The cooking traditions of Greek date back thousands of years. Greek food and cuisines are known as some of the best food and cuisines in the world. Both Eastern and Western cultures have greatly influenced Greek recipes. In the present century, Greek food and cuisines are used throughout Europe and beyond.
Fresh vegetables, fishes, and seafood play a significant role in Greek food and cuisines as Greece is surrounded by sea, so it is commonly thought that fish would be the number one dish in Greece. But in reality, the typical Greek recipes are a perfect mix of meat, vegetables, and cheeses to which fish is added on the islands.
Revolution of Greek Cuisine and Their Recipes
Traditions from both East and West have influenced Greek recipes. With each successive invasion & settlement, there came some culinary influences from the Romans, Venetians, Balkans, Turks, Slavs, and English. That is why many Greek foods & cuisines have names with origins in those cultures, most notably the Ottoman Empire.
Greece was a very powerful military force in the Mediterranean from 900 B.C. to 158 B.C., having bases and colonies on the coast of Asia Minor, Cyprus, Egypt, Italy, France, India, etc.
Typical Greek recipes for foods such as olives, cheeses, figs, oils, wheat, barley, wine, and honey were introduced along with Greek cuisines. Similar Greek recipes having the same name can be found in all of these countries.
Greeks also knew how to bake over twenty kinds of bread, from pancakes to sourdough, and any sweet cakes by the 5th century B.C. Like today, the cakes were decorated and given as the prize to the winners and used on special occasions.
In ancients’ times, the Persians initiated Middle Eastern foods, such as yogurt, rice, and sweets made from nuts, honey, and sesame seeds. When Alexander the Great extended the Greek Empire’s reach from Europe to India in 350 B.C. Northern and Eastern influences were absorbed into the recipes of Greek food and cuisine.
When Rome invaded Greece in 146 B.C., they brought foods and cuisines typical in Italy, including pasta and sauces with them. Greek recipes were greatly influenced due to the invasion of the Romans.
Emperor Constantine shifted the capital of Roman Empire to Constantinople, founding the Byzantine Empire in 330 A.D. In 1453 the Turks took over the control, and it remained a part of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 400 years. During that time, dishes were known by the Turkish names, and these names remain in Greek classics.
Dishes like tzatziki, hummus, and dolmades can be found in kitchens from Armenia to Egypt. These amazing dishes have also found a home in Greek recipes & been adapted over thousands of years to the local tastes and traditions.
Even today, Greeks eat some of the same dishes that their ancestors did in ancient times. One of the dishes is dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), and also most of the fruits, vegetables, and grain products are the same as that of ancient times.