At The Awl, Dan Nosowitz writes about the history and singular charms of what’s called the “Greek salad,” and about the slippery nature of authenticity. After the financial agreement Greece recently signed with its creditors, it’s a good time to be reminded of the strength of Greek’s handiwork with greens, veggies and herbs, and their influence on the world.
Like many other classic American dishes (ground beef tacos, spaghetti and meatballs, General Tso’s chicken), the Greek salad is a domestic creation with a vague reference to some other country. It is common to find excoriations of the American Greek salad that claim that a dish called horiatiki (pronunciation is close to whore-YA-tee-kee) is the truly authentic Greek salad, the one Greeks love, the reason that any real, authentic, Greek person from Greece and not America would look at an American Greek salad and think, “Pah! This is not authentic!” (Horiatiki is a salad of roughly chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, and sometimes sweet green pepper, with feta cheese, olive oil, olives, and oregano. It has no lettuce.) Ahhhh, authenticity.