Yesterday, my blogging friend Laurie of Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska had three articles published on SKAI TV & radio’s (Greece) website as part of their focus on Great Lent Week.
Now that the “cat’s out of the bag”, I can now add that I too was asked by SKAI journalist Lamprini Thoma to contribute to the series with a dish for Good Friday.
All the articles are in Greek but you may use Google’s translator. Although nowhere near perfect, the translator will give you the gist of each article.
The first article is titled “Good Friday in Toronto” and it’s basically an intro of myself, that my family attends St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and a seque to the other two pieces.
The second piece focuses on how I first got interesting in cooking and Lamprini relays to the reader the many ways food has inspired me during my many visits to Greece.
The third and final piece focuses on the dish. Good Friday’s fast is quite strict and it leaves little choices for eating on this day. I offered a Lent-friendly potato salad, flavoured by vegetable stock and mustard. Below is the English text as I had submitted to SKAI TV.
I would like to express a huge thank you to Lamprini Thoma who translated all three pieces for me from English to Greek. She made the articles bright, full of sentiment and poetic as only the Greek language can be. I wish you all knew Greek so as to fully grasp how beautifully written all three pieces were.
Today marks the solemnest date on the Greek-Orthodox religious calendar. For Jesus Christ died on this day and our services take on a tone of mourning.
The run-up to Easter, Good Friday and ultimately Easter is the most important reglious holidays for Greeks around the world.
In Greece, the people will leave “en masse” for their home towns or summer retreat homes and most will be attending the Good Friday church services (especially the evening Vespers).
On Good Friday (Megali Pareskevi), flags at homes or government buildings are set at half-mast to mark the mournful day.
All over the world, the Greek-Orthodox will attend the evening Vespers service and follow the procession of the Epitaph of Christ. In Greece, the procession will circle the entire town, in the cities, the epitaph will circle the whole neighborhood.
Here in Toronto, my family has attended St. Nicholas Greek-Orthodox Church for most of my life and the epitaph will also makes it’s procession. Greek churches like St. Nicholas will also conduct the procession of the Epitaph for a few kilometers around the neighborhood where the church is located. Often, local traffic police are enlisted to help ease the traffic of cars and parishoners that congregate for this solemn service.
The service culminates with the return of the Epitaph to the church and as it’s above the portal, just high enough for all the faithful to pass underneath the Epitaph and back inside the church.
As Good Friday is the solemnest day of the Greek-Orthodox calendar, the Great Lent on this day is of the strictest nature. Besides retaining the fast from meat and dairy, no oil or any ingredients that were “crushed” are to be consumed.
Most on Good Friday will subsist on a diet of fruit and nuts, bread, Fakkes made without oil and one of my particular favourites is a mustard-based potato salad that’s flavoured with spring ingredients and true to the traditions of Good Friday.
Potato Salad for Good Friday
Approx. 1kg. of new red potatoes
2/3 cup of vegetable stock (made from Vegeta)
1/4 cup of mild mustard
2 Tbsp. capers, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of pickles, finely chopped
1/4 cup pickle juice from the jar
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp. of chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup of chopped fresh dill
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- Rinse your potatoes and place in a pot of salted water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Drain the hot water from the potatoes and then add ice cold water to cool the potatoes until they are warm.
- As soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle (but still warm), cut them into chunks and place them in a large bowl.
- Add your hot vegetable stock and toss the potatoes for a few minutes to absorb the stock and take on some flavour.
- Now add the mustard, pickles, pickling juice, parsley and dill and toss to coat the entire salad.
- Taste your salad and adjust by adding salt & pepper according to your tastes. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and your salad warm or at room temperature.
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