Category Archives: Greece

Wonderful people and food


The nation likes me today. I like the country for some of the best times I’ve had in my life. I went with my sister for my 25th birthday, and again for my father’s 70th.

We traced the trail of Odysseus. While we were not greeted at the end by Penelope and Argos, we did it in style for Dad’s 70th birthday. Thank you for being so kind to us.

Ephkaristo, Dee


Set, Spell a Bit

It’s cool on the porch today, sweet tea and biscuits?

It is nice under the umbrella table now, some iced tea and fresh cherries?

North and South, it is our nation and I grew up in the North (father-in-law says I singly staged the War of Northern Aggression). I assure him it is not my fault as I could never be that old. I married Texas and the South.It seems 1860’s to me but it’s only 15+ years.

How about some chicken enchiladas? I made them for the hands.

Would you like some beef rouladen with spaetzle? Then I learned about Lady Bird Johnson’s recipe for Pedernales Chili, 1962. They cooked for 5,000 including JFK at the Johnson family ranch in Pedernales, outside Austin. It’s Texas. No beans. I purchase and grind my own beef and choose my spices. I’ve never made it for his family. His cousin S made a good version of chili, a wonderful Texas gal, and she added beans! That Lady Bird chili I started making years ago brought my sensibilities about The Empire State and The Lone Star State together. We have a lot in common!

The funniest thing is that both our families hail from infamous towns in Switzerland. My husband grew up on a dairy, and I on what might be called a “hobby farm” with Dr. B and a northern family.

The southerners still don’t “get” the flavors of lebkuchen and mincemeat, but bet they would love prime rib and Yorkshire pudding over the holidays. Alas, I only cook there for Thanksgiving and m-i-l and I spend up to five days preparing for the feast. She loves having our old dog Zoe there for the marathon because it saves on vacuuming!

In every country I’ve visited and spent much time in, I have found the southern regions more amiable. I once had a non-conversation with a Greek cigar merchant knowing good morning, thank you, you’re welcome (kalimera, efharisto and parakolo), laughing and doing hand movements while my sister and I tried to purchase a few cigars for my father as a souvenir. You girls want to smoke cigars? No, they’re for Dad!

Twenty-five years later I named every mezede (appetizer) on the table for Dad’s 70th birthday aboard a sailing yacht. The staff, chef included, were speechless. Hey, I’m smart, and I listen. Spanakopita, dolmades, keftadakia, risosalata, taramosalata, tyroppita and I went on to include eggplant, octopus and more. I make a great moussaka but my husband will not eat eggplant. Go figure, he’s from Texas! Cheers and good cooking! Dee

It’s About Everything

Yes, that’s life, as Frank Sinatra sang it. Many people concentrate on one facet, whether it be sports, math or English literature.

Youth is, indeed, wasted on the young. Older doesn’t necessarily mean wiser but in my case, it works. I had a great family and was taught so much.

When every experience from being bullied to volunteering for a soup kitchen line to cooking school, helping feral cats and adopting four rescues over the past twenty years, I had an education that rivaled my formal education and career. Yes, I also credit my two favorite priests, Fr. Cap and Fr. John, both gone now.

They wove meaning into the fabric of my life. I learned about how history and traditions make us who we are, to accept people we don’t know and, above all, respect, appreciation and honesty.

Through my parents, relatives, teachers and friends I’ve learned much. And my husband teaches me physics lessons while listening to country music on the car radio on long drives. Do you know what’s coming out of that smokestack? No, dear. I can tell by the color……….

Also, having a pet can make a difference. There’s a real responsibility and I’m shirking mine now as I’ve taken her out for “last chance” and she is not by my side. She wants me to lift her up to the bed for her beauty sleep. She’s gorgeous and just turned 84 in people years. She has no hips so cannot jump up by herself. If I slept 20 hours a day I might look that good.

A pet is a grounding experience, especially without a child. So is music, the written word, writing a blog or Haiku or poems.

My husband’s gone for work but I still read cookbooks and make my own recipes and wish for him to come home soon to try them. Yes, my hobbies are cooking, writing and shelter pets/feral cats (spay/neuter). I have had perhaps my last shelter pet, hopefully not, because a dog gets me out to walk and meet people and other dogs. Zoe is old but fine.

Life is about everything and how playing touch football on a dead-end street or softball in our back yard was so special as a kid. The neighborhood kids called on us early and asked for Dad. Mom said they had to wait until the end of dinner. Dad’s only rule was that everyone got to play and play fair. I remember one kid picking up his little brother and running him from first to second base, a tree, and home (we didn’t have that much space) and everybody won because were all the home team. Even toddlers got to play on Dad’s team.

Honesty, integrity, a sense of fairness for everyone, life is about everything. Cheers to you and your family, Dee

Ave Maria

The bad news is that I tweaked the ankle I broke over 22 years ago walking my first dog, on snow and ice this week. It was on ice so while I did other things I watched ice, particularly the women’s short program, Olympic figure skating.

While I love my USA skaters one came to mind. That is Carolina Kostner of Italy. While she’s third right now the first three are all within a point of each other. I’ve no idea what her long program/free skate will be but she was inspirational on the ice. Kids bring the tricks, adults add fluidity and grace, and this was a most graceful performance.

Whether it was divine inspiration on her part I do not know. I’m just rooting for her tonight to capture our hearts as she did yesterday.

Yes, I think you’re great, Gracie but you are several points behind. I love my USA team and do hope you topple some of the greats. This one, Carolina, just put her heart and soul in her presentation and I felt it, not like kids doing tricks.

Unfortunately, Olympic judges tend to go for the young and inexperienced and “old athletes” nearing their upper 20’s are given short shrift. There is a very delicate balance between 15 and 28 and what an athlete can offer.

In bocca al lupo, Ms. Carolina, Cheers! Dee

p.s. My childhood heroine, one of them, was Ludmilla Tourischeva of USSR who was a consummate gymnast. She was an adult and had the style and grace of Ms. Kostner.


Last week our dog, Zoe (Greek for Life) turned ten. The other day she took her first “senior” blood panel.” The vet called the next day and said it was “beautiful.” Then she said if she doesn’t gain weight she may have cancer, and that blood work has no indications for cancer so she needs x-rays and ultrasound.

Zoe is 1.6# from my goal but my new vet has not disclosed her weight goal. I’ve done a lot of research and talked to two other vets, including her hip surgeon of nearly ten years ago.

Val the Vet, Zoe’s hip surgeon, is an Aggie, is top notch in veterinary circles as there were few women in the field back then. She says the blood-work should have shown something and that Zoe’s coat is “luxurious” and that a nutritional absorption problem should be dealt with by probiotics, which our current vet recommended and will arrive tomorrow. Her weight goal for Zoe is 32 pounds.

I have fought for Zoe her entire life, since she came to us at six weeks (having been spayed at five weeks of age, shameless) and we’ve had her nearly ten years. Aside from her bad hips, diagnosed at five months, she’s been healthy. But we’ve moved across the country several times (she loves the car and her orthopedic bed in the back and only sits up at off-ramps) and have several vets.

Our government allows doctors to keep our records on file and use them for (and against) us. I have Zoe’s files. I know Zoe better than any vet ever will because I give her the best food and care and keep her on the European pet travel scheme for the past nine years in case we are sent overseas.

Vets, know that I have her file. It’s a file of her adoption, former name, and every vet visit and obedience class. Telling me she may have cancer with not a hint in the blood work may just mean she’s getting older and her body is changing.

I will work with a vet on Zoe’s behalf and have no problem changing vets if I think someone can give her better care because I know her better than anyone else.


Greeks and Turks

I grew up loving the ancient Greeks and learning the culture as I’ve visited there a bit. The last time was tracing the route of Odysseus through the Ionian sea.

Turkey, not so much. I always wanted to go and my father and brother have gone twice over the past year and I always benefit from their travels. This weekend I’ll hang an artisinal trivet on my kitchen wall. It’ll be around the corner from my gorgeous newly-framed photos from Korfu, Zakynthos and Lefkada.

Also, I’m wearing a Turkish bracelet all the time, except in the shower. The shake reminds me of Greek worry beads.

I think you were meant to be together all these centuries. Luckily the choices we make for our dog with vet et al are not yet between Scylla and Charybdis. Yes, I saw it and also went through the Strait of Corinth from horrific seas.

All the cargo ships saw this small sailing boat bobbing around like a cork and called it in asking for us to go through the strait first. I hope we get some calm seas around here sometime soon, and hope our lifelong companion will be OK. Cheers, Dee

Blackbird, Bye Bye

Pack up all your cares and woes,

Here I go, singing low, bye bye blackbird

…… blackbird, bye bye.

Last post, they’re selling my posts. I never wanted or got a nickel from them, I will be removing them from WordPress.

I don’t know how to do this as I’m a writer and not a techie, that’s probably why they allow people to steal my words and sell them.

To my readers, I salute you and will be back on other than WordPress. Thank you for being with me and inspiring me these few years. The grandmother who died before I was a year old sang that song to me, to get me to go to sleep. It’s that time. Dee


I Miss Y’All

Happy belated Mothers’ Day first and foremost. My mom and grandmothers are gone but to M and Nanny, thank you for all you’ve done for the kids.

We miss our families and friends as we’re in a new city with new people but some are breaking down barriers to get us all together.

We had a lovely dinner last night, out by the terrace grill area. We brought steak with chimichurri, and others brought chicken tikka masala kebabs, salads, guacamole, salsa, and here’s the kicker.

There’s a date set for the next get-together, and the challenge is to do a wine tasting from all the countries we picked from a hat. One white, one red, one dish.

Let’s hope we’ve moved and have enough for me to work with. Oh, I picked Greece. No, you guys don’t need to know what I’m planning to buy or cook! Shame on you for peeking!

Everyone did a great job at our dinner. We have some very talented cooks out there and hope this doesn’t become a competition, just a companion-oriented event. Cheers! Dee

ps To Israel, I’ve some Israeli couscous you can have for a salad, if you’d like. d


Our families are involved in different things.  Retired and in his seventies, my father is working to create a new ballet company.  Jim’s father owns a cattle ranch.  Jim majored in physics but is a software engineer and inventor.

Lately, I take care of the home.  It has been a year since Jim created this blog for me.  I was so scared at first, now some of my friends don’t email anymore and do facebook and I feel OK on the blog but facebook is something I want no part of.

Recipes.  I’d like to do a book about family recipes and may have received that box a few days before our temporary move.  It remains unopened, in storage, so you’ll have to wait as will I.  If I do a really complicated recipe, I like to have it in front of me while cooking, otherwise, unless it’s baking, that’s not my interest, I’ll guess-timate after the first  couple of times.

With a solid background in French cooking I skew towards southern France, Italy, Greece and the Mediterranean for ideas. Otherwise for Jim it’s some version of meat and potatoes, as he’s allergic to fish.

His technical books are about numerical recipes, mine are about food.  But I didn’t bring one book with me on this short-term journey.  I love my cookbooks and hope you’ll take a look because I chose the ones I feature judiciously.  They’re in air-conditioned storage right now.

The balance is between us, physics and cooking, science and art, software and being a dog’s “mom” and taking care of a household.  No, I never thought I’d be here, but living in the mountains for a couple of months isn’t a bad thing.  As for boiling water for tea at high altitude, I chose Overstock’s electric Kaloric kettle, that comes with placemats and two mugs.  It boils water in 1/4 the time it takes the gas stove to do so.  Again, we’re living at high altitude so your results will differ.

I’m looking forward to my first surprise organic basket Wednesday morning so will do minimal shopping tomorrow.  Will let you know how it goes….  Take care, Dee