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Pita and Falafel

Our first date ended at Steve’s Pizza in Platteville Wisconsin. Steve was Greek and there was nearly always a tray of baklava on the counter—made by his mother. His pizza was always great and we decided that Greeks made the best pizza.

In medical school, there were two competing Greek restaurants on State Street. The owners would stand outside offering enticements to eat in their restaurant instead of the one across the street. Frequently this involved a ‘free’ glass of some pretty awful wine but we were students and couldn’t afford to be too choosy. No matter how i tried I could never say ‘gyro’ correctly…now that I remember it, I think it was a game the staff played with us. We all agreed everyone had to eat the same thing as ample amounts of garlic were used in the cooking. No peppermint could counter the dose we got.

Somehow I think we learned that the two restaurants were owned by two brothers or maybe cousins who had originally owned just one restaurant but then something happened and there were the two. They would shout out that the other’s food was no good and tasted like swill. They waved their arms and shook their fists—really quite fun in retrospect—and maybe it was all an act.

Here in Beaumont, the Greek Orthodox church has sponsored a Greek festival each year which grew out of their annual plate dinner fund-raiser. The street in front of the church is closed off and there is dancing, music, clothing, jewelry, and a variety of Greek food—it is always a fun event.

Of course, this year there was no festival.

I wasn’t so sure I wanted to try kibbeh or rolled grape leaves. But falafel seemed a doable project—but I would also have to make pita.

Grinding up those soaked raw chickpeas was not an easy project—husband did that; while I worked on the pita—it didn’t seem right to bake something for just 4 minutes—with my oven I needed to add 30 seconds.

But we had falafel with pita and sides of home grown cucumbers, store tomatoes–mine are still ripening–and enough left over for the next night.

Sometimes you have to make your own festival.


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