Last month saw travel to the Boston area, where I was invited to do some cooking demos at the St. Spyridon Grecian Festival in Worcester, Mass. (just outside of Boston). The Greek community of Worcester is an old, established one with the earliest Greeks arriving there in the 1900’s. This rock-solid Greek community has a beautiful cathedral that reflects the wealth of the Greeks in this small city and from what I gathered, they are a tight, united community.
One surprise was to reunite with an old acquaintance in author and journalist Nicholas Gage, best know for his emotionally stirring book and movie), Eleni. I met Mr. Gage in the 90’s here in Toronto when I was involved with the Ion Dragoumis Assoc. and we brought him over to speak at a weekend conference on Greek national issues. Nicholas Gage’s daughter (Eleni) reads this blog and she’s shared some recipes with her parents and here we are meeting again!
Mr. Gage is from Epirus and his father emigrated to Worcester following the coaxings from his relatives who came here for a new life. It was interesting to see most of the Greeks here had ancestral ties to Epirus, Macedonia and the island of Samos (such as Fr. Dean Paleologos). The composition of Greeks differs from that of the Boston area with the majority being mainland Greeks (north and south, Cretans and Pontians.
It was a joy to share some of my dishes in front of such a huge audience, the Grecian Festival is held under a big tent,they could house a circus with this tent! On the Friday I showed them my Melitzanosalata, a Tyrokafteri on Saturday and then showed them how I make/open phyllo for a Tyropita.
The warmth of the Worcester Greeks is still fresh in my memories and I’d like to thank Dawn and Sam Georgiadis who were my gracious hosts. I was reminded how dynamic Greeks are when we stand united and I even came back with a new recipe (or two). While I wasn’t doing cooking demos I helped out where I could and was based at the Cafe/ouzeri. One of the menu items was a cafe frappe made with Nescafe instant coffee, water, sugar to taste and finished with some evaporated milk and ice.
One tall, very Hellenic gal ordered a frappe and an Ouzo and soon after she made payment did she pour the shot of Ouzo into the frappe. I look bewildered, she offered me a sip and I was hooked! Cafe Frappe with Ouzo rocks and you’re gonna love it!
Thank you to my friends in Worcester, Mass.
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