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Food for Thought: Skordalia

Joined: 11/20/2014
Posts: 1
November. November means Thanksgiving, family, and most importantly turkey. The great bird seems to receive all the recognition while other foods are forgotten. However, in my house, fish continues to be the highlight of the holidays.
Every year for as long as I can remember, my parents have hosted the big Greek Thanksgiving. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and loved ones come from neighboring states to enjoy a meal in our house. And every year, my aunts will bring along a dessert with them. Usually consisting of pies, cakes and other pastries, but my eyes always nonchalantly gaze past them. My eyes somehow always makes their way to my grandma’s fish.
The dish could be made of any kind of fish, but my grandmother frequently uses tilapia. Usually lightly fried in a tempura-like batter, the fish becomes perfection in your mouth. The dish wouldn’t be complete without the amazing spread coupled with it on the dinner table! This spread is garlic heaven. Skordalia as we Greeks refer to it.
Skordalia (skor-thal-yah) has been a part of my family since I was a baby. It brings so many happy memories along with every bite. Not only is it like soul food for me and all my cousins, but it stirs many emotions that we often forget about.
My brother and I used to spend every summer with my father’s parents. Every day, all summer until I was fourteen years old. Back then, I was jealous of all my friends who got to go to camp, hang out in the neighborhood, and run wild and free. I was stuck being baby sat in my grandparents’ house. As I look back, those summer days as a child were filled with joy. They brought me closer to my grandmother while learning how to fry the fish and make skordalia.
Eating the fish and garlic heaven also takes me back in time to when my favorite cousins spent the day with my grandparents, brother and I. As usual, my brother would eat the garlic spread by itself and turn into a hot air balloon ready to explode. With those memories, we all laugh. Laughing always turns into crying because we laugh so hard!
My grandmother and I would have coffee hour at her house once in a while ever since I “moved out” and don’t stay with her in the summers. Sometimes, I get too busy with sports, school, and my job and she thinks I forget about her. Being a widow now makes her feel extremely lonely. She was always close to me because I live down the street, am the youngest, and frankly was the only one who would give up time to have coffee with her.
She had a tell whenever she missed me. She makes the lightly fried fish and skordalia. It is very obvious to my family, but she always thought she was being sneaky. My little, old, Greek grandma knows that whenever she made this dish, I would drive straight to her house. Coffee hour would be back on.
Now while I’m in college, all my new friends are ranting about how much they miss home. How much they can’t wait for Thanksgiving and stuffing and turkey. Those who know me understand that turkey is not what lures me home…they know the skordalia does.

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