As I mentioned a few days back, I came to Ikaria to look at food. Specifically the food the locals here have eaten for eons which might give an insight into why they live so damn long and well.
I travelled around the island with the National Geographic team for a week chatting to old ladies who still cook like it’s 1856, and their first responses were:
- fresh vegetables
- olive oil
In all the food flotsam that gets flung about, I doubt few can dispute the value of these two ingredients. The thing is, here, they’re eating in abundance. Truly.
In Ikaria, it’s the norm to eat straight from the garden. Many, if not most, restaurants have gardens nearby and their menu features whatever they brought in early that morning. At Thea’s Inn, Thea’s husband goes off early to milk the goats and pick the vegetables. He’s back by 10am. Around which time, Thea’s cousin (second? third?) arrives with fish, some honey, herbs…it’s a procession I watch every morning as I drink my warm goat’s milk (Thea sets some aside for me before making the cheese for the following day). Thea and Athina, the other cook, then make the feta and the dishes for the day.
(PS I’ll share a little more on their meat consumption later…for now know, lots of vegetables are core.)
This is not just custom. Or the only option. It’s also a way of life that Ikarians are adamant is the only way to go. I’ve spoken (via translators) to a lot of oldies. They are vocal and passionate about eating fresh, to the point of