18 Jul Greek Staycation | How to be Greek for a day
You might not have your sights set on a Mediterranean getaway right now, but a Greek staycation is always within reach! Grab some bites for a mezze platter, pop open a bottle of wine, and have a very Greek day. Or two.
Rise and shine.
Greeks are not that big on breakfast. But this is the Chelfdom, and we are. Greeks love their pies, cheese and spinach phyllo pies mostly. Let’s keep it plant-based and opt for a ‘spanakopita’ instead. If you can’t be bothered, a slice of toasted bread and jam will do the trick as long as you wash it down with a ridiculously large glass of frappe.
The Frappe culture and how to make it like a true Greek.
Instant coffee, water, sugar, and optionally milk.
Frappe coffee was invented through experimentation by a Nescafe representative, in 1957 in Thessaloniki. It became a Greek staple and everyone -except me- absolutely loves it.
2 teaspoons instant coffee
2 teaspoons granulated sugar, or to taste
About 2/3 cup cold water
2 tablespoons milk
Place the coffee, sugar, and 2 tablespoons cold water in a shaker, or jar, and shake well for about 30 seconds, until you get a thick foam.
Alternatively do the ‘lazy-Greek’:
add the ingredients directly into your serving glass and whisk with a spoon, vigorously, whisk as if your life depends on your whisking skills.
This is also your workout of the day as Greeks are not big on exercise either.
Add ice, top up with water and milk if using (I always recommend plant-based) and serve immediately with a straw.
Breakfast is served.
The internet claims that “traditional Greek breakfast consists of a Frappe coffee and a cigarette.” And while I don’t think that’s very far from the truth, I’m not gonna inspire you to become that kind of Athenian.
Sip your coffee for several hours while you plan the rest of your staycation.
11:00 am Get dressed.
Greeks living in the city are fashion-conscious so let’s pick a lightweight and comfy yet stylish ensemble.
Allow yourself to be led by the trends as most Greeks take inspiration by the latest and the hottest and pay attention to current runway collections.
How about slacks and a lightweight shirt and sneakers, perhaps?
Greeks love to spend time outdoors.
In a country where there is on average nine months of endless sunshine, it is not surprising that Greeks enjoy spending time outside.
The tradition of ‘volta’ (meaning walk in a leisurely way) continues.
So, take a stroll in the city, find a cute Greek pastry shop and treat yourself to a piece of halva cake made with semolina. Greeks often indulge in a hearty session of retail therapy. Maybe walk around the shops and do some window shopping, unless of course you are actually looking to buy something specific.
Most Greeks will have some form of lunch around 2 pm. It’s not your typical salad or sandwich though. Lunch is usually the most important meal of the day and it’s also a family affair so gather your loved ones around the table and serve a nice homemade vegetable stew or casserole. Lunch is always served with staple sides of feta cheese, (I found some non-dairy alternatives here) bread, salad, and most importantly, wine.
Greek people are very proud of who they are and speak of their heritage with great passion. They are united by their traditions, religion, language, music, food, and wine. All of these form the backdrop of Modern Greek culture and Greece’s cultural identity.
Greek Salad Recipe
serves: 2 | Prep Time: 10 minutes
4 large, ripe tomatoes
1 medium sized cucumber
5-6 green olives
1 red onion
½ cup feta cheese, diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon salt
Chop the tomatoes in wedges and slice the cucumber and onion.
Toss in a large serving bowl and mix. Season with salt and oregano. Top with olives and feta cheese/cheese alternative.
Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil and serve with crusty bread to dip into the tomato-olive oil juice at the bottom of the bowl.
3:00pm Take a nap.
Many cultures have a norm of taking afternoon naps, usually after lunch, and Greeks like to indulge in a good siesta.
Even though I can’t relate, studies found that napping in the afternoon may actually boost mental agility.
So, now, among the things that are good for you and fun, you can now count daytime naps.
4:00pm Coffee: Greeks Do it Better.
Afternoon Greek coffee? Yes please. Greek/Turkish coffee is a favorite pick-me-up and a great midday energy boost that will help you overcome the after-nap slump as your cortisol levels continue to dip throughout the day.
GREEK COFFEE RECIPE
- 2 espresso cups water
- 3 tsp Greek coffee
- optional: sugar
- In a ‘briki’ or small saucepan combine the cold water with the coffee.
- If you are using sugar add it now to the mixture.
- Heat over low heat, stirring constantly. Once it starts bubbling and foaming lift from the heat for a few seconds and then heat again until it bubbles and foams again. Remove from the heat.
Divide into espresso or Greek coffee cups and serve hot.
Learn something new.
Since you are having a very Greek day and you are still high on Greek caffeine, take a moment to learn about a few Greek, untranslatable concepts like ‘philotimo’ ‘toso-oso’ and ‘meraki’.
‘Philotimo’, which since the time of the ancient Greek philosophers has remained untranslatable, is the highest of Greek virtues, and it’s all about respecting others, helping others, not because there might be something in it for you, but because you have a duty to do the right thing.
Actually, ‘philotimo’ is claimed to be impossible to translate sufficiently as it describes a complex array of virtues such as honor, integrity, duty, pride, dignity, courage.
‘Toso-Oso’ is the perfect amount of something.
Not too much, nor too little. The perfect balance, was apparently invented by the Greeks.
‘Meraki’ means to do something with passion, with absolute devotion, and put your soul in it. To put something of yourself into your work and do it with a smile.
8:00pm Try something spontaneous.
Greeks are very spontaneous, unconstrained and impulsive. So, stay true to your Greek staycation day and don’t feel tied down to one plan and go with the flow instead. Do not censor or criticize your true thoughts, let your heart guide you and do something you’ve been wanting to do for a long time and have been putting off.
11:00pm Time to go out -again!
Greeks are fun-loving, social and know how to party. Going out is most certainly a habit Greeks cannot give up on, so in order to embrace your inner Greek, we shall head out again. Nightlife in Greece is an important aspect of the local culture. Drinks with friends (as well as eating) is definitely considered the country’s most loved activity. And they go out late. Really late. Now, time to get a bit melodramatic. Greeks love to communicate their fears, anxieties, and misfortunes mostly to parody themselves. However, communication plays a vital role in the formation of their national identity, as it is a means of connection and bringing people together. So, sip your Rakito cocktail (a version of mojito made with Raki) and feel free to nag about your boss.
Fun fact: there is no word for hangover in Greek which says a lot.
Stay up late, enjoy the company and bond like there’s no tomorrow.
Unless you are having another Greek staycation day tomorrow. In that case, it’s on you mate.
Until the next one,
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