Archive | Greece RSS feed for this section

4 reasons why new food is awesome

3 Aug

1) New food is a hot commodity

You can’t get new food anywhere. I mean, c’mon, I’ve had a lot of food in my life. It’s not every day I can get my hands on something I’ve never tasted!

2) It’s exciting and mysterious

I love surprises. I love not knowing what something will taste like, or even what’s all in it. The thrill of experiencing the hustle and bustle of a new city is on par to tasting that city’s specialty dish (mmm!).

The meal on my flight to Japan might have been more mysterious than exciting…

3) You can more fully experience small details

Think of meeting a someone new. You say hello, shake hands, maybe ask a few general questions. Five minutes into your conversation, you’ve judged whether or not you like them. If you do, you talk longer and discover a smidgen of their past, their favorite places to hang out and other details that make them unique. Accordingly, when you spy a new food, you scope it out. Give it a cautious sniff and inspect its ingredients. Then you take a bite. If you like it, you eat more, and as you do, you experience its notes of flavor fully and form adjectives for certain characteristics of it in your mind. Granted, you might learn more about a food each time you eat it, but that first bite has your total attention, allowing you to fully enjoy the details.

4) It tells about a country’s identity

In nearly every culture, meals are a time for community. What get-together doesn’t have food in the mix? A lame one, believe you me. If you want to call up that friend you haven’t seen awhile, you ask her to meet you for coffee or at a deli. Why? Food lightens the mood. We’ve been trained to associate food with good feelings (aka, coffee and friendship). Since food is such an important part of everyones’ lives, the things a person eats tells you a bit about them.

I’m not sure what this snack says about me…

Why do you enjoy new food?


Getting Greek with baklava

30 Jul

The Parthenon. Turquoise coasts. Ancient ruins. Warm people. Flavorful food. Shout opaguys, because today we’re going to Greece!

Most of my Grecian culture awareness comes from My Big Fat Greek Wedding and that one Full House episode where DJ accidentally accepts a marriage proposal from her Greek cousin. According to television, Greece is fun and exciting, full of flavorful food and kind, albeit loud, people.

According to other sources, this view holds true to the real Greece, too. The closest I’ve been is Macedonia, which was similar to this description, although the countries kind of hate each other and that opinion might get me killed by a Greek/Macedonian sniper. If this happens, please bury me in coffee beans.

Until I actually visit, Greece will remain in my mind as happy and colorful and boisterous and…old. Since I live in a relatively new country, I’m easily amazed at the age and history of other countries. Before Greece adopted the Euro in 2002, its currency, the drachma, was 2,650 years old – Europe’s oldest currency! People were using drachmas thousands of years ago! The US dollar is about 300 years old, but it seems like a wee babe in comparison.

Greece is still on my to-go list, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had the opportunity to try its distinctive food. Greek restaurants seem to always offer baklava, and I kind of have to eat it. It’s so cheap! And every baklava is unique, which makes each bite an adventure. I’ll admit, it’s not always great. Baklava, especially when it’s been sitting around, has a tendency to get mushy. Thus, naturally I had to make my own in order to try it totally fresh!

Today is the second time I’ve made baklava, and I’m pleased with both turnouts. It tastes and looks totally legit (okay, my uninformed idea of legit). It’s also pretty easy, although some layering is required (at first I felt like I was making burek again!).

Sometimes, you just got to have baklava. Or, I do. I even broke my “only make fruity desserts in summer” rule for it. So next time your Greek tooth acts up and the cafe is out of baklava, consider making it yourself! I promise it will be an adventure. If you make it one. And you’re awesome like me.

Until next time, opa, ya’ll!