Originally Posted by NatKat
Wow ... To everyone who worries about what my granny ate back in the day ... Our family
is GREEK. They ate traditional greek island diet. Goat milk cheese & yogurt , fish
, octopus, eggs & chicken, and whatever veggies they grew. I assume tomato & cucumber amongst others. European people have traditional diets they ate for many hundreds of years. Hence the hard swiss cheeses like gruyere which need no refer. Ya ya probably also bought things like flour, lentils, sugar.
I have spent several years in Greece
, predominantly anchored off small underpopulated islands that have escaped tourism. Living off the land here is still the done thing. Beans and lentils are bought from sacks in any grocery and feature heavily, goat and lamb are kept for festivities and chooks mainly used for eggs. Not a scrap of land or water
is wasted on lawn.
Olive oil and red wine play a huge role in the diet of these Greeks. Almost every family
has olive trees or relatives with olive trees
. 'Lathera' are very common dishes - vegetables such as aubergines and zucchini are baked in oil, often with the addition of tomato and garlic. Winter sees whole families involved in harvesting olives (kids and grannies delegated to finding escapees beyond the nets on the ground).
Almost each family has homemade red wine too, along with the olive oil (quality is very variable LOL) and this has been the case for millenia.
Aubergines, zucchini, onions, garlic, citrus fruit, figs, pomegranates, grapes, melons, almonds, capers, chillies and thyme honey are common. Apples and peaches and apricots and nectarines too if water is easily accessible. Wild herbs that are extremely high in antioxidants such as thyme, oregano, rosemary and sage are used liberally.
Apart from the red wine, 'Mountain' or 'Shepherds' tea is the drink of choice, steeped from the plant Sideritis, along with Sage tea, both served with a teaspoon of honey and recognised as highly beneficial to health
. Coffee (made in the Turkish style) is a relative newcomer
and still often a "luxury" item. Greeks have developed the art of making a tiny espresso sized cup last for hours.
The rich dishes like pastitsio and moussaka up until recently have been 'special occasion' food
. The ubiquitous chips served with every meal in tavernas have been adopted for the tourist palette and are now creeping into family diets as well, along with souvlaki and gyros. Obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure are now becoming relatively common for the first time (and not simply due to lack of diagnosis previously).
It has been fascinating observing this. With absorbtion into the EU and relatively new 'wealth' in the last few decades (bringing with it massive changes in diet), I suspect I am seeing the last generation to almost exclusively live off the land in Greece.
Staying on topic , none of the 'old' diet required the use of any refrigeration. As cruisers we could benefit taking a 'leaf out of their book' when it comes to this, as well as adopting the Greek philosophy that happiness is very simple and easily within reach. It just needs "a glass of wine and the sound of the sea" .
Of interest to me, in a recently abandoned hillside town dating back to the middle ages, a few days ago I came across a dozen olive grinding stones like this (only an Aussie was mad enough to climb and explore the area under the hot August sun so I had the place to myself
). The olives would have been crushed using a donkey tied to the stone and lead around and around. An age old technique: