Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Eating Out: And the Ubiquitous Greek Salad

Eating Out: And the Ubiquitous Greek Salad

The Mediterranean Diet and Health

A Typical Lemnian Taverna

‘The heart-healthy Mediterranean is a healthy eating plan based on typical foods and recipes of Mediterranean-style cooking…Most healthy diets include fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, and limit unhealthy fats. While these parts of a healthy diet remain tried-and-true, subtle variations or differences in proportions of certain foods may make a difference in your risk of heart disease…The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the Mediterranean diet as an eating plan that can help promote health and prevent disease.’ ’ Says the Mayo Clinic

Recently scientists have also wondered if not only the heart but the brain might benefit from this diet. The brain needs a good blood flow to deliver vital nutrients and oxygen and take away waste products and omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, and vitamins B and D all have these protective effects. But so far trials have failed to show that a high-dose of supplements protect you from dementia, however, eating a tasty Mediterranean diet that combines most of these nutrients can’t hurt!

Plus all the Usual ingredients, with Mousaka


The typical Mediterranean diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating, vegetables and fish— plus a splash of flavourful olive oil and perhaps even a glass of red wine. Though, here on Lemnos, most have Lemnian white wine, beer or ouzo with a meal.

I no longer go to tavernas for an interesting meal as the menu is so predicable, I go for the ambiance and company. There will be a very long menu but most things are not being served that day, and you know that the best food they have (and similarly in all Greek tavernas) is the usual, saganaki, horta, fish or meat balls and Greek salad.  

With Lisa and Tony in Moudros









With the Grandchildren

The Ubiquitous Greek Salad

Ingredients - cucumber, tomatao, onion, a couple of olives and possibly cheese.

Always enjoyed, a Taverna meal

We recently went out for a farewell meal with our neighbours as we will soon be leaving for Australia. We have been coming to the island now for ten or more years and this year have been on the island for nearly seven months and so I knew what to expect and I had previously told Takis we could be sure of having saganaki, horta, fish or meat balls and Greek salad for lunch, but, nevertheless when we arrived we went through the usual polite procedures of asking what they had.

We also admired the taverna decoration of sea shells and hand made model boats (all made with hundreds of match sticks!) And then the men in our party made their usual jokes about the need to begin with ouzo and then finally we ordered, saganaki, horta, fish and meat balls and a Greek salad. But, though this was exactly what I’d predicted, we still had to make the decision of whether we would have the salad with or with out cheese on the top, a very big decision!

Yesista and Tomato Salad - with cheese

Sardines and Tomato Salad without cheese
Of course the others would have fish, and Takis asked his usual question, ‘Is it fresh?’ and the waiter replied in the usual fashion, ‘Of course!’ and then they turned to me. I’m the odd one out as I was brought up vegetarian and have only got used to eating some kinds of fish and mean.  ‘But what will Julia eat?’ ‘Definitely nothing with eyes!’ I replied. I still cannot bring myself to each sardines, heads and all. (Generally I can only eat fish cooked by Takis that is smothered in vegetables and does not taste too fishy.)

And soon out came the usual, saganaki (fried cheese) meat balls, horta (cooked greens beautifully young and fresh dandelion leaves at this time of the year) and Greek Salad – without cheese.  We ate with gusto. And then bag was called for and the left-overs, bread, fishbones, etc, and these were put in the bag for Panoyotis’ farm cats. The bread was even used to soak up any left over fishy oil so the plates where shiny clean and those cats were certainly going to be fed healthily, for the next day at least.

The End of the Meal

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