Greek Fare

By: Amelia M. Mills

I grew up eating Greek food, from mouse cakes to soutzoukakia, but when I finally reached Greece, the food in Indianapolis could never compare to the wonderful dishes I had the privilege to enjoy.

To start off, one of my favorite foods in existence are olives. I prefer green ones to black olives, especially after this trip. In a small, open-air market that smelled of fresh-baked bread and spices laid one of many booths, completely made up of olive baskets. Each one probably weighed at least 30 pounds and held more than 1,000 olives inside of it. In America, the majority of olives are either canned or usually the same type (Kalamata) just packaged differently. In Greece, each family grows their own types of olives, and they are all different shapes, sizes, textures and tastes. There were olives fermented for long periods of time, resulting in a wrinkly yet softer texture and a much deeper and rich brine taste. Some are not, only staying in the salt and vinegar for a short time. This leads to a bitter, smaller, meatier taste that was definitely not my favorite. Some olives are seasoned (which were the best ones), some olives are stuffed, and most are delicious.

Other than olives, souvlaki is a staple. This is usually known as gyros and most go against the common misconception about the food. Instead of shredded lamb or veal, most gyros are made from pork cooked on an upward spit and seasoned to perfection. Each restaurant has their own special seasoning blend; however the build of the gyro is almost always the same. Fresh red onions, lightly diced tomato, house made tziskit sauce, hand-cut French fries, all laid on top of a homemade pita. It is absolutely amazing to eat; souvlaki is one of my favorite sandwiches and always will be.

Other than these famous examples of Greek food, everyone should try homemade yogurt, Greek coffee, stuffed tomatoes and peppers, and of course meatballs! Greek cuisine is vast, enriching and as diverse as the country. All of it was absolutely amazing, by far some of the strongest flavors all atop of handmade cuisine. If you haven’t already, send your taste buds on a magical journey and venture to your nearest Greek restaurant; and if you have the privilege, make sure you visit Greece to try something traditional too.