Tag Archive: Greece


My parents went to Greece before I was born and brought back a great little cookbook. I consider this book to be the authoritative word on Greek cooking. Its Pasticio recipe (basically Greek lasagna) is the only one I like to use because it is so good. My dad was a Classics minor in undergraduate school, so he was thrilled when they got to see all the famous sites from the Classical Age of Greece. Alas, I have never been but hope to one day. When I was in middle school, I found a recipe for Stifado, or Greek Beef Stew. It has become a family favorite, topped with feta cheese, especially in the wintertime as it is a hearty meal. I love Gyros (I know this is really Turkish, but Greeks claim it too), Greek Salad, Stuffed Grape Leaves, and pretty much all Greek pastries. Whenever there is a Greek Festival in the city we are living in, I try to go to all those as well.

When I was in graduate school at University of St. Andrews, two of my best friends were Greeks. One was from Kefalonia (an island off the Ionian coast of Greece) and one was from Athens. The Kefalonian studied Social Anthropology and did her thesis on Laughter and Madness in Kefalonia, and the Athenian studied Art History and did her thesis on a Portuguese artist named (I think Maria Helena Vieira) da Silva. We also had three Greek Physicists on the floor below who frequently came up and had dinner with us. Living with them and learning about their culture and way of life was amazing. They were full of so much vitality and personality, kindness, hospitality (I know where I can stay if I ever make it there), and love. It is because of my Kefalonian “Effie Mou” (my Effie, mou being a term of endearment) that I eat zucchini because of her zucchini/courgette and feta pie, and Greek olives. She used to get these care packages with fresh cheese, olives, olive oil and grappa from back home that I just loved!

I recently found this website on Greek food and culture called Kalofagas, which means “gourmet” in Greek. It has some excellent recipes for Greek, Canadian, American, Indian, Italian, and Turkish food. The website has Non-traditional desserts like ice cream and this other ice cream and this gelato, as well as more traditional Greek fare such as Kunefe and the more interesting Artichoke Moussaka (for those like me who don’t like Eggplant).

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Repatriation

While this blog is entitled Library Mom, as I have mentioned in my previous post, my undergraduate degree is in Art History. I also have a Postgraduate Diploma (essentially a Master’s Degree without the thesis) in Museum & Gallery Studies. While I was finishing up the program, and before I was told that I could not write my thesis due to average grades, I spent a month researching my topic. It was to be on Museum Art and Artifact Repatriation, specifically Egyptian art such as the Rosetta Stone, Nefertiti’s Bust and the mummy of Pharoah Ramesses II. I originally wanted to the Elgin Marbles, but there was so much scholarship being done on that that my material would’ve been out of date by the time it was published.  For those who don’t know much about the topic, the Elgin Marbles are the marble sculptures and architectural artifacts  from the top of the Parthenon, which according to Lord Elgin of Scotland were “legally” bought from the Turks (who occupied Greece at that time), around 1801. The controversy came into sharp focus after the Olympic Games held  in Athens in 2004, and the Greeks had built a museum specifically for the Marbles. For more information this topic, check out this case study.

Anyways, the British Museum has the Rosetta Stone, which has been in their possession since 1801 after they defeated the French in Egypt, and the Berlin Art Museum has had Nefertiti’s head since 1913. I always find Nefertiti’s head to be the most interesting story. The Germans smuggled it inside a barrel of pork, which they knew the predominantly Muslim Egyptians wouldn’t check and that’s how it made it inside Berlin and into their art museum. Needless to say, the Egyptians, led by chief antiquities expert Zahi Hawass, want these treasures returned back to Egypt. In the case of Ramesses’s mummy, the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, repatriated it back to Egypt after discovering that the unknown mummy they had gotten from a museum sale in Canada was actually Pharoah Ramesses II.

Another time period that has had a lot of stolen art in the spotlight is WWII, as the Nazis stole tens of thousands of works of art from the Jewish people and museums in cities they conquered, such as Paris. An interesting paper on this can be found on the National Archives homepage. They actually discussed this quite a bit in a book I started reading but had to give back because it was on hold entitled Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World’s Most Coveted Masterpiece. The author of the book explains how Nazi top official Hermann Goring ordered a museum director to steal the Ghent Altarpiece, aka The Mystic Lamb and place it in the Alt Aussee salt mine. Goring alone had stolen 7,000 works of art and that’s not counting what Hitler and other Nazi officials had stolen on behalf of the Third Reich.

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