Philosophy and food
Ever wonder what the ancient Greeks ate? Did you know that Latin America was discovered in an effort to find a shorter way to Asia to commerce spices? Ever thought when and how was the first bread made? Or the very first cooked meal? I did! Since a young age, I was curious about food’s history and origins and how recipes alter through the years. It is amazing that you can get to know a culture through their food habits and the truth of the saying “We are what we eat”.
Danai and food
But first, few things about me. My roots from my father’s side are from the Southern part of Greece, the Mani Peninsula and the ones from my mother’s side are from the northern part of Greece, the city of Serres.
Serres • 41.0909° N, 23.5413° E
My grandfather’s parents came to Greece in 1921 after the Asian Minor Catastrophe. By that time, his father lived in Constantinople, now known as Istanbul and his mother in Iconium. They met and got married in Serres where they had three sons, one of which is my grandfather.
My grandfather was a man of a good taste, he loved food and he had a strong opinion about it. Food had to be at the right temperature, well cooked and well served. At his time, he had the best patisserie in the town, known for its handmade sweets. Thus, it was the only patisserie that served warm ice cream!
Mani • 36.7722° N, 22.3815° E
After retirement, my grandfather moved to a village and he got into agriculture. Not for a living, just for a hobby. He wanted us to have access to bio products. While growing vegetables and fruits, along with my grandmother, they made all kind of handmade products like Greek traditional pasta, yoghurt and feta cheese. They also had a traditionally built furnace for all their baking.
Athens • 37.9838° N, 23.7275° E
My father is also a man of a good taste and my mother a one-of-the-kind cook! There was always a fresh home-made meal at home, apart from Thursday nights when we had souvlaki-night and Sunday noon when we went to tavernas.😊
So, food played an important role in the family I grew with. My childhood is full of smells and tastes. Christmas and Easter meals, tsoureki, bougatsa, breakfasts with sugared milk and kasseri and the cherries cut from the trees fill me with the best memories.
Most of all, I considered food as a part of our tradition. Every occasion or even season had its special menu. I only got to know about frozen vegetables and canned products when I got in University!
Consequently, cooking had me completely! Whenever I got some free time, I read recipes or watch cooking videos. I experiment daily in my kitchen and I already started my very own cookbook! In my kitchen, you can find anything you can imagine from cooking equipment to spices and products- I admit to being a marketing victim 😶. I also have a collection of local cooking equipment and recipe books from the places I visit, for which I am very proud!
Greece and food
Food is part of the Greek culture as well. Seems like the first Greek cookbook is dated back in 320 B.C. which is also the first cookbook in history! Greek cuisine was influenced by many other cultures but it never lost its Greek identity. Since the ancient time, the Greek cuisine was based on two fundamental ingredients, the olive oil and the wheat. In ancient Greece, the olive trees were sacred and protected. Athena, the goddess wisdom, gave to humanity the first olive tree as a symbol for peace, wisdom and well being. The olive wreath, also known as kotinos, was the prize for the winner at the ancient Olympic Games. Even philosophers studied the olive oil. Aristotle described how to grow an olive tree, Solon established rules for the tree’ s preservation and Plato taught under an olive tree’ s shadow.
In Athens, there is the Museum of Greek Gastronomy which aims to promote the Greek gastronomy and its historical and cultural value. Apart from that, Greece is considered to be a gastronomic paradise for the foodies. In every region of the country, you can find different local products and tastes and it is for granted that wherever you go you your stomach will not feel unsatisfied!
Where on Earth and food
I believe it is clear by now that I love anything that has to do with food, from its history and its creation to the tasting.
In the section of Where on Earth to eat you will find info about the local products, secrets of the local recipes, restaurants’ critiques and we will travel together to the tasteful side of the world. Our first project #WhereOnAsia will focus on the Asian food habits and how food has influenced their culture.
I hope you will enjoy our journey!