Today’s podcast involves story of an American immigrant from Greece, who cooked for French and American soldiers in World War One. His efforts to keep soldiers well fed and healthy contributed directly to local food culture, here in the Tampa Bay Area. (Yes, Tarpon Springs is outside Pasco County…But it’s my arbitrary boundary, so I can arbitrarily move it!)
So much so, that many of us grew up thinking ALL Greek Salads, EVERYWHERE, contained potato salad.
Imagine my surprise when I ordered Greek Salads in other places…Chicago, Vancouver, Canada, Miami…That they did not contain potato salad. Imagine the shocked looks of waitstaff who thought I must be mentally ill to even suggest the lack? Unless you are dining in west central Florida (I assume most of the Bay Area at least knows about it), you will not find potatoes in your Greek Salad. My friend Zoe tells me you might not even find LETTUCE, if they are authentic greek salads.
But here…Here we are in possession of a great secret: Nestled down in there, under the salty olives and feta, among to ice cold lettuce leaves, marinated in a touch of Greek dressing…There is POTATO SALAD, and it is good. SO good.
Here in Pasco County, there are at least a few places where you can get a Greek Salad PROPER, potato salad, and all. Try the one at the West Side Deli! It’s in there! In fact, their Greek Salad is what inspired the making of this podcast.
So there you have it…An actual, original, SO LOCAL food culture thing! Almost nowhere else has it! (I read that there is a place in Raleigh, NC that has potato salad in their Greek salad, but I cannot confirm it as of today).
Are there any COMPLETELY So Local PASCO food traditions that you know about? I’d love to hear about them! Coming soon: Cuban Sandwiches are not really Cuban…And they’re not from Miami, either!
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July.