"Moussaka, pasticcio, Greek salad, and maybe youvetsi (baked lamb with orzo in tomato sauce) are the dishes most non-Greeks consider to be the epitome of Greek cooking. Yet most of these dishes have very little to do with traditional foods. They were developed, or drastically revised, by professional cooks and restaurant owners who were particularly interested in pleasing the Athenian upper class of the early 1900s. The cosmopolitan Greeks of Smyrna (Izmir today) and Alexandria, in Egypt, were brought up eating mainly French-inspired foods in these prosperous cities of the Mediterranean, and thus favored tamed, sweet-and-creamy combinations of traditional favorites like the eggplant casserole, dishes that also pleased the palates of European and American visitors."
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Fascinating history of Greek food
In the Atlantic food section, a very interesting historic view of Greek food and when it originated -- especially moussaka. I always thought that Greek food (at least as I experienced it in American restaurants) was closely related to Turkish food -- which I think is wonderful. But it has other influences as well, and according to this author, has been the subject of efforts to purify it of Turkish influences. Says the author: