My dad is Greek. My mom is, well, a little bit of everything. That makes me half Greek and half mutt. (And that’s the extent of the math I’m willing to do.) As a kid, my family would celebrate Easter, and many years we’d also celebrate Greek Easter which, going by the Greek Orthodox calendar, usually falls on a different day. Sometimes we went to my aunt Vasiliki’s home to celebrate, sometimes we went to a restaurant, and oftentimes we celebrated at home. My favorite Greek Easter tradition is tsougrisma, cracking red eggs. The eggs symbolize new life and the color red symbolizes Christ’s blood shed for us. Each person chooses an egg (hard boiled and dyed red). They hold their egg upright while another person lightly taps their egg against it. The person whose egg cracks then turns it around and uses the other end. When both ends are cracked, that player is out. We take turns going around the table cracking the eggs. The person with at least one end intact at the end wins and will have good luck throughout the year.
One year, when we were little kids, my sister won this game. I swear I remember her keeping the winning egg and saving it in her closet at home until her room began to stink and my mom found it there. She insists that never happened, but will admit to saving some chicken bones wrapped in paper towels for her stuffed dog, Blooper. I guess we’ll never know for sure (I’m right), but the point is that I have some fond memories from celebrating Greek Easter with my family. And I hope my own kids will look back one day and recall some fun memories from celebrating this little part of our heritage as well.
Having no relatives around didn’t stop us from celebrating this year. Traditionally, a soup made from icky lamb parts is made. Since my kids and I aren’t into lamb livers, hears, and intestines, we decided to cook some of our favorite Greek foods(spanakopita, pistichio, tsoureki, kourabiethes, and melamakarona). Well, we cooked the few things we could get ingredients for, that is. Central Florida isn’t exactly like Chicago in that you can’t always find what you’re looking for in terms of international foods. I’ll share my recipe for spanakopita here. I make spanakopita as a snack or appetizer, folding spinach and feta cheese into small triangles of phyllo like this -
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