign of the cross with a knife before slicing it.

Ancient Greek Protein: Greece just doesn't have good pasture land for livestock, so meat was scarce. The Greeks loved fish, but low on the scale of their likes, and thus cheapest, were small fish such as anchovies and sprats. Fish was easier to serve than meat, because to serve meat you first had to arrange to sacrifice it, and with fish you didn't.

Ancient Greek Beverages: The Greeks believed that when you drank enough wine, you could have your body possessed by Eros, Dionysus or the Muses. Wine was never, ever drunk straight. It was mixed with water in a crockery vessel called the "krater."

Ancient Greek Utensils: Coffee pot (briki) - a metal pot traditionally made from copper with a long handle that is used on the stove top to make thick rich Greek coffee. Steel souvlaki skewers - If you can get hold of them these are much better than wooden ones because you can fit more meat on them, they stronger and don’t break or burn and they’re reusable.

Ancient Greek Symposiums: The symposium (or symposion) was an important part of ancient Greek culture from the 7th century BCE and was a party held in a private home where Greek males gathered to drink, eat and sing together. Various topics were also discussed such as philosophy, politics, poetry and the issues of the day.

Current Greece - Importance of Olive Oil: The olive tree is a particularly important symbol for the ancient Greeks. It's connected to their diet and their religion, and used as a decorative motif on vases, in gold jewelry and elsewhere. It's considered a symbol of peace, wisdom and victory. The Greeks use olive oil as a form of nutrition; normally their meals are made up of bread, oil, wine and honey, accompanied at times by cheese, milk, fish and meat. They also employed olive oil as fuel for lighting. Olive oil was used for cosmetics as well and in human or animal medicine to give flexibility and softness to fabrics and as a form of preservation for other foodstuffs.

Current Greece - Popular Dishes: Taramasalata - creamy blend of pink or white fish roe with either a potato or bread base is best with a drizzle of virgin olive oil or a squeeze of lemon. Moussaka - baked dish based on layering: sautéed aubergine, minced meat fried pureed tomato, onion, garlic and spices like cinnamon and allspice, a bit of potato, and then a final fluffy topping of cheese and béchamel sauce. Courgette balls - body of the fritter is usually made of grated or pureed courgette blended with dill, mint, or other top-secret spice combinations. Feta & cheeses - at bakeries you’ll find tyropita (cheese pie), at tavernas, salads like Cretan dakos, which is topped with a crumbling of mizithra, a soft, white cheese. Honey & baklava - a start, layering honey, filo and ground nuts. Octopus - grilled or marinated, it makes a fine meze (appetizer), or as an entree stew it in wine sauce and serve it with pasta.

Moussaka
Fish dish

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