My narrow-mindedness towards certain Greek dishes stems back to my childhood as they were not a part of our family meals when I was a child. Therefore I did not get the chance to know or like these dishes. It is amazing how much your parents can influence you over what foods you do or do not eat. Of course, their influence does not stop with only foods. I am proud to say that I have surpassed both my parents in tasting all sort of foods that they would never dream of trying, however bizarre or common place they may be! Some foods I have only just recently tried and begun to like. For example my mother’s Lentil Soup — something in the past I refused to try. There are still a few Greek dishes remaining for me to try and hopefully start to like in the future! The following are a list of the ones I have not eaten for most of my life!
Tzatziki is one of the favourite Greek dips during the summer season yet for some reason even though I like all the ingredients individually. It is made with yogurt, cucumber and garlic. When you add them all together I find the taste totally foreign to my taste buds and maybe it has to do with the fact that I normally eat yogurt with something sweet and to have it as a savoury dish puts me off. To be honest I have tried it once and I sort of liked it but not so much to try it again! The main reason for my dislike of this dish is that my mother never introduced tzatziki to me thus I never grew up to like it. I was more a taramasalata person so when the dips come to the table I would feast on the ‘pink stuff’ and forgo the ‘white stuff’!
2. Russian Salad
Like the name might imply, it is made from potatoes, vegetables and mayonnaise. I have not tried it because I don’t like mayonnaise and there is lots of mayo in it. In hindsight, I may have done myself a world of good as mayonnaise is not the most healthiest of things to eat! Of course, if you like it, like most people seem to do, the dish is fit for a Tsar!
3. Stuffed Tomatoes
Once again, I love tomatoes in every form hot or cold but I have never tried to eat them stuffed and I simple eat the Stuffed Pepper which normally was in the pan along with the Stuffed Tomatoes. My sister and mother don’t eat them either so the pan would be filled with stuffed Peppers and in the corner would be 1 or 2 Stuffed Tomatoes for my father who would be the only person to eat them.
4. Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmades)
One of the classic Greek dishes where we use grape leaves to wrap food, dates back to the days of Alexander the Great. This is another dish that has escaped my taste buds! Stuffed with rice, pine nuts and herbs this simple dish which slightly resembles the rolling of cigars (only that you roll them on the table rather than your thighs), is loved by most tourist visiting Greece. There is no real reason why I have not tried them and I’m sure if I did I would not dislike them but…yet, again they were never on our family table so no one of my family likes them.
I have included this dish in the list even though I now do eat Spanakopita (Spinach Pie) but I have only started to eat it a few years ago. Once again, since there would be Cheese pies on the family table along with the Spinach pies and I would of course always have the Cheese pies –which I still love! My love for this dish came after I tried a Monemvasia pancake-thin pastry called Saïtiá which is unbelievably delicious, prepared with handmade Phylo dough and filled with fresh spinach (or wild greens), leeks, and feta cheese. Now, I can’t get enough of my mothers Spinach Pie! There are many variations of a Phylo stuffed pastry throughout all of the regions of Greece and sometimes even between neighboring villages. But now, I try them all!
What are some of the Greek dishes you have not tried? Yet?