My Week in Athens… March 29

  • by XpatAthens
  • Thursday, 05 February 2015
My Week in Athens… March 29

The real Greece… I spent Sunday in the village – the place where my father was born, the place where most of my extended family lives, the place that feels most like the ‘real Greece’. And of course, the place where one finds that most central event of Greek culture: the ‘Sunday family meal’.

Food is love. If you’ve ever doubted that, you haven’t met my Theia Maro. The Sunday meal is planned days in advance – with fact-finding phone calls to figure out what we all want to eat (‘anything but lamb’, I say), with plans and revisions and more plans. And then a last-minute change to the menu because ‘the butcher had some really great lamb’.

We all gathered together a little while after midday, told our stories of the previous weeks, complained about the state of the nation, talked about the weather (Theia Maro, it turns out, is also an expert meteorologist who can predict weather patterns days in advance), and generally shared the mundane aspects of our daily lives – all the things that connect us and make us ‘family’.

And then it was time to clink our wine glasses and eat. But it’s not enough to simply sit around the long table and consume. There are important rituals during the Sunday family meal, which must not be avoided. These include explaining the meal, critiquing the meal, comparing to previous meals, planning future meals – all of this in the wonderful multi-decibel choir of voices of every Greek dinner table.

I remember the exact same scenario from almost every Sunday (or any day!) meal, back when I would spend summers in the village, back when it didn’t mean as much. These days, it feels good to know that some things never change, in spite of ourselves and the world around us.

The Sunday Family Meal, Greek-style!
Location: a village near you.

See you next week,


In this weekly space, keep up with ‘Jack’ as he navigates daily life in Athens… Anecdotes, stories, hits & misses, the good, the bad and, well, the rest…