G is for Greece

Well, we’re already at the letter G in our around the world adventure and once again we’re looking at one of the places we hope to visit in the next year or so. I’ve been to Greece twice, once to Crete and the Cycladic islands and once to Athens and Thessaloniki and I loved it both times. My favourite place in Greece is the island of Santorini, so we started there with a few videos about the island and some clips from historical documentaries about the volcanic eruptions that formed the island as it is today. There’s nothing like some good volcano footage to get my daughter interested in a new place.

We had to plan ahead for our activity this week since I decided to look at ancient Greek pottery and try to make some replicas of our own. On Sunday we got some air dry clay and looked at some basic pottery techniques. My son wanted to make his using the coil method and my daughter tried making a pinch pot. The fact that they basically turned out identical says a lot about both our artistic abilities and the quality of Crayola air dry clay. After letting them dry for a few days, I showed the kids examples of pottery using black and reddish orange glazes from ancient times and some modern pieces in Greek blue and white colours. The kids then proceeded to paint their pots any old colour they wanted.

pots

For our Greek dinner I ended up making things a little challenging for myself. We had gone out to dinner earlier in the week and I chose a Greek restaurant since we were already learning about Greece and I thought it would be a good tie in to our Greek theme. It was, introducing the kids to the food and music of Greece, but when I went to plan my Greek menu for home I realized that several of the  most obvious Greek dishes like souvlaki and phyllo dishes had been part of our supper at the restaurant a few days ago. Of course, there are more than enough Greek options to go around and for our dinner I ended up making stuffed peppers with ground lamb, tomatoes, orzo pasta and feta cheese. I served it with rice pilaf and Greek salad. For dessert we had a yogurt cake that was simple, but very moist and delicious.

greece

I actually had to search a bit for a Greek wine to serve with the meal. I was able to find several Retsina wines which is a unique wine with a distinctive flavour of pine resin. Apparently it originated with the practice of sealing wine barrels with pine pitch, but the taste became so popular that they started flavouring wine with pine resin on purpose. I’ve tried it before and didn’t hate it, but for our meal I was looking for something a little less distinctive. I was able to find a bottle of white wine labelled as Mediterranean that identified itself as a product of Greece in the fine print. I wonder if they were trying to avoid the association with Greece because Greek wines are commonly associated with retsina. Anyway the Greek wine I finally did find was very nice with the meal.

And the verdict? Well, it’s a good thing I also had a single chicken souvlaki left over from the restaurant meal a couple days ago because neither child wanted to try the stuffed peppers. My son did not like the fact that his rice had vegetables in it, but ended up eating a bit anyway. The oregano in the Greek salad was deemed “too spicy” and the feta cheese was not a hit with them. There’s nothing like a preschooler to make a mom feel appreciated, is there? At least my husband and I enjoyed the meal! And the yogurt cake was a big hit with both kids although I’m not sure if that was because they really liked it or they were really hungry from not eating much supper.

So that was Greece, and that wraps up three weeks of focusing on Mediterranean countries here at our house. For next week, we’ll be visiting somewhere very different. Aloha, anyone?

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