The Basics of Traditional Greek Cooking

Cooking with greek yogurt
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Traditional Greek cooking grew out of a rural lifestyle lived by people who were poor in the economic sense, but wealthy in imagination and creativity. A few basic guidelines ensure that Greek foods are at their very best in taste, nutrition, and economy.

Seasonal: Keep it Fresh:

Traditional Greek cooking fully celebrates the seasons. Fresh ingredients are part of every traditional Greek cook's life, and daily shopping trips are the norm.

Scratch: Start at the Beginning:

Traditional Greek dishes are made from scratch. Commercially-prepared ingredients are rarely used.

Simple: Fabulous Taste with Time-tested Methods:

The art of great Greek cooking is to keep it simple, celebrating the taste of fresh ingredients and fabulous combinations of herbs and spices, rather than covering them up. Grilling, baking, roasting, frying, and stewing are some of the favorite cooking methods used.

Slow: Don't Rush It:

In your vocabulary, "slow cooker" may mean a kitchen appliance but, when it comes to traditional Greek cooking, slow is the only way to cook. To speed things up, pressure cookers may be used, but they're used to reduce cooking times from 4 to 5 hours or longer to 1 to 2 hours... still slow by most definitions. When the food cooks slowly, tastes have time to meld, creating mouthwatering dishes that most Greeks easily identify with their mothers' and grandmothers' kitchens.

Cooking Outside Greece? Avoid Substitutes if Possible:

Many ingredients used in Greek cooking are readily available in world markets, but there are some that may be hard to find. If you're looking for the best authentic results from your efforts, make an extra effort to use ingredients called for in the recipes.