Food is the essence of life for a Greek, and for generations the ritual of cooking the main family meal has been that of the woman of the household. She will begin preparing an elaborate, complicated meal often from the morning, so that it is ready when the man and the children return home from work and school. Breakfast usually consists of a strong Greek coffee (Ελληνικό) and a bread ring (Κουλούρι) and is of no particular importance. The main meal of the day is an important family event; it is where the family members (and often friends) converse around the table and communicate – most socialising is based upon eating and drinking. The main meal is often eaten late afternoon, although this depends on the season (during the summer, it will be earlier) and is traditionally followed by a one to two hour nap, after which the man will often return to work for some hours. This concerns the working hours of Greece in general, although there are exceptions as always, depending again on the season or the type of work as well as whether the family lives in a major city or small village. Of course, this is just a very basic introduction as to what the food culture in Greece consists of, albeit necessary in order to progress into the more specific areas. It is safe to say, however, that the Greek food culture is one engrained through centuries of tradition, which have kept a steadfast hold of families despite our entry into the ‘modern age’.
I will now explain the most popular types of foods for the Greeks and the recipes in which they can be found. Generally, the basic ingredients of Greek cuisine are not many, but each is used in a variety of ways to make very different dishes. As has already been stated, the main meal of the day is the most important. It is elaborate and usually consists of a main meat dish, along with other smaller side dishes and often some form of dip. Lamb is very popular in villages and other such rural areas,