This summer, we’ve been celebrating the art of Greek food. We gave you all the supplies and ingredients you need to make mezze platters at home, and shared our favorite local spots to buy tasty appetizers. As a farewell to our Greek celebrations, we share the 3,000-year-old legend behind the tradition of Greek hospitality.
The poor old couple, Baucis and Philemon, lived by themselves on the side of a mountain. They answered a rare knock on the door one night to see two peasants seeking food and shelter for the night. Everyone else in the village had turned them away. The story goes that the old couple didn’t have much —wine, olives, wild cherries, wild cheese, radishes, honey, figs and dates—and even offered to kill and cook their prized possession, a goose. Of course, the two peasants turned out to be gods in disguise, testing the hospitality of humans and B and P won the prize: Of all the people in the valley, they survived the ensuing flood and lived on as two trees.
Three thousand years later, the tradition of Greek hospitality endures. It’s unthinkable not to share food with guests. And the menu remains basically the same: olives, cheese, fruit, honey. A generous appetizer plate of these ancient Greek foods is still the easiest thing to greet guests with. Given summer’s arrival and (albeit cautious) entertaining back on the calendar, it’s great to know you can have something to offer in a moment. You never know when the gods will come knocking.