Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cyprus and Greece

We’ve returned from a fabulous trip to Cyprus and Greece. My friend Meredith and her Cypriot husband, Philippos, had an amazing wedding and it was so special to be part of all the traditions and rituals behind the Greek Orthodox nuptials.

Of course, we ate some fantastic food. Although many said we would probably come home 10 pounds heavier, the food generally did not seem all that unhealthy. Our first night in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, Philippos planned a dinner at a local taverna which consisted of a traditional meze dinner. I filled my plate up with salad, roasted eggplant and squash, pita, tahini, tzatziki and rice, only to find out that this was only Round One of many!

The following evening the groom’s family, the Savvides, hosted a dinner at their home. They pulled out all the stops – even roasting meat on a rotating spit in the driveway. As I savored the taste of my lemonade, Philippos told me his mother makes it using the whole lemon, rind and all. It was delicious! I had just read an article about the recent research on citrus peel oil in the
University of Arizona Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health Dean’s Report (page 12) and thought that this is a great way to reap the cancer-fighting benefits of d-limonene. I chose lemonade over ouzo the whole trip!

After the wedding, we continued our journey to the Greek Islands of Mykonos and Santorini. Most of our meals were piled high with lots of locally grown veggies – tomatoes, arugula, cucumbers, kalamata olives, red onion and homemade feta cheese. One of my favorites was a lentil salad, which I ordered two days in a row poolside at our hotel in Santorini – served with a balsamic dressing, grilled onions, and a dollop of fresh yogurt. Of course, we had to taste the local wines made of grapes grown right in Santorini. I’d say Napa has some competition.

After all of our eating, we boldly attempted to run the infamous stairs of Santorini. Kenny did quite well, but my “run” turned into a much slower pace once I faced the uneven cobblestone steps. But I made it to the top – slowly. I have a new found respect for the mules that climb those stairs every day!

So in the end, the scales were not tipping when we returned home. It took a few days to recover from the 24 hours of travel back to Tucson, but we’re back at the Ranch, and believe it or not, still ordering Greek salad!