Kimber ly Gasuras


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Copyright © 2023 by Mason Crest, an imprint of National Highlights, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America First printing 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Series ISBN: 978-1-4222-4675-7 Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4222-4678-8 ebook ISBN: 978-1-4222-7137-7 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Gasuras, Kimberly, author. Title: Greek / Kimberly Gasuras. Description: Hollywood, FL : Mason Crest, 2023. | Series: Customs, culture & cuisine | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2022002792 | ISBN 9781422246788 (hardback) | ISBN 9781422271377 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Food habits—Greece—Juvenile literature. | Cooking, Greek—Juvenile literature. | Greece—Social life and customs—Juvenile literature. Classification: LCC GT2853.G8 G38 2023 | DDC 394.1/209495—dc23/eng/20220120

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K E Y I C O N S T O L O O K F O R : Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Examples include news coverage, moments in history, speeches, iconic sports moments, and much more! Glossary of Key Terms: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout this book. Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field. Research Project: Readers are pointed toward an area of further inquiry that relates to each book and encourages deeper research and analysis. Introduction:............................................................ 6 Chapter 1: Attica, Athens & the Islands...................... 9 Chapter 2: The Peloponnese................................... 23 Chapter 3: Northern Greece.................................... 37 Chapter 4: Central & Western Greece....................... 49 Chapter 5: Greek Food in America. .......................... 63 Research Project. ................................................... 74 Glossary of Key Terms. ............................................ 75 Further Reading. ..................................................... 76 Internet Resources.................................................. 77 Index. .................................................................... 78 Author’s Biography & Credits................................... 80 CONTENTS

Greece is a beautiful, historic country that many people fall in love with when they visit. From the capital city of Athens to the rolling hills of small villages throughout the countryside, Greece offers diverse geography, plenty of culture, and a history that dates back to ancient times. It has a population of nearly 11 million people, and the dominant language is Greek. Many of the latest generations of Greek people also speak English since it is taught in most schools as a second language. There are three different dialects within the Greek language, including Northern, Southern, and Propontis, although ancient Greek had several dialects. Overall, Greek cuisine can be associated with the popular Mediterranean diet along with some of the main characteristics of European and Middle Eastern cuisines. Greek cuisine is not only delicious but very healthy as well. It is based on the same types of food that the ancient Greeks consumed, including honey, olives and olive oil, feta cheese, Greek yogurt, legumes, wine, and barley bread. From ancient times until today, bread has been served with every meal. There are five main regions of Greece. Although the cuisine is similar throughout the country, there are differences.  Attica Region: This region includes Athens, the capital of Greece and the largest city in the country, along with islands such as Kythira and Angistri. It has Greece’s most diverse mixture of traditional dishes and street foods.  The Peloponnese: The Peloponnese region is located in the southern part of Greece and has beautiful mountain ranges. There are plenty of flatlands that are very fertile and make an excellent environment for growing produce and olives.  Northern Greece: If you like some heat when you eat, this is the region to be in. The North includes Macedonia, Epirus, INTRODUCTION



and Thessaly. There is plenty of grilled fish fresh from the Aegean Sea, along with a variety of grapes and wine.  Central and Western Greece: This area features the Ionian Islands, and of course, there are an abundance of different types of fish to eat. Also featured are spicy pies and sausage, as well as smooth cheeses. For generations, the Greeks have known that eating fresh, simply prepared, and predominantly plant-based food is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. They love to enjoy their meals with local wine, but most of all, to share them with family and friends.




INGREDIENTS: lamb, beef, pork,

chicken, honey, butter, olive oil, feta cheese, and olives

Not only is Athens the historical capital of Greece, but it is also the main city in the Attica region. The city has a population of around 660,000 people and is situated at the base of the old ruins of the Acropolis and the Parthenon. It is about five miles from the Bay of Phaleron, an inlet of the Aegean Sea with a large, active port called Piraeus that sees a constant stream of ships and fishing boats. Athens is touted as the birthplace of Western civilization. The modern Greek pronunciation of Athens is Athínai , while the ancient Greek is Athēnai . Many of the artistic and intellectual ideas that we still embrace today originated in Athens. The city has plenty of tall buildings along with small shops and cafés. Greek music fills the streets while many people enjoy their food at outdoor restaurants. The average temperature in Greece is around 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius), and there is rarely snowfall or even dew. It can get down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) in Athens, although it rarely does, and the high temperature is usually around 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). The dryer climate and warm temperatures lend themselves to many outdoor activities, including outdoor dining and shopping. Attica, Athens & the Islands CHAPTER


The historical city of Athens is the longtime capital of Greece.

Since the city offers plenty of bakeries, many people prefer to buy loaves of fresh bread each day to serve with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ancient Greek Culture In ancient Greece, the two main cities were Athens and Sparta. The cities were once rivals and entered into the Peloponnesian Wars (431 to 405 BCE). At other times throughout ancient Greek history, they joined together to fight against invaders of Greece. There were about 100 cities and states throughout the region at that time.



The people of Athens were always more focused on the arts, learning and discovering new things. The second-oldest toy in the world was created in ancient Greece. It is now known as the yo-yo. It is only second to baby dolls. Ancient Greek culture also heavily influenced the Romans, who copied many things from the Greeks, including its mini gods and goddesses, Greek architecture, many aspects of the Greek language, and even how Greek people reclined when they ate. The Olympic Games first began in Athens, and the eternal Olympic flame is still located there in the original Colosseum, where the games were first played. Even the word “marathon” originated in

Ancient Greek architecture was often copied by other ancient civilizations, such as the Romans.

Chapter 1: Attica, Athens & the Islands


Athens when a Greek hero named Pheidippides ran 25 miles (40.23 kilometers) from Marathon to Athens to deliver the news that the war against Persia was over and that the Greeks were victorious. He then keeled over and died. The founders of the modern Olympic Games named the race in honor of this mythic hero. The Role of Food The Greek people use mealtimes for socializing and tend to put lots of different dishes on the table at once. From dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves) covered in egg-lemon sauce to delicious baklava

The far-flung scattering of islands that make up the Aegean regions of Greece have their own strong culinary traditions. Scan here for a look at several dishes found in the islands of the Dodecanese archipelago, some 310 miles (500 kilometers) from the mainland in the Southern Aegean region just off the coast of Turkey.



(phyllo pastry with nuts and honey) and the eggplant-based dish moussaka, people enjoy eating and are never in a rush to be finished with their meal. The main staples of the cuisine in the Athens area include street foods, such as shaved meats, souvlaki , plenty of vegetables and fruits, as well as olives, spices, herbs, feta cheese, and Greek salads. Since bread is a staple at every meal, many Greek people enjoy dipping it in olive oil or tzatziki sauce, which is a mixture of Greek yogurt, cucumbers, spices, and sour cream. The shaved meat is made of lamb or a combination of lamb and beef and is served with a side of sauce. The meat is cooked on a rotisserie then shaved off the roll. It is often served in a gyro , which means it is wrapped in pita bread with tzatziki

Souvlaki is the simplest of Greek favorites—just meat grilled on a skewer.

Chapter 1: Attica, Athens & the Islands


sauce and piled high with onions, tomatoes, and lettuce. Souvlaki is cooked pieces of pork that are served as a kabob on a stick. One thing to know and understand about Greek culture is that, from ancient times to today, Greek people love to eat and are offended if they offer you food when you visit their home, and you refuse. They consider cooking and preparing food as an act of love and kindness as well as generosity. They view eating the food as a social event and are very relaxed, especially at dinner time, due to their daily siesta. Since the climate in Greece is hot most of the year, all businesses and schools close down for a couple of hours around 2 p.m. every afternoon for people to take a nap and stay out of the sweltering conditions outdoors. Most of the houses in Athens are built upward because of the lack of space since it is a large

and growing city. Marble is a commonly used building material since it is cooler during hot weather. Many families have a business on the first floor and build their


When Greek people celebrate birthdays, they usually have a cream-style cake rather than one made with eggs and flour. They do have traditional candles on top, but the taste of the birthday cake is very different from American-style birthday cakes. Greek people also have a “name day” since Greek names are derived from religious saints. A name day is celebrated even more than a birthday, and many name days fall on a holiday. For example, a person named Christopher or any version of the name Christos, including Christina, will celebrate their birthday on Christmas Day. There is always a special feast for name days along with plenty of sweets, including cake and baklava .



Marble has been a popular building material in Greece for centuries.

apartment above it. When their first daughter is married, they will then build a home for her and her husband above their home. Holidays and Food A variety of Greek foods are served at every holiday in the Attica region, and some of them have special meanings. For example, the Greek people’s celebration of Easter includes many customs that are observed in Greek homes regarding various foods and their preparations. On Palm Sunday, only fish is served, and this meal kicks off the beginning of fasting for Holy Week when all foods that come

Chapter 1: Attica, Athens & the Islands


from any living being are eliminated from the diet. This includes meats, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, and fish. Some older Greek people still eliminate olive oil as well. The Orthodox Christian Church calculates the day Easter should be celebrated a little differently from other Christian denominations since the Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar. This is the same calendar that was officially implemented by Julius Caesar, an emperor of ancient Rome. It is believed to have been used between 45 BCE and 1582 CE. Other Christian denominations switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, but the Orthodox Church did not, hence the reason Easter usually falls on different Sundays. Blood Red The Greek people do not dye Easter eggs in several colors as other cultures do. Their custom is to only dye them in a deep blood-red color, which signifies the blood of Christ. They are dyed as a good luck token for the home they are being dyed in, and that can only take place on Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday. Any other day of the week, particularly Good Friday, is considered bad luck. Good Friday is chosen as the only day the Easter loaves of bread can be baked. These thick, round loaves include a bright red egg that is stuck in the dough and is also considered good luck. Both at home and in Greek bakeries in Athens and the Attica region, tiny loaves of bread with one egg are made for the children of the family. Crisp donut-shaped cookies, called koulourakia , are one of the favorites of the Greeks and are served to callers during Holy Week. Dry, crisp cakes covered with powdered sugar, known as kourambiedes , are also served at Easter time, especially if there is a male member of the family whose name day is celebrated on Easter. These would apply to those names derived from Anastasia, meaning the resurrection. Resurrection services are held at midnight at the Greek Orthodox Church on Easter Sunday before each family returns home to eat a special soup called magiritsa , which is made from the liver,



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