Papou’s Pickled Grape Vine Shoots

Food blogger Peter, from Kalofagas submits this post for the Apron Strings contest.  Be sure to check out the rest of the Apron Strings contest submissions and rate them. The lucky winners will receive gift certificates to shop at Fiesta Farms.

Stories of my ancestors were usually related by my mother or one of her sisters. Stories kept my family connected with my mother’s side of the family who mostly still live back in Greece. My mom would paint stories of how my grandmother was like, how my grandfather was like, how aunts and uncles were like.

I would always ask my mother to tell me another story about my grandfather (her father). Papou (grandfather) Konstantinos (Kosta) was a sturdy man with a bit of a belly, he danced with panache, raised five children and sheltered grandparents and fed other hungry relatives during WWII and Greece’s ensuing civil war.

My mother’s maiden name was Kapetanopoulos (Kapetanopoulou feminine form) and the surname was adapted from a village nickname (paratsouklio) given to a string of strong men that were pillars of the community, leaders, Captains! My Papou Kosta had a general store in the village of Agios Panteleimon in the Prefecture of Florina, near Amynteo – wine growing country.My Papou Kostas with his five children (and daughter-in-law)

My Papou, his father and grandfather would make wine from the local Xinomavro (sour-grape) varietal which is a hard grape to make wine from. The wild nature of the Xinomavro is tamed by few. My Papou would make wine for home use and to sell at the general store. He earn awards for his wine, a talent passed on to him from his father and grandfather.

I am not going to get into winemaking is this post but I must confess my love of good wine, especially Greek wine and the by-products of making wine. In countries like Greece, grapes offer so much life and the spin-offs are endless: grape must used to make a grape molasses (petimezi), sour grape juice (agourida) used as an acid when vinegar or citrus wasn’t available, wine vinegar, grape leaves picked at Spring time and preserved in jars to make Dolmades through the year and today’s easy preserve – pickled wild grape shoots.
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Before Starbucks–There Was Dad

This latest short & sweetened Apron Strings Contestpost comes from Janice.  Be sure to check out the rest of the Apron Strings contest submissions and rate them. The lucky winners will receive gift certificates to shop at Fiesta Farms.


My dad couldn’t cook. He’s a total 50’s dad that left cooking to my mom. However, he made killer ice coffee drinks. This was eons before Starbucks. I still can taste it. I lost my pop when I was 21. I am now much older, but remember the icy goodness of that drink.

 




Grandpa Bob’s carrot cake

Teva Harrison’s submission to the Apron Strings Contest has me salivating (or is it just close to lunchtime?). Teva calls herself a “rogue chef”–sounds pretty cool. Thanks for the submission. We salute Grandpa Bob! Be sure to check out the rest of the Apron Strings contest submissions and rate them. The lucky winners will receive gift certificates to shop at Fiesta Farms.


I’m the youngest, so it was a long time before I was allowed to help grate the carrots for Grandpa Bob’s famous carrot cake. I remember watching, fascinated, as the carrots turned into lofty grated haystacks.

Grandpa Bob would always let me steal a little piece of pineapple before it went into the batter, and he’d let me clean up the bowl after he made the yummy cream-cheese frosting. The best part, though, was always the first bite. I watched him bake the cake every time, and there was nothing magical about the recipe or the process, nothing to account for its deliciousness.

These days, I hesitate to eat carrot cake, as it’s always a disappointment against the memory of the special ones Grandpa Bob would bake for us when we visited. And sometimes, even though I know that it won’t be the same, I enjoy a slice because it brings me closer to his memory.



“The Avial Master”

This blog post comes from Radha Rayasam whose blog Radha Rayasam’s Home Made Sumptuous Meals reflects Rhada’s skill in the kitchen: “I’m a self taught cook, and I’ve always received flattering complements from everybody.” Thanks for the great post Rhada!  Be sure to check out the rest of the Apron Strings contest submissions and rate them. The lucky winners will receive gift certificates to shop at Fiesta Farms.


 

My dad gave me the recipe for this dish. I still remember the whole event.

I was getting ready to leave to school. I was sixteen years old. I had several strict rules in the house, like I could not go anywhere after 6:00 PM, no make up whatsoever, and I had to be accompanied by a family member to all of my freinds’ houses. I realized at that point of time that the world was very cruel outside the home, and my parents were trying to protect their precious princess, their only daughter!

I was in 12th grade, dressed in my all white churidhar, white canvas shoes, white ribbons braided in my long, oiled hair, tied next to my ears and looking like eggplants! The other girls in my class refused to tie those ribbons and let their hair loose. Letting my hair down was a big no-no in my home. So I had to wear those horrendous ribbons. The boys in my class called me saamiyar (the holy one who had renounced all worldly pleasures) and the girls in my class laughed at my title. I never cared, I just was busy in my own world. I had a best friend, and we both would giggle and talk about the latest movie songs featured on TV. You guessed it, we were not allowed to go to the theater to watch movies! We went as a family to watch old ‘golden’ movies that were supposed to instill good character in us!
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Turkey Stuffing Surprise

Love this entry from Toby Collins revealing his dad’s culinary challenges. Have you entered the Apron Strings contest yet?

 

He’s probably be mad at me for bringing this up, but one Thanksgiving dinner he was in charge of preparing the turkey. I guess you can figure out what happened, everyone was horrified to discover he had left the whole bag consisting of gizzard and giblets…oh, yes, he did! LOL