19 January 2008

Food for Thought


















Erin over at Skinny Gourmet has come up with an event for the end of this month entitled Food for Thought. As the title suggests Proust had his madeleines ...a cookie (or is it a cake) which evoked strong memories of his childhood days from a single crumb. To read the entire passage from Remembrance of Things Past continue to read here .

"She sent for one of those squat plump little cakes called "petites madeleines," which look as though they had been molded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell … I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure invaded my senses …

And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray … when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Leonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane …. and the whole of Combray and its surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being, town and garden alike, from my cup of tea."

So what would be my madeleine?

From the photo you have probably already guessed it! Now what childhood memories would evoke from the consumption of dolmades, the quintessential Greek food.... from a British girl in Canada? I swear I must have been Greek in a past life for one...at least that is what I have dreamt of.... I am Greek at heart.

A madeleine can be a food or a smell or a whisper that brings back strong memories from the past. My first memory of ever eating a dolmade was in a Greek restaurant in Penticton. We used to visit there quite often. I am very fond of taking the easy route and purchasing a can of dolmades and eating them like candy. With each mouthful I remember sitting in the outdoor patio of Theoz Restaurant with its warm summer night breezes and dreams of a trip to Greece somewhere in my future. I remember the feelings of these magical nights and being with that someone special with laughter and fresh ideas.

When I close my eyes and consume even more dolmades with every luscious, citrusy mouthful I picture myself with a warm Agean breeze sitting at an outdoor taverna on a Greek island in the company of warm friends and a bottle of raki....which is also my friend. Hic! We sat in Aglaia Kremezi's kitchen on the island of Kea at her cooking school Keartisanal rolling dolmades from freshly blanched grape leaves from her extensive gardens with a group of new found friends. Rolling hundreds of dolmades goes much more quickly with good conversation, a little wine and some bazouka music! Later the following day we were eating those same dolmades at a sea side picnic with fish caught fresh from the sea and lamb chops roasting on a makeshift grill between snorkelling and diving off of cliffs into the azure waters and drinking exceptional Greek wines.

I close my eyes even tighter and I am sitting on a sun-drenched patio here in the Okanagan with some good friends and eating the same dolmades made from newly blanched grape leaves from vineyards here in the valley. Good food, good friends and good times with a bottle of excellent Greek wine pictured below....my favourite Greek wine that can be purchased here outside of Greece.


I can sit in my living room with a can of dolmades on my favourite dish and take the simplest pleasure. Life is about the small moments, the memories, the love and friendship of those close to you. I close my eyes often and dream of far away places and the warm sea breezes, but, I am always glad to come home....

For the original dolmades recipes of Aglaia's and my own on this blog visit here .

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18 comments:

  1. Val, you're more than capable of making your own dolmades...you'll never touch the canned ones again!

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  2. Ha! Ha! I still enjoy the canned ones as a really quick fix fix. Let others eat chocolate and bon bons...give me a can of dolmades.

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  3. I so miss having greek restaurants closeby. Dolmades are certainly missed but I came across some vine leaves the other day and shall attempt making them! Thanks so much for sharing.

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  4. Beautiful dish Valli :)

    Talking about leftovers for lunch... they are the best... most of food taste better next day, but in this house leftovers never survive till next day... :(

    Margot

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  5. I could sure go for some of those now.

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  6. Val, Are you sure you're not Greek? That was such a nice post! I could almost invision my self being there, eating and drinking (hic) too!

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  7. What a lovely post! I love Greek food too, especially dolmades.

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  8. Lovely post, Val, and what a good time you must have had at Ms. Kremezi's cooking school. I love her books! You inspired me to pull a package of dolmades out of the freezer - thanks!

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  9. You make me want to pack my bags, buy a plane ticket, and jet off. Hopefully, someday.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  10. I think Dolmades are the only thing about Greece that I don't like :}.

    Nevertheless, this is a lovely post. Food is so bound up with who and what we are.

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  11. Val, what a great post! I have to admit that you made me really nostalgic for the Armenian food my Grandmother used to make. Every year for Madagha Festival she'd make homemade dolmas filled with lamb and rice. My mouth is watering a little just thinking of them. Thanks to a strong Lebanses presence in Ghana, we can also get Lebanese-style dolmas here!

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  12. That is certainly a good memory to hold on to - anything that conjures up beautiful blue soothing holiday thoughts is a winner.

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  13. I could almost feel the breeze in my face with your beautiful story! This is the first time I hear about Dolmades... instead of going to a Greek restaurant (there's some in Barcelona) maybe I should plan a trip to one of the fantastic islands!!!
    Great post, Val!!!

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  14. I can see why these beautiful bundles would have such glowing memories of Greece. I still remember the ones I made last year, and I've never been to Greece...yet!

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  15. Valli, look at that bottle of wine! What a beautiful label also! I am going to jot this one down and see if I can locate it here!

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  16. lol Peter and Valli! I agree with both of you, actually...I much prefer homemade, but canned will work for a quickie snack! :) Yum. Thank goodness for my Iranian and Lebanese restaurants...they make lovely wraps almost like Greek ones...each has their own distinct taste...but for the real Greek dolmades in lemon sauce I have to fasten my apron strings. :) YUM!

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  17. What a wonderful post, Val. I love the way that a bite or smell of something can transport us to another time and place. I have never actually tried dolmades so shall have to give them a try.

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  18. Val, the least we can do for you is to name you "Honorary Citizen of Greece". You post more about Greece than we do and that door on your front page, whenever I see it, I want to leave Athens and go to an island. However, I do agree with Peter, skip the canned ones, they cannot be compared to homemade ones.

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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