Oh, dear. Tomorrow
I leave for Nepal tomorrow. I was freaking out a bit yesterday, but I went back and looked at some pictures from my trip to Everest Base Camp back in 2011 to remind myself what I was heading towards and got a sense of calm. My work will get done, my suitcase neatly packed and my house left in some sense of clean. It will get done, it always will.
Despite my lack of prose, I have actually been cooking. I promise. The good thing about not having time to write it all out for you in a timely manner is that you’ll get snippets here and there while I’m gone for the next 17 days. Forget me not.
I have one sweet treat to round out The Middle East, but first I thought I’d introduce you to Greece.
While a lot of Greek food overlaps with that of the Middle East, some of it is very distinctly Greek. It’s evident as you move from East to West that the dishes are light: more seafood and veggies, and less lentils and meat (though these still make an appearance). All good things as the days go from short to long, and the temps from hot to cold.
I went to Athens back in…2005? Very long ago. So long ago that I don’t have a digital picture to share with you from that trip. I was a mere college sophomore and not all that traveled. I remember that Athens seemed dirty. I remember that I had sun poisoning from Italy had to wear long sleeves, which was horrible because it was ungodly hot in July. I remember the Acropolis and the Parthenon, and how I got mistaken for a local while trying to buy a vase, thanks to my olive complexion. And I remember the first dish I ate there- it was some sort of squid thing that I didn’t care for at all.
Since then, I’ve come to appreciate Greek food and Chicago has some amazing samplings. If you happen to be in town for a visit, just stroll down Halsted Street in Greektown and I’m pretty sure you can’t wrong any way you choose to wander. In fact, a restaurant that Tina Fey says has the best chicken in town is actually Greek and is a less-than-ten-minute walk away from my front door.
Greek food is very heavily influenced by the seasons and geography. The Mediterranean climate lends itself to a heavy population of olive trees, and thus the hint of olive oil is present in most dishes, even desserts. Other prominent flavors are namely oregano, mint, garlic, onion, dill and bay and, given its proximity to all those lovely Middle Eastern flavors, cinnamon, honey and nuts. Being as coastal as it is, seafood often trumps meat, and it’s easy to see why the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world. Even with all the cheese.
It was sort of hard to pick favorites, but since I’m a bit limited on time this week, we’re keeping it simple
Spanakopita Chicken Burgers