If you look the recipes in this blog, or any other blog for that matter, the vegetables are one of the most commonly used ingredients. And I don’t mean as a side dish, I mean as the star of the dish. From pies to roasts. Growing up, in Greece, when I thought of vegetables I thought of tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, green peppers, onion, potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage and the very seasonal green beans and ocra. Little I new that with the technical term, more than half of them are not vegetables at all. Botanically speaking as vegetables are classified only these plants that we consume as whole. So tomatoes, eggplant peppers and zucchini are fruits, in the family of berries, potatoes are tubers and green beans are pods. Still however al of them are included in the vegetables section, mostly because as opposed to fruits to consume them we need to prepare them with heat. In addition the modern mega-mart includes them in the veggies section. A section, that the last two decades has expanded and included exotic new varieties, result of painstaking crossbreeding, and rare vegetables, results of the amazing innovation in food transportation. So many actually that you need a guide to find your way around.
Greek restaurants across the USA had to adapt and adjust their menu and recipes. This usually happens with in three ways: i) the adaptation of classic recipes to whatever ingredients are available ii) the adaptation to the taste palette of the locals and iii) the adoption of dishes from other countries just because the locals seem to like them. Actually one of the most classic dishes, the poster child of the Greek food, the gyro sandwich originated in its final form in New York by Greek food track vendors out of necessity to battle tacos and shawarma as a fast food alternative. In the restaurant scenery, one of the Greek adopted dishes was, and still is, the hummus.