Last week our dear friend, Maria, paid us a surprise visit. In her hands was a clear box wrapped in red and green ribbon with glittery little Christmas ornaments. Inside were divine Greek pastries made with TLC by someone at her church: baklava, Greek shortbread cookies with almonds, and melomakarona -- Greek Christmas honey cookies
So happy to see Maria, Louie and I donned our masks and together we walked outside to sit and social distance at the table on our front lawn.
What a delicious encounter! Maria had only a little bit of time as she was making other stops that morning. So, as we chatted, Louie looked at the box and said, “Why wait, I’m going to eat a baklava right now!” Maria chimed in, “Please do!” “Athena, aren’t you going to have one?” I had just finished a bowl of oatmeal, but the baklava looked exquisite with all its beautiful layers of phyllo dough and finely crushed nuts. Maria (she’s Greek) said that it is the BEST baklava she has eaten. That spoke tons. After such a testimonial, how could I resist reaching for one? Never mind that the oatmeal was still digesting.
OMG, Louie and I just about fell out of our chairs. Dee-li-cious! Then Maria said that she couldn’t figure out how the phyllo dough inside could stay so crunchy. And I noticed the perfect amount of honey – for my taste: I couldn’t even see it, but I could taste its gorgeous sweetness. I held the beautiful baklava without my fingers getting sticky with honey – and simply fell in love.
Sadly, Maria had to run. But what a wonderful spontaneous morning! The biggest regret was that we couldn’t give each other big warm holiday hugs, something we miss so much.
And just when I thought the baklava would be a hard act to follow, I stared into the box and tried a shortbread cookie covered with powdered sugar, then reached for a melomakarona that reminded me of a biscuit. I expected the structure of traditional cookies.
O-M-G. After the first bite, the lightly sweetened confections burst into magical pixie dust. Now, that was fun.
Thank you, Maria, for delivering your bright Christmas cheer!
This is your country, and it’s up to you to save it.” – English translation of a saying in Taiwan
Washing Hands + Wearing a Mask + Social Distancing = Saving Lives