Greeks are happy to talk about Greece’s food culture and traditions and much of what they say is true but be prepared for some culture clash at the dining table!
The family on visit
Our family is multicultural since we are Swedish, Greek and Polish. The Swedish part that has ever been in Poland can certify that it is “a bit” livelier at the dinner table than in Sweden. But the biggest shock to a newly-initiated Swedish cohabite was probably with Elias aunt in Athens during a “regular” dinner (for those who have ever sat at a table and eaten with Greeks, I feel familiar with what I’m talking about). In this regard, the movie “My Great Fat Greek Wedding” is a documentary.
Do not sit quiet at dinner!
There is a sound over the table and someone speaks too loudly so that you can´t hear the other and the response is to raise your voice. Phone calls and you answer and somenone can even invite others to the ongoing dinner because there is (as always) food for more than those sitting around the table.
Repeat “no thanks” with a certain voice and several times
Do you think you can decide your own portion? Nope, the over 80-year-old hostess manage it well on its own. “Yes, you want some maccaronia,” she asks. “I’ll fix it” then she throws up a portion that Gunde Svan (during his active athletic period) would be pleased with. And it does not help saying “no, it’s too much” when the hostess pretends she doesn´t hear.
And before the dessert comes …
When you finished food and wait for dessert (love galactoboúriko in our family because it was grandmother’s favorite) then the damn tray comes in with BRIZÓLEZ! So you can understand that most people want their “siesta” after this wringer.
Last but not least: be careful what you wish for!
And God forbid that an uninitiated Swede, during dinner, tells the host “which beautiful small glasses, where did you buy them?” Within 30 seconds she walks to the closet with the fine glass and excavates at least 4 pcs of the same kind, wrap them in protective paper and then quickly put them in a gift bag and say “we need to buy new soon because we have had them far too long”!