Friday, July 20, 2007

Summer time... Summer foods...

As another heat wave is set to fall across Athens, without the protection offered by the cooling forests, there is nothing more refreshing than eating out in Plaka, Glyfada by the sea... well actually anywhere outside, Athens has many places. Order an Ouzo or Tsipouro with ice, accompany that with some dishes like tomato-keftes, saganaki, fried zucchini, Baked peppers stuffed with rice, raisins and pine nuts, and of course a salad. How can you not order a greek salad?

Well maybe you should. Greek cuisine is actually very diverse and rich. Thessaly- central greece- cook with fruits, Islander cooking is influenced by other islands in the mediterranean and the Island of Astypalia make some delicious food flavoured with saffron which is picked locally from the cliff faces. And this is just a brief glimpse of the food offered, that could be another blog which could go on for ever! Unfortunately Greek food has been stereotyped to the Moussaka and the Greek Salad, so when tourists come here thats all they order, well for the most part if i can over-generalise.

Waiters will see locals as well as a few mainland Europeans who order two-three dishes including a salad. But many tourists will just order a Greek Salad, so its not uncommon to see in Plaka a table of tourists and in front of each of them is a Greek Salad. It is very healthy but it goes against the communal eating style that exists here in Greece where everyone picks of common plates. And as a result, restaraunts are becoming stingy when it comes to putting Feta in the salad, only putting in small pieces, or even worse - Feta which isn't Greek! (Sorry but having been raised on Feta from a small child, Feta from the Northern countries [you know who you are] which is made from cow milk and then coloured white just doesn't taste the same. The same way that Australian Rocquefort tastes different, and Tofu burgers taste different from beef.)

So next time, skip the Greek Salad, be adventourous, look what nearby tables are eating and point to what you want and have one of the many other salads which they serve at Taverna's, restaraunts etc... You will be pleasantly suprised, i assure you. This way you will also avoid the Salata X (the salad chi) which is served to tourists and tastes... well more on that later.

Greek newspaper Eleutheri Ora has as its headline today 'The only thing not burning is the sea'
This comes in light of recently released figures from the Fire Department which shows that from the period 1/07/2006 to 18/07/2006 there were 732 fires, this year for the same period that number has soared to 1567! More than double. The 11th of this month July saw 105 fires rage across Greece, compared to 32 from last year. Each election year see's a massive fire campaign which is deliberately set as builders quickly build on burnt land so that the government can legalise it to gain their support.

The Communist party is actually doing something, now after so many fires they have table 5 new laws. 5 new laws to waste everybodies time. 5 new laws which will never get passed. The problem isn't the laws, laws against arson, against illegal buildings, environment protection already exist here in Greece, and have existed for a long time now. The problem is enforcement, none of these laws are ever enforced. Instead of acting as a Public Watchdog and pointing out corruption and government ineptitude and doing something useful it instead resorts to empty meaningless gestures. My beef with them is that they should do something useful, if they are not part of the solution they are part of the problem.


Unknown said...

When I took a break this year in April and locked my self up in a hotel in Glyfada, it was every day Souflaki's and steaks with yoghurt-garlic sauce..))
No salada's for me..))

Unknown said...

and you are trying to survive Athens, I try the madness of Istanbul: the heat, traffic jams...
Its raining every day in the Netherlands, maybe I go there when a new heatwave reach Istanbul..))

Vassili - Mike said...

but i get the sneaky suspicion that you really like living in Istanbul, despite the madness :)

Unknown said...

My wife lives, altough I was shortly engaged to a Greece lady..))
Istanbul is interesting. I get more and more friends from Greece over, and they enjoy themselves here..))
Athens is nice, but boring, even more than Thessaloniki..))
Turkey went through turbulent times, and it looks now that they know where heading for...
Didnt was in Athens for 2 months, but sure, after the heatwave I plan a visit....
As a Dutch, having some friends who cross cultural marriages: Greeks with Turks, is interesting to watch..))
You survive Athens, I survive Istanbul..))

Unknown said...

Vassili, go to the Blogger tool bar,
look for lay out.
add there your links and you can give it a name...looks better than http etc.
You are in PR so do I..))
If you need advice, I am here and soon in Athens to help you.