Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For the love of food

I love food. I'm Greek. I have to love food. Greeks are very passionate people - we yell, we are loud, we love life, we love our families, we are really over-dramatic, we freak out over the smallest thing, we dance, we sing, we like to have fun, and we eat. Oh, do we eat!

One of the reasons I love visiting Greece is for the food. Yes, the beautiful sea and scenary are gorgeous, the culture and history is like no other, and it's nice seeing my family - but the food, man. It's so good. Greeks take their meals seriously. Dinner time is almost sacred. I remember my grandmother, my father's mother, cooking for me in her apartment in Patras. Being that she is also half Italian, you can bet she knows what she is doing in the kitchen.

I have memories of certain foods. One time, after a day at the beach, we went to my grandmother's for a light lunch - meatballs, canelloni, salad, fruit. Yup, light lunch. I remember eating my delicious food and then all of a sudden, the room started shaking. It was an earthquate. 5.6 on the richter scale. I knew we had to leave. We had 4 flights of stairs to walk down, and we most certainly were not going to take the elevator because well, if you saw it, you wouldn't take it, either. But the food was so good! I just had to get one more bite in my mouth before I left. Seemed like all of Patras was outside, talking, yelling, freaking out. Me? I was worried all right. And I couldn't wait to get back to my food!

Greeks sometimes show love through food. When I met my husband's extended family for the first time in Greece, they offered me a lot of food. Every night was a feast. Thank God we did so much walking, otherwise I'd have gained over 30 pounds in that one trip alone!

Souvlaki in a pita from little vendors outside night clubs at 3 a.m. has to be the best thing ever. Or corn on the BBQ by the dock. Fried meatballs. Fresh tzatziki. Lots and lots of bread. And Greek salad. Eating fresh fish overlooking the beautiful water... These are the foods I think of when I think about Greece. Oh, and ice cream. Ice cream from the 'periptero' - the little corner convenient store.

My other grandmother, my mother's mom, takes such good care of my children. She cooks for us several times a week. The healthiest of foods. My boys are very lucky to have her in their life - not only for the incredible amount of love she gives them, but for her amazing cooking! I'm glad she is around to make tiropites for us (cheese pies), and yemista (stuffed tomoatoes), and fakes (lentil bean soup)and givarolakia (meat and rice balls). I love that my kids love food as much as I do.

I have to start learning how to cook these foods, as well as koulouria, the special festive cookie we eat at Easter and Christmas. Food is a huge part of who we are. And amazingly, it's food that keeps most Greeks healthy, living long lives. Olive oil, lots of veggies, lots of fish, fruit, fresh bread, wine. How can you not be healthy when you eat and drink these things every day, right?

Remember My Big Fat Greek Wedding? The scenes which involve food pretty much gives you a glimpse into how seriously we take our food!

I hope I have not made you too hungry - but if I have, perhaps you'll be inspired to cook up a Greek meal for dinner tonight! If you need any recipe ideas - let me know and I'll ask my grandmother! (Because we all know the only thing I do good in the kitchen is eat!)

This post was written for June's write-away contest over at Scribbit.

28 comments:

MamaJoss said...

Yup - Now I'm hungry!!! I come from a huge Polish family, so we're pretty serious about our Kiszka and all too :) Start posting some of the recipes Momma!!

Jen said...

I travelled through Greece and Turkey a few years ago and loved it! The food was unbelievable. My favourite place was Corfu. But I also really liked Rhodos, Mykonos and Santorini. I would love to take my husband and daughter there one day. Ahhh...the memories.

Loukia said...

Santorini is my favourite... it's so breathtaking, it's almost not real... heavenly! We are probably taking the boys next summer. I just hate the long flight... and can't imagine it will be easy with the kids, although, they will be older next summer...

Elisa said...

Well, being Italian, I can totally relate. Everything revolves around food: visits, celebrations, holidays, and day-to-day life, too :-)

And OMG, do I ever miss the roasted lamb, seafood risotto and roasted veggie pizza I eat in Sardinia! Nowhere else you can find better ones.

One time I'd like to try some Greek recipes! maybe I'll have dh take me to Greece next summer, that's probably best :-)

twinmomplusone said...

Now you really got me salivating! Well written post too :) And lucky me, we get to spend August in Greece this summer!! My fifth time (fourth with kids) and I'm absolutely looking forward to the food!!!

ModernMom said...

I was totally eating a bagel and cream cheese while reading this post. Yep, didn't cut it. LOL
Sounds like you have had some amazing trips to Greece.
It's on our list of must see places, but I think it just got bumped up a notch!

Scribbit said...

It takes very little to convince me of how great it all it--I'm a big fan of Mediterranean food and wish I could cook it better myself.

Oh how I love it.

amanda said...

will you be my tour/food guide if i ever get to go to greece??

pretty please :)

Andrea said...

Love, love Greek Food! I visited my husband while he was stationed in Crete and had the best food! He loved the souvlaki, and I loved the stuffed grape vine leaves and moussaka. We make hummous and tzatziki at home, but other recipes seem more complicated.

I loved Crete and would like to return to the Greek islands again. The people were so nice, great scenery, weather nice. I think the driving was the only crazy part!

BeachMama said...

Maybe I am a little bit Greek? I love, love, love food too. That whole post just made me so hungry, I love Greek food and dream of one day being able to travel to Greece and experience it first hand.

SC said...

Great post Loukia!!! There are so many Greek plates I need to try!

I am am curious to what you think about Greek on Wheels - we really enjoy it, but miss it a lot since we aren't right in Ottawa anymore! Do you and your hubby eat it from time to time or would it be considered 'faux pas' to be Greek and eat take out from Greek on Wheels?!!!

Loukia said...

Sara, I have eaten Greek on Wheels before, and I like it! For real good sit-down Greek food try Theo's on Richmond Road! Mmm mmm! As for fast food Greek food, there is a Greek place at L'Esplanade that I go to all the time because they have great gyros and Greek salad! I also think Jimmy the Greek in the Rideau Centre food court is not bad!

2 Little Irish Boys said...

Yes, I am hungry. Love that your grandmother comes and cooks for you guys.
Wish I were close--would love to try some fantastic authentic Greek food!!

Chantal said...

YUP, now I am hungry!

Chantal said...

How about you give us the recipe for an authentic Greek Salad. I make one but I just wing it and I am sure I am doing it wrong.

Chelle said...

Yummm...I beyond craving Greek food now! :)

We used to live in Texas and there was the smallest Greek restaurant...delicious!! I remember the owner, his family, the food...yum!

I would love to go to Greece--it sounds so wonderful!

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said...

Great. I was hungry before I read this post. Now I am ravenous.

Santorini is my favorite too! I spent two weeks in Greece several years ago, and I long to go back to that island!! My in-laws are going to Greece this fall, and my first question was, "Are you going to Santorini?" They won't be able to make it there unfortunately.

Excuse me now. I must go find myself some tzatziki.

Rebecca said...

Food..me want Food...

awesome post ;)

Nap Warden said...

I grew up much the same way...(Italian Grandmother) She definitely expressed herself through food:P

Lady Mama said...

I LOVE Greek food. My mouth is watering reading all the foods you mentioned in this post. If you do ever make any of the recipes, please do share them with us :)

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Yep, that did make me hungry! What an amazing legacy for them to leave you!

Elaine A. said...

OH man it all sounds so good!! I love the marriage between certain cultures and food. So wonderful...

Mercy said...

Wish I could visit Greece just for the food. I'm part Italian and love that kind of food.

Amy said...

This sounds amazing!! A Mediterranean diet is supposed to be one of the very best after all.

It is so wonderful that your grandmother cooks for your family! My grandmothers were both gone before I had children and it would be so wonderful for them to have known each other. You are lucky.

Connie Weiss said...

Before I met my husband....I dated a 40 year old Greek man that lived with his parents. His mother fed me well and often and then would tell me that I needed to *make diet*. The Big Fat Greek Wedding came out during this time and it scared the sh!t out of me. I broke up with him so fast his mother's head was spinning!

I sure do miss the food and the coffee....

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Lindsay said...

Okay my mouth is watering! I love Greek food (and Italian food and Indian food, and Mexican food, really I love all food!!!) and try to make some myself. We had a greek family who owned a restaurant in town and we were really close with, they treated us like family. Oh how I loved eating with them. I wish we could get good Greek around here. I remember when I was pregnant and my dr told me no feta cheese, I was horrified. I survived that entire pregnancy, but when it came time to my second pregnancy I was crazing a big Greek salad and bad. I was in a local burger shop that had the best salad and I asked one of the guys who owned it about the no feta when pregnant thing. I knew there was no way a Greek pregnant woman was going to have no feta and he confirmed that for me! So that day I ordered a huge greek salad and enjoyed it like my last meal. Oh I think I am going to be needing you to share those recipes so I can cook, cook, cook! :-)

Drahdrah said...

What a great post. I'm also Greek, and you said it so well. Only think missing was the spanakopita :)

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