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10 Helsinginkatu: Chapter 33 10 Helsinginkatu: Chapter 33
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-06-09 08:46:45
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33. A new plate and Greek food

So I was full of contradicting thoughts, from one side I could see what Helena had said the other day, that Juha was just a big bullshitter, I could get angry with him every time the bruised eye crossed my mind and the same time I had in my mind the experience of an ex-wife and that could make me have my doubts and remember how many times she had brought me to my limits. Of course she never became the reason to hit her or any other woman and I had no excuses for that but still I was wondering how far this woman had taken the whole divorce thing with Juha. One sure thing was that I still didn’t like the man and I mean Juha!

Mandy called me inviting me for lunch to his restaurant telling me that he had added a new plate to his menu, something I would definitely like. This with Mandy’s new plates had started a couple of years ago when for the first time he tried my cooking and I think I talked about it before; but since then Mandy felt that I was an experienced cook with good taste and judgment and this is a huge answer to a prayer when it comes from him who apparently is another ‘I know everything’ person around me! So we agreed for two in the afternoon and I called Marc to see if he wanted to join me. But before saying anything Marc started his usual excuses about too much work at home, the two kids and the wife who doesn’t have time to do anything so I didn’t say anything and I decided to spent my morning in the most creative way I could think at the moment watching a DVD with episodes from the televised series ‘Frasier!’

I cannot explain why I like this series, it is a strange thing, I actually hate them but when I start watching it I cannot stop and I always remember some of the jokes or funny scenes from the series, I suppose we all have this thing to identify our selves in all these series and perhaps something in ‘Frasier’ reminds me of myself. Perhaps the weird way he analyzes everything since I have the same habit. A habit that occasionally has made my life more difficult or sound like a constant conspiracy theory! Anyway, Frasier it was and soon came the time to have lunch with Mandy.

Mandy was in one of his “I hate Finland’ moods and I was not exactly prepared to deal with that but I had to try his new plate. Mandy’s mood about Finland usually depends on his wife’s moods, if the day before he had an argument with her it ends up the next day to be an “I hate Finland” day with him constantly saying things that include the words, racism, they don’t understand, Finnish women and a lot others I doubt if it will be nice to write here. As I have said before I don’t get really well with his wife but after thirty-five years of married life I think he should have got used to the situation and there is something else I cannot take from him when he starts complaining about Finland, his selective change of nationality every time he likes to do so or it works for him.

I mean when Finland is doing something good he is Finn and he complains for Greece that will never be Finland and then when Finland does something he doesn’t like straight away he’s complaining why Finland cannot be like Greece and fine the Finnish people are not the easier people on the world but he lived her most of his life. Actually his Greek memories are sporadic and selective since he’s been here for more than thirty-five years and he is what you would think a successful businessman. Apart of that he has all the rights Finnish people have and he participates even to the elections as candidate for the conservative party.

Before I get to the new dish he had to serve that day I must say a couple of things about the Greek restaurants abroad. Well most of them are trying to be Greek, the truth is that I have been to very few that can serve real Greek food and that in places that the Greek minority is not exactly a minority. There is a fantastic little restaurant or at least used to be near Victoria station in London that made fantastic Greek food and while living there I visited, then there is another one in Queens, New York and that was in every single detail Greek; I suppose if you have seen the film “My Big Fat Greek wedding” you get the picture. By the way I have to talk about this film sometime; if you think that Greek Americans are funny you have no idea! At least my experience with the Greek Americans and a Greek picnic in San Francisco can assure you that they are much funnier. And then another one in Stuttgart, Germany, and of course I’m talking about personal experiences, perhaps there are much more but it never happened to visit them.

The majority of the Greek restaurants abroad have adapted to the local environment and products and in the end at least for a Greek they are anything else than Greek. Mandy’s restaurant is one of them, the menu of course is full of Greek names but the Finnish cheese can no way taste or even remind at least to me the original Greek cheese. But the locals who have been only for a week holidays on one of the Greek island and what they mainly remember is Greek salad, souvlaki and moussaka everything is wonderful. The new plate was supposed to be stuffed chicken breast with feta cheese! I have to admit that I never seen that in any Greek restaurant and is not any kind of local food since I can proudly say that I have been in all the main places in Greece including some that have never seen tourists.

All characters and events depicted are fictional, and any resemblance to persons living, dead, or fictional or situations past, present, or fictional is purely and completely coincidental. 

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