There is nothing finer than home cooking. No matter whose home it is, the fruit of ancestral labors is always appreciated by me. Whether it is Arroz con Pollo from Michelle’s mom, collard greens and mac and cheese from Monica’s grandmother or Ćevapčići from Guy’s mom, it is all appreciated to the full extent by my palate.
So who was I to decline an invitation from Maria to learn how to make her family’s recipe for Baklava. Last week Effie opened up her home to a cavalcade of inquisitive ladies with a variety of culinary talents to learn the step-by-step magic of this Greek delicacy. Now as a lover of baklava, I was intrigued to witness first hand its creation, especially by a real Greek person.
I was the food freak of the group, with Maria finding her peace in baking, Renee having a touch of culinary expertise of her own, Marit trying a thing or two and Effie just happy to be learning. The wine was poured, snacks devoured and then on to the baking. Since this is Maria’s family’s recipe I have been asked to not share it with you here. And I completely understand. But what I will share is that there is a lot of butter, sugar, walnuts and cinnamon in this dish and every drop is superb. We all took turns, including Effie’s daughter Melina who was the star of the show, even over the sweet, gooey treat. She worked like a monster chopping 5 cups of walnuts in an old-fashioned, yet perfectly designed, chopper. Her arm went wild and her stamina held out where the rest of us faltered in our old age. To work so hard for a treat, that in the end you really don’t care for, is a true sign of character.
The whole night was so wonderful for my senses, seasoned with conversations about kids, tooth brushing, sex and more wine, please. Misting over the pretense of coming together for a culinary adventure was the camaraderie of women just hanging out. The domestic nature of the evening worked in par with the worldliness of this fascinating group of women whether Greek, Jamaican and Anglo. Our backgrounds gave us fodder to speak openly and our commonality gave us a new brand of sisterhood.
A mellow group of ladies to sup on ancient honey is the fruit of happiness in the friendship I find with these cohorts. I am so thankful to have this experience and to continue on with our own “Cook’s Tour” discovering more about each other, where we came from, where we’re going and what to eat on our trip there.