Thursday, July 8, 2021

INTERNATIONAL: GREECE - Part 1 - Introduction

The Greek language belongs to the Hellenic branch of the Indo-European language family, and is spoken by about 13 million people mainly in Greece and Cyprus, where it is an official language. 

There are 14,000,000 to 17,000,000 Greeks in the word in 32 countries. 

Greek Americans are Americans of full or partial Greek ancestry. Over 2.5 million Americans are of Greek descent. 350,000 people older than five spoke Greek at home in 2010. (citizenship and/or nationality question removed from the census after 2010)

Greek is also recognized as a minority language in parts of Italy (Grikos section in southern Italy including Apulia aka Puglia and Calabria) and in Albania, Armenia, Romania and Ukraine. 

The Greek culture and cuisine has had a large impact on cuisines all over the world.  A few examples below. 


Greek Easter Bread Tsoureki

Greek wedding candies or καραμέλες γάμο
or karaméles gámo

In Albania focaccia and pitta (pita, piti) breads are popular in the region with Greek and Arabic flatbread influences. 

Gjethet e mbushur rrushit
(Albanian stuffed grape leaves)

similar to Greek dolmas (stuffed grape leaves).

Similarly, special pastries and dessert breads take on a Greek flavor with many being fried and dipped in honey like bakllava in Albania. 

Called baklava in Greece.

In Armenia they serve phyllo dough pastries called byorek (բյորեկ) or borek (բորեկ), consists of dough, or phyllo dough, folded into triangles and stuffed with cheese, spinach or ground beef, and the filling is typically spiced. A popular combination is spinach, feta, cottage cheese (or pot cheese) and a splash of anise-flavoured liquor (such as raki)

which is similar to Greek bouréki, bourekáki, bougatsa, etc. 

Armenian and Greek stuffed peppers or 
κρέας γεμιστές πιπεριές or kréas gemistés piperiés

In Romania they also serve dolmas (Greek)

 and call them sarmalute:

Also popular in Romania (rissoles) (meatballs)

and Greece (keftedes) (meatballs)

In the Ukraine they serve beet soup or borsch

and in Greece they serve beet soup or borscht

Another soup that the Ukraine serves 
is sun or tomato soupd

and in Greece it is called σούπα or soúpa

In its modern form, the Greek language is the official language in two countries, Greece and Cyprus, a recognized minority language in seven other countries, and is one of the 24 official languages of the European Union. The language is spoken by at least 13 million people today in Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Albania, Turkey, and the Greek diaspora (the countries where Greeks moved and settled:  (Russia, France, India, United States, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Argentina, Brazil, Lebanon, Syria, Ukraine, Poland, Canada, Austrailia, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Egypt). 

Following is a brief summary of Greek foods:

SAUCES: Egg and lemon, white, tomato, olive oil and lemon, olive oil and vinegar, mayonnaise and garlic sauce.

SOUPS:  Kakavia (fish soup) introduced to Marseille, France by Greek travelers (and the French renamed it bouillabaisse!) and avgolemono soupa (fish stock with lemon and eggs). 

MAIN MEAT, POULTRY & FISH DISHES:  Beef Stefatho (beef braised with onions & herbs), Chicken Oregano (baked chicken marinated in butter, lemon & oregano), Souvlakia ((lamb shish kebab), Fish Plaki (fished baked with tomatoes, onions & seasonings) and Souzoukaia (meatballs).

PIES AND PASTA DISHES:  Tiropites (cheese pies), Spanakopita (spinach pie) and pastitsio (meat, macaroni & béchamel sauce).

RICE DISHES:  Dolmathes (grape leaves) and rice pilaf.

VEGETABLE DISHES:  Green beans with zucchini yahni (yahni is browned onions/tomatoes in olive oil), Moussaka (eggplant casserole) and Greek salad (lemon-oregano dressing served with vegetables, feta cheese and kalamata olives).

DESSERTS:  Baklava (honey-nut pastry), Diples (honey ripples), Galatoboureko (custard & honey filo dough), Kataife (nuts, shredded dough, honey), Karithopeta (walnut cakes with honey), Kourambiethes (Greek butter cookies with powdered sugar), Loukomades (honey puffs with syrup, cinnamon, walnuts) and Pasta Flora (baked short cake with apricot filling).

DRINKS:  Turkish coffee, tea, water, soft drinks, beer, Ouzo (anise flavored) , wine, Metaxa (brandy), Retsina (pine flavored) and Tsipouro (clear spicy hot liquid).

See following posts for recipes!

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