Recently we have become used to the manifestation the Mediterranean diet; however the expression has been actually coined by a Harvard Teacher Dr Willett. It described a diet plan prevalent in Southern Europe in Spain, Greece, Crete and Southern Italia in the sixties. It was characterized by a high level of plant food, little steak and lots of fish and salads. The principal fat is olive oil and there is a lot of cheese, pulses and yoghurt eaten for protein.
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Basically the overall fat content eaten is less than a quarter of the food intake a considerably smaller amount than in America.
However there is no such thing as a Mediterranean diet, the food of North Italy for instance is definitely representative of the food of North Europe as Northern Italy is alongside the Austrian empire; they eat a lot of wheat products and little pasta. In the South pizzas and teigwaren prevails and the people and foods are separated by a chasm nearly as wide as the Med and that describes the characteristics of only one from the 23 countries that straddle the particular Med.
In Spain the classic dish is the Paella an one pot Gypsy food brought by the Moors. You will find as many recipes for Paella since the people of Spain. Each region has its own specialty and the only thing that unites them is the fact they all contain short grain rice. The paella of Valencia is made from large seafood and traditionally will not contain meat. Whilst the paella of Andalucia has seafood, white fish and either pork, rabbit or chicken in it.
The Eastern shores of the Mediterranean, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey and North Africa possess another dish that is popular, hummus. Hummus is a chick pea dip laced with loads of olive oil, garlic clove and lemon juice, though in certain areas it is enriched with tahini a paste made of lightly roasted sesame seeds.
Again this reflects the Arab influence as hummus is the Arabic word for chickpeas; it is served with traditional toned breads to scoop up the fragrant paste. Some areas of the Lebanon and Syria add roasted red-colored pepper, or spinach and Sumac a Middle Eastern Spice.
One more popular Mediterranean food is pasta and it is served over a very wide region. Italy does not have the monopoly on pasta the Greeks have a wonderful dish made called Pastistio. Nevertheless the classic comfort food has to be Spaghetti and meatballs I mean what is right now there not to love about spaghetti and meatballs?