Today I acquiesced to my daughter’s wishes and agreed to accompany her to the Annual Greek Festival. Last night she attended the event with two college friends, but not before chastising me for boycotting this year’s festival. I am not really avoiding the festival, which is always lively with live Greek musicians from Chicago, the Greek Orthodox church’s own dance troupe, and Greek food enough to sink the island of Corfu. Rather it has more to do with legally reclaiming my Italian surname and casting off my ex-husband’s fifteen letter Greek name of the past twenty years.
Noshing on chicken souvlakia at the festival today, I remarked how various foods we were eating today had much in common with Italian food we make. The Greek fasolada tasted much like the beans, onions, and tomatoes we cook. The pastichio was reminiscent of Italian lasagna, and the Greek salad, substitute the feta cheese for fresh mozarella, also tasted familiar. Fond thoughts of summers in Greece flooded my mind as we ate and talked. Late dinners on those sultry Greek nights gave rise to my cutting my food in small pieces to last the two or three hours of dining.
Sometimes on languid summer days I recall the laziness I felt in Greece’s ninety-five degree heat, the refreshing watermelon eaten to help stave off dehydration, and lolling around under a beach umbrella on Aegean shores. These are among the sweet memories I have of Greece in the summer. Having been there for sustained periods of time during the winter, I can attest to the difference in sensibility among the people, the non-tourist time of year.
Boycott the local Greek Festival? Not likely on my part. My daughter does not understand how sweet memories may be tinged bittersweet, and how I do not always wish to revive annually the thought processes. Yet for today, I am happy to have given in to her wishes in order to spend a charming afternoon with her, Greek dancers, bouzouki music, and a delicious repast of Greek food. Did I forget to mention the spanakopita? Yum! We will sleep well tonight.
Ciao for now. Ya’sou!