Wednesday, 6 February 2019

The Thing is, What Do You Wash it Down With?

On Feb 1st, on my Facebook "Published Works" page, I posted a photo of my wife's superb Briam, just before I made it disappear. Fortunately, she'd made enough for me to do the same trick the following day too.

Here's the photo, in case you haven't seen it...

I was asked by one or two people to share the recipe. Now, here's the thing, I can do that, but you have to remember, the recipe you're about to see on the page I've photographed below is only half the story. Firstly, though, here it is...

You'll need to click for a larger view to read it all.
The page is from an excellent book which she often consults. It's called "The Complete Book of Greek Cooking" and it's written by Rena Salaman and Jan Cutler. It's also wonderfully illustrated throughout with excellent photographs, as you can see from the page above. Here's the cover...

Now, although my better half does consult this and other books, it's also a fact that she knows how to cook a lot of traditional Greek food as a result of her Greek heritage. But it never does any harm to have a peep at books like this too, does it? Which brings me to my comment about recipes like this one being only half the story. When you look at the ingredients, they're not really a fixed thing. They depend on the season. For example there is no mention in the recipe in the book of carrots or aubergines (eggplant, guys). If you look closely at the photo of the dish that I demolished, you'll see broccoli in there too. So the thing about briam is, you chuck in whatever you have in the larder.

If you make it right, though, which my beloved certainly does, you'd have to go a long way to find a nicer-tasting dish, ideal for winter evenings when it's cold and rainy outside, and the log-burner is blazing indoors.

That brings me neatly to the reason I named this post "The Thing is, What Do You Wash it Down With?" If you've ever been invited to a meal in the home of a Greek family, you cannot fail to have noticed that very often, taking pride of place on the table along with the food, is a bottle or two of regular Coca Cola. I mean, c'mon chaps! But it's true I tell you. We get invited to various friends' homes quite often during the winter months, and there are often ten people around the table. Yet, where you or I would have a bottle or two of Retsina, or perhaps a nice chilled white or full-bodied red, your average Greek household will think you can't enjoy a nice meal without washing it down with that brown, fizzy stuff that's full of sugar and cleans old coins brilliantly.

It's happened so often that we've come to realise that they must really believe all the hype that they used to pump out about Coke back in the days before advertising standards made them stop it. The bloke who's credited with inventing it (although he borrowed from a few other drinks in the process), used to claim that it was a cure for many diseases, including morphine addiction, indigestion, nerve disorders, headaches, and even impotence!! Apparently, a typical can of the stuff contains 38 grams of sugar, so goodness only knows how much is in a bottle.

Ah, well, there you go I suppose. When you live in a country where the home cooking is indescribably healthy, wholesome and tasty, I suppose one can forgive them a weakness for fizzy caffeine-charged fluid that's better used to clean your loo (in my opinion). Still, all the more reason to take a bottle along with you when you get the next invite. 

Not that bottle!!! I mean a glass one, preferably with a cork.

And finally, a couple of photos I took the other day. We've actually been enjoying a few more typical winter days of late, with bright sunshine and temperatures around 18ºC. T-shirt weather, in fact. The rains have certainly made the countryside look beautiful though, don't you think?

1 comment:

  1. I must admit briam is one of my favourites - and after a couple of days if there is still some left it makes a delicious soup!