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Greek Food Lesson for Kids: Facts & History

Instructor: Angela Burke

Angela has over ten years of teaching experience in Special Education, classroom teaching and GT. She has a master's degree in Special Ed with an emphasis in Gifted.

Do you know what food is eaten in Greece more than anywhere else in the world? In this lesson, find out the history behind Greek food. Discover the unique dishes of classical Greek food.

Chef Hats

Have you ever wondered why chefs sometimes wear tall white hats? One explanation for this tradition came from Greece during the Middle Ages. Greek chefs in monasteries, or communities where monks lived, wore white hats when they made food. Regular monks wore black hats.

Greece is a country in the Balkan Peninsula, surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. It has over 1,400 islands and is mountainous. Today, people in Greece eat many of the same dishes that their ancestors did thousands of years ago. Let's discover more about Greek food.

Archestratus

Have you ever looked through a cookbook? Believe it or not, a Greek man named Archestratus is thought to have written one of the very first cookbooks over 2,000 years ago. Archestratus lived on the island of Sicily, which is right off the coast of Italy, in 350 BC.

He wrote a poem called Hedypatheia, which means the 'Pleasant Living'. The poem gave advice on which foods were best and worst to eat. Archestratus was strongly against putting cheese on fish. He believed that fish should be flavored simply.

Today, people in Greece still eat a lot of fish and seafood. Greece has a large coastline and a lot of water to fish. You can find all sorts of seafood dishes, including sardines, mussels, lobster, sea bass and kalamari, which is squid.

Fruit and Nuts

Did you know that an olive is a fruit? Olives are a main food staple in Greece. A food staple is a food that is regularly eaten and a main part of a group of people's diet. It is believed that the goddess Athena gave the Greeks their first olive tree. The ancient Greeks believed olives were good for a person's health.

Olives and Oil
olive

It is said that the best olive oil comes from Greece. Olive oil is a liquid fat made from pressing whole olives. Many people use olive oil as a salad dressing, while others use it for frying. People in Greece consume more olive oil than any other part of the world.

But olives aren't the only fruit growing in Greece. Thanks to the mild climate, oranges, pomegranates, figs, grapes, pears and cherries grow plentifully. Nuts, such as almonds, pine nuts and walnuts, are also used in both sweet and savory dishes. Dolmathakia (pronounced dol-mah-THAH-kya) is a traditional Greek dish in which grape leaves are stuffed with pine nuts, herbs and rice.

Greek Food Today

Many countries, including neighboring Turkey, India and Italy, have influenced Greek food. If you were lucky enough to go to Greece, or dine in a Greek restaurant in America, what would you order?

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