Thursday, 15 August 2013

Clever people and grocers

A quickie before the heats steps up tonight when we set up the BBQ and I make pilafi.

Last night, I made a fleeting visit to a favorite relative (a banker) who was holidaying in Crete from abroad. It was just past 11.30pm - I knew he would be returning to his room that moment.

"Sorry I'm late," I excused myself. "I was preparing tomorrow's feastday dinner." It sometimes feels like a lot of work, even for me who is used to spending a lot of time on a daily basis in the kitchen, so I always start the night before. "I got the kalitsounia out of the way, at least," I said. Making kalitsounia involves rolling out, cutting and filling pastry shapes made from hand-made dough.
The first batch of kalitsounia - Χρόνια Πολλά to all those celebrating today, on the Assumption/Dormition of the Virgin Mary, including me:
Παναγιώτης, Πάνος, Πανούσος, Παναγής, Πανάγος, Γιώτης, Παναγιώτα, Γιώτα, Παναγιούλα, Γιούλα, Παναγούλα
Δέσποινα, Δέσπω, Ντέπη, Πέπη, Ζέπω *
Μαρία, Μαργέτα, Μαριέττα, Μαργετίνα, Μάριος, Μάρω, Μαριώ, Μαριωρή, Μαρίκα, Μαριγώ, Μαριγούλα, Μαρούλα, Μαρίτσα, Μανιώ, Μαίρη, Μαρινίκη, Μιρέλλα, Μυρέλλα *
Γεσθημανή, Ιεσθημανή
Θεοτόκης, Θεοτοκία
Ελώνα, Ελλώνα, Ελόνα
Κρυστάλλω, Κρουστάλλω, Κρουστάλω, Κρυσταλία, Κρυσταλλία, Κρουσταλένια
Πρέσβεια, Πρεσβεία
Συμέλα, Σιμέλα, Σουμελά
"Wouldn't it be more time-efficient if you went out for dinner instead?" he asked me.

"It'll work out quite costly," I asnwered. I'm expecting a dozen guests. A meal of the kind I am preparing at home, with drinks, will cost about €15-20 per person. That's around €200 for an evening out. That's a lot of money in this day and age, about 1/3 of the average young person's salary, and 1/5 of mine.

"But your time spent preparing the meal may turn out to be worth that much," he said.

Basil: Are you a cook?
Zorba: If you need one, I am
Βasil: What I meant was, what work do you do?
Zorba: Listen to him! I got hands, feet, head, They do the jobs, who the hell am I to choose?
Zorba: And you mister, what do you do?
Basil: Me? I'm a writer.
Zorba: What do you write?
Basil: Poetry, essays...
Zorba: What's that?
Basil: Essays...
Zorba: You think too much, that is your trouble. Clever people and grocers - they weigh everything. 

I was suddenly reminded of Zorba: "Clever people and grocers - they weigh everything." I'd have to work five days to earn the cost of the meal, which would cost me at the most one day's work, and €45 maximum to produce (a good deal of the ingredients are from our own supplies):
- kalitsounia €4 (using garden-frozen spinach)
- BBQ chicken €15
- lamb roast €20
- roast potatoes €1 (a friend's gift)
- salad (from the garden)
- pilafi rice €1
- chocolate cake: €4
My sister, experiencing a Zorba moment.
My time is not worth €200. But my food is.

Χρόνια Πολλά to all those celebrating - but since it is a national holiday, I can wish you all Χρόνια Πολλά.

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