Sunday, April 06, 2008

I know why Americans get so fat.
Well, besides the fact that most trade in their legs for a driver's license, on coming of age.

The food doesn't taste like anything!! more food will not get you more flavor, but our brains don't know that.

Having endured the freakin' SEVEN DOLLAR deck-of-cards size library-paste flavored goat's milk feta from the Giant Eagle, I followed a tip from a fellow suffering cheese section shopper, and headed (via the friendly, safe and speedy bus system) downtown to the Euro Market near Shab Row. I found a half kilo of Bulgarian feta for ten bucks. This plain box of brine contained what we were looking for.

Tangy, lively cheese to grace a Mediterranean shepherd's salad with!
In Greek, it's xoriatiki, in German (via our Aramaic Turk grocer) Hirtensalat. Fresh cukes, super quality tomatoes, tangy feta topped with spicy oregano, basil, fresh mint and parsley. We used the last of some Greek olive oil (carefully smuggled gift) and bits of the herb plants I rescued from the grocery. Finely minced red onion sets the tang off with a sulphury hit.

In Lefkada, Greece, our yearly September pilgrimage to visit my colleague and dear friend Anastasia at her husband's hotel involved deep and thorough perusal of the local cuisine.

We ended up more often than not at Lefteris, a crony of the family.
It was the olive oil.
Okay, it was the olive oil, and David the hysterical Bulgarian waiter. He had been a military surgeon, before things got crazy there. He got shot in the leg and somehow escaped to Greece.

Anyway, the olive oil came from my friend's husband's family olive trees.. over 500 years old, harvested every late fall and processed by the family. I could have bathed in this stuff.. in fact, making the xoriatiki, I would often rub the drips on my hands and face, if they were feeling dry.
In Greece, every trace of a sunburn or chafe could be salved with the fresh, powerful oil.
However, it was a solution that always made me hungry.

But not for something, that tastes like nothing.
Salt and fat is necessary, but no substitute for genuine flavor.
Why do you think bacon cheeseburgers are so popular?

Solutions to the American "obesity problem" would include ditching individual transportation, corn syrup beverages (when there is so much good tea and city water is so high quality!) drive-ins (Europe has "standing cafes" and check out Asian street food!) and FLAVOR! bring back the local, the backyard, the ethnic.

Only the seeds of a strawberry, should go "crunch". Don't give me a red, unripe berry. Yuk.

We can do better.

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