It's Greek to Me
Recently there was a rumor that my family's favorite Greek restaurant in Massachusetts may be closing. We have been going there for years not only because it's the only major Greek restaurant nearby but also cause the food is fantastic. My father was born in Greece and came here when he was a child. I embraced the Greek culture growing up and loved being raised exposed to its customs, traditions, and especially the food!
Food is very centric to the Greek culture. My grandparents, who we called Yiayia and Papoo, lived in our same Massachusetts town and we would often go to their house for meals. It was expected that you eat a lot and if you didn't then there was something seriously wrong with you and my Yiayia would be very worried. Yiayia would make often make a meal of tiropita, layers of phyllo dough filled with cheese, and avgolemono, a chicken and lemon soup. My sister and I would get our own individual pieces of pita specially made with love by Yiayia. The soup would be served in these blue and white bowls that my sister is now the owner of.
I'm not much of a cook, but my go to dish is a Greek one that is simple to make and delicious to eat. It's called pastitsio and is essentially Greek macaroni and cheese. I use a recipe (see below) that my Greek aunt shared years ago. Luckily I can easily get my Greek food fix since I live in an area of Brooklyn that is heavily Greek with many Greek restaurants and grocery stores. I feel so comfortable eating at Greek restaurants and enjoying the foods I know and love. Eating Greek food feels like going home and brings back all my wonderful food memories.
Here's my family recipe for pastitsio....
one stick of margarine
16 ounce package of ziti
6 cups of milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in 13x9 pan. Add ziti, stirring to coat ziti with butter. In a separate bowl combine milk, eggs (slightly beaten), cheddar, feta, salt, and pepper. Add to ziti. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.