From one dirt road to the next [Sun. 7/8]

Today was day 1 of the cooking school! It’s located in her house in the village of Agios Dimitros, a bit up in the woods. Her house is down a dirt road, just like the school was (along with probably 3/4 of the rest of the residences in Ikaria) so I continue to cue Dirt Road Anthem every time we arrive. Diane and her husband (Vasilis) left early in the morning to get the people, who arrived both by plane and by boat, so Lizanna (the other assistant) and I got to work on our list of things to do in order to prepare for the first lesson.

We went across to Diane’s house around 9:30 and picked up the stuff we needed to leave a welcome gift for the guests in their hotel- a little bottle of wine and peaches and nectarines. Then we drove down the hill to deliver it. We went to the butcher’s after coming back to the village to get the lamb for tonight, but it was still closed- he stayed up super late at the wedding. Classic. When we got back to the house, I peeled a lot a lot a lot of potatoes, we generally tidied, and printed out today’s recipes to give to the people. We finished at around 2, at which point I read some Anna Karenina. I found it on their coffee table last night while waiting to leave for the wedding and started to read it because I have always wanted to! And recently downloaded it for free on iBooks, but I feel unpure (impure?) not reading a book that I can smell.

Diane got back around 3, and made some lunch. I had already had a bit to eat before because I am normal and get hungry before the time that kids get home from school, but I had some horiatiki, and thought midway how cool it was that I was eating a casual lunch whipped up from a widely-published chef. At 4, we came back and rested for a bit, before going back at 5 to finish preparing. I cut the aforementioned Idaho-worth of potatoes, cut up onion and garlic, did other cooking/preparing and then the students came around 6:15. Diane ran the demo/lesson while we helped continue to do the other dishes, and everything actually went pretty smoothly.

There are 10 people in the class- all from America, and so far I’ve gotten Colorado, Northern California, and Rochester out of it, but I haven’t really talked to everyone. The plan for tonight was to have them make dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) and we were pretty much taking care of everything else, just to give them an easy work load for the first day. The complete menu for tonight: dolmades, “yiayia’s potatoes” (basically roasted potatoes with rosemary, lemon, and oil), tzatziki, lampchops grilled outside on the barbeque, bread, and horiatiki. It was all so tasty. And everyone loved the potatoes, which was really rewarding because Lizanna and I did those ourselves. Dolmades were already my favorite Greek food but they were SO GOOD because Diane puts raisins in them, which adds a nice sweetness. Tonight was fun because I got to do a lot of cooking. The rest of the days I think are more hands on for the students, but I’m still looking forward to what we’ll be doing!

I’m pretty tired from all the work today, but in a good way. I really hope the days stay busy ish like this. Down time is nice too! But I like having something to focus on. Also I think I am going to forever smell like a Greek kitchen from now on. At least my clothes will. I generally take showers. Also I really don’t like mosquitos. I am starting to become less of a human and more of a 3D connect the dots with each passing moment.

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