The first thing I must admit is that I do love to travel, even if I am often ambivalent about the packing and being ready to go. Once we are on the way, belted in for a flight, I am finally calm. Actually I just need to be past security, killing time before boarding, and all the clutter in my head starts to dissipate and I let go of that which I can not fret at any longer. I can now enter a slightly anonymous world where I am most familiar with myself. No-one is likely to expect anything of me.
For that period of almost weightless freedom, I can take in new places and people and smells; simplify.
Yet what I find I miss most when I am away is my own kitchen, my own tools, my own comfort foods. I don’t think I am particularly unique in that. What often is craved is a simple meal, more green vegetables, and once we get settled back in, the foods I turn to will always include family traditions. Some of these do not even have formal recipes (or those that are written down are simply loose reminders).
There is a certain family ethnocentricity – that how we experience a food is the right way – even if that may be a corruption of some other widely accepted method! In my family, there are strong opinions about how our dolmathes are meant to be – i.e. how did we have them at home. And maybe even within my own family there will be fierce discussion as to what is the correct remembrance.
I will start to share a few of these, not all necessarily Greek food. Some we have taken into our family tradition and made our touchstones.
The first is a recipe I can’t claim any special credit for – it is my sister’s biscotti recipe. I don’t even know where she got it. But somehow it is my recipe now, even though it will always be my sister’s biscotti.
It is a little different from most others I have seen – all the fat comes from the eggs. No butter, oil, etc. It is a little like my favourite Greek braided cookies (Koulourakia) , with a clear anise note. And it is a very simple recipe to pull together even when life starts to get too busy. Of course that is when you make these – so you can give them away, though maybe keeping just a few∞