Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Going to the Greek....

By Jeanne Adams

When I was growing up, among the many things I wanted to be was Greek.

Seriously.

I hear you laughing at my blond, very English/Scotch self, but I did.

Back then, my BFF was from a HUGE Greek-American family. She had this thick, gloriously black hair and sparkling black eyes, which I envied and although she only had one brother, she had a legion of incredibly handsome cousins and uncles and so on.

If I couldn't BE Greek, I wanted to grow up to marry one. Preferably her cousin, Anthony. (The picture there on the right bears a striking resemblance to the studly Anthony. Do you begin to see why I wanted to be Greek?)

I know that your imagination sometimes makes things bigger and more handsome than they might have been, but I found an old picture the other day (too faded to scan) and Anthony? Well, he's just as stunning as I remembered. Ha!

That family was like Nia Vardalos's characters in My Big Fat Greek Wedding in some ways. There was Saturday Greek school, and big picnics and festivals at the church, and lots and lots of baklava.

When my BFF's family, along with her long-widowed grandmother would go to Greece for a month in the summer I would look after her Grandmother's dog. The dog was a massive, enormous German Shepherd named Princess. Most of the neighborhood was terrified of this dog. She didn't care for most of the 'hood either, so the feeling was mutual.

For some reason however, Princess and I, we got along just fine.

It could be that I just loved her, or I was smitten with my paycheck: Mrs. G would give me $10 and bake me a whoooolllle tray of baklava in return for walking Princess twice a day, feeding her and so on throughout that month.

That baklava was astounding. I can still taste it - fresh and magnificent. It was the flaky kind, home-made, with the cloves piercing the top layer of phyllo dough, and cut into big, honey-dripping triangles. O. M. Gosh.
Sheer heaven.

And while I never learned to like stuffed grape leaves, I learned to like pretty much anything else food-related that had the word "Greek" attached to it. Soulvlaki. Moussaka. Greek salad.

So when it came to hero material, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that Davros Gianiakopulos popped into my consciousness fully formed - like Athena, patroness of Athens, sprang from the head of her father, Zeus. Grins.

Unlike the fabled Anthony of my childhood, Dav is dark-haired and dark-eyed. I kind of pictured him as built like a tall version of Vin Diesel, with John Stamos's coloring and wicked smile.

This is all very well, but hero's like the famed legends of old, need a weakness, something which shows their humanity, their vulnerability. Dav has that. Along with the ability to make pots and pots of money too.

Now the woman he loves, Carrie McCray, is pretty sharp herself. She's an entrepreneur, a gallery owner, and a sharp enough businesswoman to dig out of the financial hole (and PR nightmare) her late husband left her with in Deadly Little Secrets. Dav's had a thing for her for years, unrequited, of course, since she was married.

Now, as Deadly Little Lies comes to the shelves, Carrie is finally out from under the cloud her late-husband left, and free to make some new decisions.

Pretty cool, right?

Yep, as long as you don't get crosswise of Dav's enemies. Bwahahha!

So all this fun with Greeks, and Greece was like going back in my own personal history. I got to re-learn some long-forgotten words in Greek, as well as some new curse-words as well. Writing Dav was an absolute blast.

You see, it turns out one of my current BFF's is also Greek. You'll see that she's credited in the front of both Deadly Little Secrets and Deadly Little Lies, for her help.

Y'know, it must be some kind of homing beacon, or longing in my soul, because in every stage of my life, I've had a friend who was Greek. I like that.

Gus Portokalos, from My Big Fat Greek wedding would, I'm sure, attribute it to some long forgotten Greek Ancestor.

He'd probably also figure out some way that my name was a declension of a Greek noun, or related to a Greek word in some way.


Gus was right though. We owe a LOT to the Greeks. Warfare, sure, but art and music and democracy, a lot of broad-based theology, international commerce, olive oil, pine nuts, and marathons.

Hey, they gave us the Olympics; a chance every four years to oogle really, really fit, good looking people (men and women) wearing spandex. What's not to love?

Of course in ancient days they would have run that marathon nekkid, but now...you know, global warming, skin cancer...they go for spandex.

Not complaining. Really. I'm not. The oogling's still pretty good.

Every where you look, from architecture to fashion's strappy sandals and fold-filled-dresses, to the laurel leaves and torches on most of our money (in the USA), the Greeks have put their mark on even our distant-in-time-culture. Are you a Sorority sister? Fraternity guy? You're a Greek then, right? It's allll over us. Pretty darn cool.

Now you know the "secret" behind my darling Dav. He was the grown up version of my crush on the (probably long-since-gone-bald) gorgeous Anthony.

He's the technicolor fantasy version, complete with tuxedo and wicked, gleaming white smile.

One of the joys of being a writer is, I can bring him to life as hot and virile and freshly minted as that long ago crush.

See? Part of me still wants to be Greek.

I even had a gyro for lunch too.

So what about you? Is there a culture other than your own that you really, really love?

I have a friend that wanted to be Jewish because he thought the traditions were so incredibly cool and solid.

And in Eva Ibbottson's wonderful Countess Below Stairs (Remember that bit, Anna C?) one of the characters, the delightful Honorable Olive, wanted desperately to be a Russian.

Is there a country that calls to you, as if you once lived there, or might one day go and feel "at home"?

Joanie, I think you said you felt this way about Ireland when you went there, and I know my friend who's barely a 10th Irish felt so much that way when she stepped on Irish soil that she nearly didn't leave!

Or maybe the wildness of the Steppes calls to you, or the tropical forests of the Congo, or the mountains of Peru.

I'm not talking about the day-to-day living there, or the inconvenience of living in a different land, I'm wondering what culture and tradition calls to your soul.

Care to share?

(And DeDe P. if you're out there somewhere, thanks for being my friend. Grins.)

61 comments:

Mozette said...

I don't think I ever wanted to be anything but what I was; and that's Viking/Scottish descent. We have so many great things that we did in history and myth; not to mention that you can't lose us in any city in the world (well, okay in Scotland; but really, I'm an Aussie and redheads - natural redheads - aren't all that common).
The one thing I do hate is the fair skin; it's dreadful. I burn so easily in Summer. But the red hair is so much sought after by people that when I'm asked, I can fortunately say that I'm from a redheaded family; so that gene is strong. Even my niece is auburn; and that's saying something.
Funny thing is: Mum, my bro and I are all redheaded; and we're all lefties... Dad's got black hair and right handed; now, that's weird. :P

Nancy said...

Mozette, congrats on the Golden Rooster!

Jeanne, I never particularly wanted to be any other ethnicity. I just wanted to be a superhero. Which was about as likely as a change in ethnicity.

I come from polyglot English, Spanish, Scots-Irish heritage. I was very interested in Scotland as a kid, but I can't say I aspired to be Scottish. I didn't know about haggis at the time. If I had, I would've avoided anything that might entail eating it. I did (and still do) like bagpipe music.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Mozette! Welcome to the Lair! And congrats on nabbing the first comment. That means you get the fabled "Golden Rooster" a virtual chook of unrelenting mischief who will dog your footsteps throughout your day. :>

He likes red-heads too. Ha!

You said: Funny thing is: Mum, my bro and I are all redheaded; and we're all lefties... Dad's got black hair and right handed; now, that's weird. :P

How interesting! I have some of that in my family too...red-heads, lefties, etc. And Scotch on that side. Hmmmmm....

And I hear ya' on the fair skin thing. Sigh.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Nancy! You said: I never particularly wanted to be any other ethnicity. I just wanted to be a superhero. Which was about as likely as a change in ethnicity.

Grins. Had to LOL about the haggis. That dish does get reviled (and is somewhat revolting).

I love being of Scoth/English descent, and have always been proud of it. But there's something about those Greeks....yummy.

Anna Campbell said...

Mozette, are you new here? Welcome! I'm not sure if you know but you win a horrible mythical golden rooster for the day. It's kind of a curse and a blessing wrapped up in one!

Jeanne, what a gorgeous post! I wanted to be anything that was glamorous, actually. Which wasn't as far as I was concerned a nice farmer's daughter from south-east Queensland in boring old Australia. Of course I've seen the error of my ways since but when I was a kid, I wanted Cathy and Heathcliff and Errol Flynn and War and Peace. Actually there was a stage I wanted to be Russian (well, preferably the Czar's daughter than a peasant - see what I mean about glamorous?). I really loved My Life in Ruins too - in fact I'm going to blog about it one day soon. Got awful reviews here but I thought it was a lovely movie.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Anna! Thanks for welcoming Mozette as well. I think she is new amongst us. Grins.

You said:I wanted to be anything that was glamorous, actually. Which wasn't as far as I was concerned a nice farmer's daughter from south-east Queensland in boring old Australia

Hahah! See, this is it! Like Nancy and Mozette, it wasn't so much that I didn't like my heritage - I did! - but it wasn't very Continental, or glamourous.

And it wasn't mysterious or particularly ancient either. And being a fanciful gal, I delighted in all things ancient and mysterious - not to mention hunky.

Grins. Sounds like you were the same way!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

G'nite for now, Gents and Ladies...I'll be back on the morrow!

Sheree said...

Growing up in a city, I had friends of many ethnicities (including one Greek bestie! until her family moved back to Greece). I don't think I had ever wanted to be any of them though. Of course, I'm more motivated by food so no to any ethnicity with iffy cuisine, like haggis and vegemite - keep in mind I do eat snails (both Chinese and French style) and jellyfish so it's not that I'm that picky but some of those... *shudders*

Jane said...

Hi Jeanne,
One of my favorite teachers in junior high was Greek. Her name was Ms. Pappas. She was our Spanish teacher. I was always fascinated with the Italian culture, language and cuisine.

Mozette said...

Hahaha! The Golden Rooster! How funny! I've been having the worst day... and now I've got a virtual rooster following me around??? :P
Oh, jeeez... :)

I've eaten Haggis - apparently - but I don't remember doing it. I was horribly drunk, in Glasgow and was told afterwards that I ate everyone else's too! This was because I was given a full-to-the-brim glass of 21-year-old scotch while everyone else received a little nip of the stuff... all due to me and my Scottish heritage! The next few hours of that night were very patchy. I remember only bits and pieces; from needing help to go to the ladies' loos to a Scotsman wanting to show me what was under his kilt (which I didn't see); then I promptly passed out on the bus back to the hotel! The next day saw me with THE WORSE HANGOVER IN MY LIFE! Haggis? Again? Never...

@Anna: I'm new to this particular blog; however, I'm not new to blogging. I manage a blog called My Reading List (just google it and it'll show up). I've been looking for new blogs to put up on my blog roll and so - seeing I don't read romance novels too much - thought to add this one on as free advertising. :)

marybelle said...

My family are a lovely mix of different cultures. I can't say one called to me more than any other. I could see myself traipsing through Great Britain quite happily though.

Anna Campbell said...

Well, we're Bandits, Mozette. We'll steal whatever publicity is going ;-) Thank you for choosing us!

Kim in Hawaii said...

I spent my teenage years in Clearwater. Nearby is Tarpon Springs - one of the largest Greek communities in the US. So I came to understand Greek customs through community activities. Love the food!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Scotland and Ireland have always called to me and my mother said the blood is thin but there. About half of her immediate family were redheads, my daughter and granddaughter are reheads, I wasn't so blessed but got that fair complexion (I was robbed). My father and his family on the other hand were all dark complexions, black hair and blue eyes, that was always a shock. His eyes were downright scary, pale blue and it was like he could look right through you.

Helen said...

Well done Mozette have fun with him

Jeanne
Fantastic post oh how I love The Greeks LOL and the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding I felt so at home watching that because I grew up right next door to a fantastic Greek Family we even had a gate put in the fence so we could get to each others places quicker especially when we could smell
Mrs D cooking yummo all that wonderful food and at Greek Easter with the red eggs and almond biscuits and cabbage rolls with egg and lemon sauce the list goes on LOL. I even used to go to church with them on Sundays.

I spent so much time with Tessi and Alex we went to school together and out and were always having fun Mrs D and my Mum where the best of buddies as well.

So to answer your question yes I always wanted to be Greek when I was younger and one place I would love to visit is The Greek Isles (Ah Shirley Valentine LOL).

Jeanne I have Deadly Little Lies waiting for me to read on my E reader and I am soo looking forward to Dav and Carrie's story I loved them in Deadly Little Secrets. Thanks for the memories

Have Fun
Helen

Anna Sugden said...

Great post, Jeanne.

As one who is of very mixed heritage, I can tell you I aspired to be from a normal family with a normal name and normal everything else! Yes, I always wanted to be called something like Elizabeth and be blonde, blue-eyed etc. I don't anymore, of course - love the differences *g*.

I also longed for those big, rambunctious families.

I always feel like home when I touch down in the US. Actually, in Canada too. Part of my soul is definitely North American. I know some of that is having lived there for so long, in two different stints, but I do feel like I have a foot in two different countries.

My recent trip to Australia had me feeling like I was going home too. I felt very comfortable there.

Oh, and I love haggis! Have a great recipe for roasted butternut squash and haggis. Yum.

Anna Sugden said...

Forgot to say - another thing about my mixed heritage and my looks is that everyone in the Med and Middle East thinks you're from their country - Greeks, Italian, Spanish, Turks etc. People are so nice to you if they think you have their heritage.

Worked well until I was in Cyprus and the Greek Cypriots thought I was Turkish and the Turkish Cypriots thought I was Greek!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Sheree! I'm LOL about the picky eating.

You said: Of course, I'm more motivated by food so no to any ethnicity with iffy cuisine, like haggis and vegemite - keep in mind I do eat snails (both Chinese and French style) and jellyfish so it's not that I'm that picky but some of those... *shudders*

You eat jellyfish and you shudder at haggis? Eek! (just teasing) How does one prepare jellyfish anyway?

Several of my son's besties have moved back to their country of origin. Being in DC, there are a lot of diplomatic families. He gets broken up about it, but he ends up with email pals in amazing places.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Jane!

You said: I was always fascinated with the Italian culture, language and cuisine.

Isn't it wonderful? Especially the cuisine. I adore Italian food even more than I like Greek food. My favorite movie about being Italian is Moonstruck. "La Bella Luna..."

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Well, then hey there, Mozette and welcome to the Lair!

You said: Hahaha! The Golden Rooster! How funny! I've been having the worst day... and now I've got a virtual rooster following me around??? :P
Oh, jeeez... :)


Hahahah! Well, depending on your mood, he'll either make your day worse, or better. Snork!

He's pretty funny and gets up to some interesting antics, including covert military manuvers with one of our gentlemen bloggers, stealing (he calls it liberating) tim-tams at every opportunity, and generally "doing the James Bond" and charming all the chicks.

He'll even deign to blog himself, occasionally. grins.

I'm going to confess to LOL about the haggis. I guess anything looks and tastes good through a haze of 100 year old Scotch! Eeek! Wow. I'll be on the lookout for that treatment when I go to me awd homeland and I'll be wary. grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Mozette said: I manage a blog called My Reading List (just google it and it'll show up). I've been looking for new blogs to put up on my blog roll and so - seeing I don't read romance novels too much - thought to add this one on as free advertising. :)

Thanks, Mozette!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Marybelle! You said: I could see myself traipsing through Great Britain quite happily though.

Ohhh, me too! Love the idea of that. And I speak the language...sort of. Hahaha!

What's your favorite kind of ethnic food?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Kim! *waving wildly* How's life in one of the fairest states in the land?

Talk about culture...

But you also said: Nearby is Tarpon Springs - one of the largest Greek communities in the US. So I came to understand Greek customs through community activities. Love the food!

Now that's a tidbit of trivia I didn't know! wow.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Dianna! Oh, I know what you mean about the fair coloring. My sis has that glorious red hair to go with it and that somehow makes it worth it in some ways as you get ALL the guy's attention. Me? Blonde and fair. Not nearly so contrast-y and interesting. :>

What is it about guys and red-heads, btw?

You also said: My father and his family on the other hand were all dark complexions, black hair and blue eyes, that was always a shock. His eyes were downright scary, pale blue and it was like he could look right through you.


Oooh, I LOVE that combination. I guess that's what they call the Black Irish, and Black Scots - that coal-dark hair and piercing blue eyes. LOVE IT!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Helen! Oh, it sounds like we had similar friends! How wonderful.

You said: So to answer your question yes I always wanted to be Greek when I was younger and one place I would love to visit is The Greek Isles (Ah Shirley Valentine LOL).

Me too! All that blue water and white-washed buildings and great food, and gorgeous golden-skinned men....yum! Hahaha!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Anna! I'm LOL about wanting "the normal" - grass is always greener, right?

I always laughed about that in My Big Fat Greek Wedding too, as Toula struggles with this massive, bustling family which sometimes embarasses her as she finds her place in the world.

You said: As one who is of very mixed heritage, I can tell you I aspired to be from a normal family with a normal name and normal everything else! Yes, I always wanted to be called something like Elizabeth and be blonde, blue-eyed etc. I don't anymore, of course - love the differences *g*.

I think it was the sense of connection to the Old Country, and that huge family that were the attractions for me, as much as that glorious black hair.

When one's braid is about as thin as a pencil, one envies the girl sitting in front of one with a braid as big around as your wrist. Grins.

My family's so entrenched in America (1600's arrival) that I think it wasn't as glamourous to me back then to be "plain old American". Now, pretty cool. Back then, being able to speak something besides English was like knowing code.

And those cousins.....oh, my!

A friend of mine emailed me after the blog posted and accused me of dreaming up this post just so I could put in pictures of Vin Diesel, John Stamos and the other yummy men.

Yeah? What of it? Hahahah!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna said: Worked well until I was in Cyprus and the Greek Cypriots thought I was Turkish and the Turkish Cypriots thought I was Greek!

Oh, my. Guess that was a bit dicey.

Hey, you'll have to send me the haggis recipe. Not that I can make it over here, but I'd love to have the recipe, just to know it.

PJ said...

Great blog, Jeanne! My heritage is mostly Scots, English, Irish but the country that causes my soul to sing is Italy. I've been told there's not a drop of Italian ancestry in my mix but I'm thinking some dark-eyed rogue had to have slipped in there somewhere. ;-) The first time I visited, at age 16, I felt as if I'd come home and that feeling has only grown stronger with each successive visit.

PJ said...

Kim said, I spent my teenage years in Clearwater. Nearby is Tarpon Springs - one of the largest Greek communities in the US.

One of the best evenings the late dh and I ever spent was at a little hole-in-the-wall Greek restaurant down by the sponge docks in Tarpon Springs. Fabulous Greek food, delicious Greek wine, music, singing and dancing (courtesy of the wine). Everyone sang (staff and diners alike), several of us danced among the tables (adults and children both) and by the time we left (with me still cradling our second bottle of Greek wine) (hey, it was half-full!), we felt as if we'd been adopted into one huge, happy Greek family. :)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

PJ said: the country that causes my soul to sing is Italy. I've been told there's not a drop of Italian ancestry in my mix but I'm thinking some dark-eyed rogue had to have slipped in there somewhere. ;-)

I love it! Don't you love everything about the culture and the food? Italy is just delicious from a food stand point and it ain't bad from the man-flesh standpoint either! *wiggles eyebrows, waggles Groucho Marx cigar*

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

PJ said of Tarpon Springs: Fabulous Greek food, delicious Greek wine, music, singing and dancing (courtesy of the wine). Everyone sang (staff and diners alike), several of us danced among the tables (adults and children both) and by the time we left (with me still cradling our second bottle of Greek wine) (hey, it was half-full!), we felt as if we'd been adopted into one huge, happy Greek family. :)

Awww, what a lovely, lovely memory! And yummo on the food and wine and great time with the late DH.

HUGS!

Nancy said...

Sheree wrote: Of course, I'm more motivated by food so no to any ethnicity with iffy cuisine,

See, I was with you until you got to the snails and jellyfish part. Based on that, I think we'd all agree you are not picky, but I think we all have different standards for "iffy." Mine would definitely include snails and jellyfish.

The boy, however, made a point of eating jellyfish at a local Chinese restaurant. He said the texture was not, to his surprise, very jelly-ish. I wasn't there--didn't even want to watch that, let alone try it.

What's vegemite?

Kaelee said...

I'm English on my mother's side and Italian on my father's side. I love food of all kinds so I'm a child of the world on my eating side. There are very few things that I won't try. I love Greek food. I don't like vegemite either.

MsHellion said...

I love My Big Fat Greek Wedding--wonderful story. :)

Scottish. I have a calling for Scotland. The fact that my favorite books--Harry Potter--are set in a school IN Scotland only makes it that much better.

I wasn't aware my family was Scottish until recently. My mother was not a fan of anything Scottish--so she insisted we were all English, all the time. And a little French too for good measure (incidentally one of the last nationalities I'd like to claim *shrugs*).

I've also had a fascination for Prague. I'm not sure about the whole country--but the city of Prague was of a great interest to me. It just seems so entrenched in history, it would be a wonderous place to explore.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy, the boy is more adventurous than I! Haha!

You said: The boy, however, made a point of eating jellyfish at a local Chinese restaurant. He said the texture was not, to his surprise, very jelly-ish. I wasn't there--didn't even want to watch that, let alone try it.

Unless it was deep-batter-fried, and therefore not recognizable as jellyfish, I don't believe I'd want to be there for consumption either. Snork!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

HI Kaelee!

Ohh, what a lovely heritage! :>

You said: There are very few things that I won't try. I love Greek food. I don't like vegemite either.

Ahh, another lover of Greek food. Isn't it wonderful?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy, vegemite is a uniquely Australian food substance. It's made (of all things) from USED brewer's yeast. It's a spead for sandwiches and crackers and that sort of thing - evidently salty and kinda beer-y.

I've not had the (dubious) pleasure, so I don't know if I like it or not. Grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Awww, Hellion, me lassie! Yer as Scottish as can be. Look at that red hair in yer icon!

Grins.

You said: Scottish. I have a calling for Scotland. The fact that my favorite books--Harry Potter--are set in a school IN Scotland only makes it that much better.

So true, so true!

And my dad and step-mom went to Prague on their honeymoon. My Dad said it was one of the most fascinating places he'd ever been - entrenched, as you said as well, in history.

You should go. Grins.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Cool post, Jeanne. My attraction has always been mainly for Native American cultures. They endlessly fascinate me. One of the saddest things, other than the rampant poverty on the nation's Indian reservations, is that so many of the tribes are losing their very languages.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Trish said: My attraction has always been mainly for Native American cultures. They endlessly fascinate me.

That's so cool, Trish! And you're right - its so sad that so many are losing their languages. The Irish and Scotch have been making a concerted effort over the last 20 years to make sure that Gaelic isn't lost.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna MacMeans said...

LOL - I've always wanted little bits of countries, not the whole enchilada - so I guess I'm like the melting pot that's American. But if I had one country that I would get that "I'm home" feeling, I would guess it would be Ireland. I've never been there so I could be wrong in this - but as the grandparents that I never met both came over from Ireland, I feel a close connection (grandfather died before I was born, grandmother passed away shortly after I was born. It's my strongest ethnic link.

Janga said...

My heritage is Scots-Irish and German, but I’m definitely a Hellenophile. I loved Greek mythology as a child, read and reread and reread Mary Stewart’s Greek novels later. One of my favorite courses as an undergrad was Classic Culture: Greece with an incredible—and super tough--professor. We read Mary Renault’s books and Gertrude Atherton’s The Immortal Marriage (about Aspasia and Pericles). I don’t remember the source, but I’ve never forgotten a quote about Greece the prof used: “All that we know of beauty, half is hers.” One of my dearest friends since grad school days is Greek. Not only are her Greek dishes wonderful, but she is also the most hospitable person I know. Her husband is German, and they have two Chinese daughters. It’s like a mini-UN at their house.

Kate Carlisle said...

Great fun post, Jeanne! If my choice of nationality depended on my favorite food, I would be in big trouble. I'll eat almost anything! Oh, maybe it shows ... hmmm ...

Wait. I was doing fine until somebody mentioned Vegemite. Now I'm not so sure. Okay, I admit I've never tried it, but it sounds scary. But I promise I'll give it a try someday. Is there any way to deep fry it? I agree with Jeanne that almost anything tastes better deep fried. ;-)

Mozette, congrats on snagging the bird! Don't worry, he'll do anything you ask him to do--as long as there's a bribe of alcohol or chocolate involved. :-)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Donna! How's the writing going today?

You said: I've always wanted little bits of countries, not the whole enchilada - so I guess I'm like the melting pot that's American.

I love this. We are a mish-mosh, aren't we? Maybe knowing that in my own background I was "boring old Scotch/English" is what made me so eager to learn about and embrace the Greek culture. I don't know.

You grandparents came from Ireland? What part? I'm tracking my DH's g-parents now, in their imigration from Ireland to Canada to the US.

Or the food. It's pretty much alllll about the food for me. Hahah!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Janga! My Hellenic soul-sister!

Grins. How cool. You've traced some of my steps in tandem. Although my Classic Cultures prof. was a complete wastoid, rather than tough. Snork!

My favorite teacher for history was my HS Western Civ Teacher Nick Wilberscheid. He made history come alive. BRILLIANT man. And he too loved the Greeks. Grins.

You also said: One of my dearest friends since grad school days is Greek. Not only are her Greek dishes wonderful, but she is also the most hospitable person I know. Her husband is German, and they have two Chinese daughters. It’s like a mini-UN at their house.


I love that! How fun! My neighborhood is this way, as you can imagine from being in DC. Greek, Italian, Persian, Argentinian and us good 'ol 'Mericans. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Kate!! I think that's why they call America the Melting Pot - we're always willing to put a pot on and throw food in it and eat! At least we are at my house, and the more varied in culture, the better. Ha!

You said: Wait. I was doing fine until somebody mentioned Vegemite. Now I'm not so sure. Okay, I admit I've never tried it, but it sounds scary. But I promise I'll give it a try someday. Is there any way to deep fry it? I agree with Jeanne that almost anything tastes better deep fried. ;-)

Deep fried Twinkies, anyone? Grins. I'll admit that Vegemite sounds fairly vile, but then again so does Spam.

SNORK!!!

jo robertson said...

Delightful post, Jeannie. Glad to hear "the rest of the story"!

I've always wanted to be more "native American" than my slight percentage. My fraternal grandmother's mother was Cherokee and her "husband" was a mountain man, probably had a nice still in the Kentucky wilds LOL.

catslady said...

Both sides of my family are Sicilian but unfortunately I've never been so it's hard to say. A country that I really enjoyed was France (my husband was born there but is American although he is half French on his mother's side). If I could blend the Italian and French I think that would be perfect.

Gannon Carr said...

Jeanne, I love your story...and that inspirational photo. WOW!

I'm of Irish, English, Scottish, Swiss, Czech, and Native American descent---can you say "melting pot." *g* I've always loved Scotland---been there twice and it's a dream. I'm dying to go to Ireland. I have a feeling once I get there I won't want to leave. :-)

Prague is gorgeous---we went there when we were living in Italy, and it is really magical. And speaking of magic, yes, Italy definitely fits that category. The food, the culture, the men. LOL Lucky for me my husband is half Italian. *snork*

We also went to Corfu---another fab time! Love me some Greek food...and dancing around the restaurant. :-)

Pat Cochran said...

I'm Spanish, Mexican (grandmother
always said we had a drop of Incan
blood), and German (great-great-
grandfather was a Hessian soldier).
Of my sibs & I, 5 of us have dark
hair and eyes. The twins were "tow-
headed" with hazel eyes, one brother
had dark hair with green eyes, and
one sister had green eyes and bright
red hair. They also had very fair
complexions. As for a food "calling,"
I will always answer when called by
Mexican and Chinese dishes. Maybe
there is something to the migration
theory of populating as regards this
continent! LOL

Suzanne Ferrell said...

I've never been there, but I'm pretty sure my soul cries out for Scotland. It's my dream vacation! And my love of Italian cooking, I'm thinking Tuscanny might be my second "soul" home.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Jo!!

I've always wanted to be more "native American" than my slight percentage. My fraternal grandmother's mother was Cherokee and her "husband" was a mountain man, probably had a nice still in the Kentucky wilds LOL.

Heehee. I'd love that too, but haven't ever been able to prove it. Grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Catslady!

You said: If I could blend the Italian and French I think that would be perfect.

That would be awesome!!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Gannon!

We also went to Corfu---another fab time! Love me some Greek food...and dancing around the restaurant. :-)

Yippeee!!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Pat! Wow, that is a really cool ancestry!

I love what you said: As for a food "calling," I will always answer when called by
Mexican and Chinese dishes. Maybe
there is something to the migration
theory of populating as regards this continent! LOL


Love that! I'm pretty much going to answer for Chinese too. Mexican - real mexican, yes; "American-mexican" is always made with bell peppers for "color" and I can't eat them. Sigh. Love them, can't eat 'em.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Suz!

Scotland is one of those other places I've always - ALWAYS - wanted to go. I think my blood calls me there, while my stomach calls me to Greece and Italy. Ha!

You said: I've never been there, but I'm pretty sure my soul cries out for Scotland. It's my dream vacation! And my love of Italian cooking, I'm thinking Tuscanny might be my second "soul" home.


You are SUCH a fabulous cook, Suz. Some of the recipes....oooh. Yummy.

Louisa Cornell said...

Caught the GR on your first day? Good job, Mozette!

Lovely post Duchesse! Lovely eye candy as well. And you KNOW how we duchesses are about our EYE CANDY!

I've wanted to be British since I lived there as a child. I was SO fortunate we lived in an English village and not on the base. It was definitely a life changing experience. I've been a devout Anglophile ever since.

Of course part of it is due to my heritage. My father was three quarters Welsh and a quarter English. His ancestors came to the States in 1892 and he grew up hearing Welsh spoken in his home by his maternal grandmother.

I do honor my Mom's heritage as well. She is half Creek and half Cherokee.

Another culture I have always loved and been fortunate enough to experience up close is the Cajun / Creole culture. I have friends of both cultures and some who are a mix of the two. I've had some interesting food, some delicious food, danced on an outdoor wooden dance floor until dawn to zydeco music and negotiated with a pair of alligator yard dogs to get from the air boat dock to the front porch. And I know more about the practice of voodoo than I sometimes care to know!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Louisa!

You said: I've wanted to be British since I lived there as a child. I was SO fortunate we lived in an English village and not on the base. It was definitely a life changing experience. I've been a devout Anglophile ever since.

And a brilliant one too! LOL.

And I love all your heritages. I love too, that your dad spoke Welsh as well. I hope it never dies out, as it's a fabulous language to hear spoken.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Louisa also said: And I know more about the practice of voodoo than I sometimes care to know!


Remind me to ask you about this....

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I'm off to dream of Mykonos and Athens, Stamos and Diesel, baklava and moussaka!

Thanks for hanging out with me today!