Inspired by tasty food and countless articles detailing the benefits of the traditional Mediterranean diet, including copious amounts of olive oil, many decide to change their diet and cooking. This American searched for olive-oil based healthy recipes, learned from local Cretan cooks, experimented with extra virgin olive oil in everyday dishes, and began to prefer the small, family-run Cretan restaurants which are also dependent on it.
The exquisite, ancient gold headpieces that mimic olive wreaths in Greek museums captivate viewers at first sight, but an American’s conversion to the Cretan diet may occur more gradually. After all, the traditional Cretan diet provides quite a contrast to the typical diet many Americans grew up with, and large numbers still consume foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, pork chops, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, processed meats, and soft white bread. Even those who eat plenty of salads and fresh fruit might also drink soft drinks and frequently enjoy cookies, donuts, cakes, and pies rich in butter, margarine, or shortening. However, the Americans who feel nostalgic enough for those desserts to bake them on holidays may still come to realize they can manage without butter and processed food for everyday cooking and baking.