Walk out your door. Turn left. Turn left again, then right, then left. Follow the annoying music and the cooking smells to a church parking lot. The Greeks are throwing a party. There will be art and icons and olive oil and jewelry and dancing costumes and plants to purchase. There will be a booth somewhere, explaining about how Macedonia is really part of Greece and shouldn’t even bother pretending to be a real country. And there will be food.
Stand in line near a long counter. Behind it, the men carve gyros off of giant spits and grill souvlaki and loukaniko. Order the roast lamb dinner, which comes with a small Greek salad. The salad and rice are perfect. The lamb is dry and has had all the flavor cooked out of it and it goes into the nearby trash bin to be surrounded by yellowjackets and flies.
Obviously, you need to find the Grandmas. You are looking for a sign.
Feta & ricotta wrapped in phyllo dough, served crisp and hot. Who has time to take a picture? Into the belly!
These women have been engaged in an orgy of competitive baking for weeks. Their grandkids have hung around the kitchen, trying to sneak a bite, and had their hands beaten back with a wooden spoon. My grandmother and her arch-rival Mrs. Kaplanis used to watch each other like hawks to see who sold more cookies and pastry. Mrs. Kaplanis had a reputation for “skimping” by using margarine and vegetable oil instead of butter and olive oil, and people who unwittingly bought her inferior pastries drove my grandmother nuts.
Thanks, ladies of St. Demetrios, for letting me taste my childhood again. I’m pretty sure my grandmother could have wiped the floor with you.