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Cretan Tradition

The daily diet of Cretans

The Cretan cuisine has a variety of foods of plant and animal origin. These foods were daily at his table Crete during the previous centuries. The hard life of the inhabitants and the continued enslavement did not  create the conditions for economic comfort and luxury choices. Woman most of the time were in the kithcen . But there are few cases that we meet experienced (older now) Cook in the Cretan countryside. These people know very well the art of cooking but did not had the means to apply it on a daily basis. Traditional recipes were rescued and survived just because of the rich Cretan tradition.

Most of the complex foods were associated with certain seasons of the year and especially during holidays. This tradition was so strong that even today some dishes are matching   with respective celebrations, as throughout Greece with ofto Easter lamb. In short that was very important for the role of the Orthodox tradition in the development of dietary habits of the Cretans. The long periods of fasting (and prohibiting eating meat) applied almost in reverence to the island until the mid 20th century, and even today there are few cases of families who apply traditional fasts of the Orthodox faith.

If we attempt an itemized list of dietary habits of the Cretans, we  will see the variety of products and dishes that were eaten in earlier times but also the simplicity of the food of the rural population.

Each day was started with a pretty hearty breakfast. The breakfast was consisted of peasant bread, olives, cheese, less often eggs and also food from the previous day or from the food that they had already been prepared for the lunch table. In cities, breakfast was even richer while the urban population consume smaller amounts of food in the morning.

Many older people told us during this research that even in the morning they drink a glass of red wine. At Mylopotamo and to several  village the older ones told us that they remember the Cretans to have rusks and wine every morning, before the starting of everyday life. It is not unusual to have survived such habits in Crete in the 19th century.

This island has a protection not only for the ancient ways for the preparing of many dishes, but they still have their names. Words such as snails and  hondros remains for thousands of years in this place ...

The meals usually contain fruits, bread, olives and sometimes a glass of red wine. The main meal was usually simple. The family ate lunch in the field, olive grove or vineyard. So at these days the meal should consists from foods that are easily transported. The "marenta" was the evening meal, but the Cretans believed it was rather unnecessary. And finally, dinner. It was lighter and more frugal. Milk and pasta used often for dinner. Maggira, porridge, makarounes skioufichtes, and thick noodles were most evenings in the Cretan table.

The daily diet of Cretans dependent on local production, the products of each season,the local habits, and the dictates of the Orthodox Church.


knitting baskets







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