Phanouropita: The Year of the Saint

by ACP on August 26, 2010

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Well, it’s been a year in the making, but today—on the eve of Saint Phanourios’s feast day—the first leg of my journey with this Greek Orthodox saint and his cake has come to a close. (If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, please click the links in the right column or the main navigation, under “Projects,” that take you to the Phanourios Charity Project page.)

You may have noticed the scoreboard I’ve kept in the blog’s sidebar. Maybe you’ve watched its numbers grow, and now you’re wondering what’s up with the question mark. Well, I can easily count the number of cakes (phanouropita) that I’ve baked to honor Saint Phanourios, but there is no way to reliably quantify the mystery or blessings, the grit or gratitude that belong to my story of the past twelve months.

If you want to read that story, plus get my favorite recipe for this traditional Greek nut-and-spice cake, you can do so over at Leite’s Culinaria, where my personal essay, “Saints, Cakes, and Redemption,” has just been published.

I’m dashing this announcement off in a rush, on my way out of town for a few days, but as soon as I’m able, I will update this post with some acknowledgements. There are so many people to thank.

For now, I’ll leave it at this: Sas efxharisto, Agios Phanourios. Thank you Saint Phanourios.


Crazy Good Peaches Come to Bellevue

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CHANGE COMES FREQUENTLY, sometimes with unmistakable, irreversible authority—think of life’s extremes: birth, death, and the rites of passage in between. More often than not, however, change appears in subtler, everyday ways; the trick is to see and appreciate the significance.
A couple of weeks ago, my life changed with the deceptively simple appearance of fuzzy-skinned peaches.
I [...]

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Acropolis Pops

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SUMMER IN THE CITY. Can’t say it’s my favorite. When the mercury reaches 100 degrees fahrenheit or more and it’s humid to boot, things get all out of whack. We stew in our own juices, bake in the corridors of urban concrete. Tempers flare; patience (mine anyway) gets pretty much liquified as well. Don’t get [...]

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Emergency Cookies

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BEST LAID PLANS often go awry, especially in a house that shelters a seven-year-old boy. Well, let it be said: a seven-year-old boy plus a forty-something man, plus me—the only one here with double-X chromosomes and plummeting estrogen levels. Sometimes the plan is for nothing other than a calm morning or evening, and yet . . [...]

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Mom’s Tea Therapy

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I RECEIVED FLOWERS for Mother’s Day, as I’m sure did countless moms across the country—a bouquet from the corner store and a cluster of purple pansies in a terra cotta pot that my son drew on with markers as part of a “parent project” at school. Flowers are lovely, but every mother knows that these [...]

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It’s Not the Heat . . .

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IT’S THE BUTTERCREAM. If the one doesn’t sap your energy, the other will buzz you good. The two combined make for a melted mess. This pretty much sums up the past week for me, and gives a hint at my recent lapse in posting. That’s right, you can blame it on buttercream—that tooth-achingly sweet frosting [...]

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Dame Julia Smiles on Portuguese Table

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BACK IN MARCH, you may have seen my post about the IACP cookbook awards. Well, verdicts came in last night as awards were distributed in Portland, Oregon, at the IACP conference ceremony, which was presided over by co-hosts Ruth Reichl and Kim Severson. I had nearly forgotten about the ceremony date, but was reminded by one [...]

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Lima Love: Salad with Two Greek Cheeses

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RESPECT YOUR BEANS. That’s the order of the day. Specifically, you should give the lowly lima bean its due. That’s right, everyone, April 20 is officially “Lima Bean Respect Day.” Lest you doubt my word, there’s even an e-card to prove the day exists (Hallmark’s got nothing on Ecardia, creator of the illustration shown above).
Of [...]

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Visit FTS at the Food Bloggers’ Bake Sale

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Save the Date!
This Saturday, April 17, Feeding the Saints will participate in the first annual National Food Bloggers Bake Sale to raise money for charity. Come to the Brooklyn Flea Market in Fort Greene, between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., and sample unique treats from the FTS kitchen. Plus, if you’re there when they open [...]

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Tsoureki Bread Pudding

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EASTER HAS ENDED, and the food coma is starting to wear off, finally. After copious portions of lamb and lemony roasted potatoes, after way too many eggs and koulouria and slices of tsoureki, the Greek Easter bread . . . You notice that there’s still quite a bit of everything left over. What to do [...]

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Kokkinopefti: Red Eggs and Koulouria

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THE RED FALLS. In Greek you say Kokkinopefti, and this very literal, symbolic description serves as one popular name for the day, Holy Thursday. The red comes down, washing what it may. In this case, eggs for Easter.
In Greece on Great Thursday—what some call Maundy Thursday in English (and which, when I was little, I heard [...]

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