Sunday, September 2, 2012


We say the world is getting smaller with 24-hour news, jet travel, and the Internet.  We can learn about and see pictures of anywhere in the world, we can buy whatever and from where ever we want on the "net" and travel so much easier and farther away than we ever did.  However, the world was really small when I was young.  In a city like Grand Rapids, Michigan, the world was your neighborhood.  In a small town, the world was your little town.

I lived in a Polish neighborhood growing up in Grand Rapids.  There were Polish, Lithuanians, Dutch, and some Irish.  The Polish were the majority so I grew up eating Polish Sausage, Kiska, also with German wieners and Ring Bologna thrown in from the corner markets in the neighborhood. 


At home my family cooked from our  Dutch/German heritage.  I didn't know that at the time as I thought that was how everyone cooked.  There were no ethnic sections in markets, no ethnic restaurants, and no one very different from anyone else.  I was different because I was Protestant while everyone else was pretty much Catholic.

Greek food was certainly not part of my life.  I had my first Chinese food when I was in my early 20's in East Lansing, home of Michigan State University.  What can I say to those who grew up on ethnic foods, I lived in the heart of the Midwest back in the 40's and 50's.  In the 1980's, Greek food was Cincinnati chili with cinnamon flavor in the meat, and Souvlaki with cucumber sauce at festivals and fairs served from food carts and tents.  The cinnamon was off setting for me as I had always used it as a "sweet" spice and never with meat. 

Then a few years ago I had the chance to go to the Greek Luncheon put on by Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church which is every November in Grand Rapids.  Tom and I fell in love with Greek food.  The more we had of the cinnamon used in meat, the more familiar we became with it and the more we found it enjoyable.  Now every chance I have I go to the Holy Trinity's events.

 Let the Festival begin.
There were clothes for sale.

Wonderful smells were in the air.

Fun for the children was not forgotten.

 Beautiful Greek Tradition clothes were worn by the dancers even though it was hot, hot, hot, and the clothes were made of wool.
Let the dancing begin.

Such dedicated and talented young people.

There was something for everyone in the drinks department.  All Martha and I wanted was ice cold water and lots of it.

"What happens at the Greek Festival, stays at the Greek Festival so you can't find out how much I ate.

The prices were very reasonable for the fabulous food.
The people were so welcoming!!!

Martha had a Gyro.

Gyro meat is sliced.

Gyro meat grills.

Martha's gyro.

I had the Moussaka,  eggplant and potatoes in a meat sauce and smothered with a white sauce.
It was fantastic as is all the Ladies of the Church food.  They work so hard and make such fabulous Greek dishes.  Cousin Martha is still getting use to the cinnamon.

Whatever it is.......it is!!!!

One of the dinners offered was lamb shanks.  Here they are being cooked, each shank wrapped in aluminum foil.

Lamb shanks ready to serve.

The lamb shank dinner with Greek salad and rice shaped pasta.  I really push myself to do this blog.  I walked up to a complete stranger and asked if I could take a photo of her meal.   This is not easy for a shy person plus she thought I was totally nuts.
So true!

Stay tuned to Michigan Cottage Cook to see all the Greek cookies that were available at the Festival.
An easy and delicious way to cook lamb shanks. 

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