Why Growing Up Mediterranean Meant I Was Destined to be a Foodie


greek yiayia


I was born to a Turkish mother and a Greek father which meant one thing was certain to be in my destiny. Not just the need for sunshine, a short Mediterranean temper and a loud conversational tone that always makes you seem like you are angry and having a go at whoever it is you are talking with.

It’s a love of food.

Watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a little like a documentary. It might be humourous but the truth is, it’s funny because it’s true. We are all big Greek feeders. Or in my mum’s case, a big Turkish feeder.

As explained, my father’s family is Greek but through the history of Constantinopolis. It’s a long story between two great empires which resulted in my father’s Greek family and my mother’s Turkish family living together in a village in Istanbul. My dad’s family came to England a few years before I was born, with my parents following shortly after but just before my birth.

This means I was raised on a feast of the best mediterranean food you could believe. And when I say a feast, I mean a feast.

I saw the image at the top of this post on Facebook yesterday (thank you to the GreeksBeLike FB group who produced it). It’s very accurate. You aren’t allowed to be full when you’re Med. And if you are full there’s a perfect answer to it. It’s called ‘more food’.

Food is the answer when you are ill.

It’s what you do when you’re not ill.

And if someone visits you must always feed them. A lot. And then you send them home with food too. Lots of it.

It’s as if it’s the Med law.

My favourite foods, as you can probably tell from the recipes on this site, are mainly Greek, Turkish and Italian dishes. Lasagne and canneloni are always firm favourites. Koftes (fried burgers), minte (a Turkish ravioli), youvarlakia with avgolemono (a meatball broth with lemon and egg) always remind me of my mum cooking away in the kitchen. Fresh, homemade food every, single day no matter what. And she is still the best cook I know. But she really is a feeder.

As soon as one round of food is almost finished, it’s time for the next course. Visiting is one big food-fest, which our children love. Her favourite question whatever their behaviour is: ‘Are they hungry?’

If they’re shouting: ‘Are they hungry?’

If they’re playing: ‘Are they hungry?’

If they cry: ‘Are they hungry?’

And if the food wasn’t so good you would almost argue.

A few weeks ago we told Isobel that we were going to be visiting Nanny and Grandad.

‘What will you do there?’ Cait asked, expecting Bel to answer with something like ‘play’.

‘Eat,’ replied Bel.

‘What else?’ asked Cait.

Isobel shrugged.

‘Just eat.’

And that pretty much sums it up.

As my mum reasoned yesterday as we tucked into a deliciously moist home-made fruit sponge drizzled with cream, ‘I don’t want to die on an empty stomach. I’d be miserable.’


I put the diet on hold for the rest of the day and had a second slice.

If you are a foodie lover too you’ll enjoy this foodie quiz from Rentalcars.com. It wasn’t surprising that I only got one wrong, I suppose. Being a foodie is in my genes.

The genes are strong so I admit it, I am a feeder too.

Anyone want to visit for dinner? There’s always plenty to go around!







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3 thoughts on “Why Growing Up Mediterranean Meant I Was Destined to be a Foodie

  1. Tania, this is so true. Food is the answer to all problems with Greeks and Turks, lol, funny as it sounds, but it kept our family close together, I loved ur mum’s cooking, every time I went there for visit, after a 15 minute conversation, she always asks, “have u had food yet?” My mum was the same. fantastic hostesses. Every christmas/easter, parties with the family gathering, plenty of food. Keep up the Greek policy Tania, you are doing a great job. well done, looking forward to tasting your keftethes one day, xxx

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