We moved from Greece to Canada when I was 5 years old. Like many immigrants, while my parents were very thankful to their new land for the
opportunities it provided, they clung passionately to their old ways of life, missing all that they’d left behind. We spoke Greek at home, ate
mostly traditional food (no one knew how to cook anything else anyway) and once we could afford it, spent every summer we could back “home”.
At first I was weary of those trips, weeks spent in a small village, living in an old farmhouse where chickens roamed the yard. As I grew older though,
I came to love those summers and the little village started to be a magical place where adventures could be had and a new piece of my history could be discovered at every turn
It was during one of those summers that I first watched my grandmother make “tsoureki”- our traditional Easter bread. Since we could never be in the
village at Easter time she decided she’d give us a taste of Easter in July. I remember being in awe as I realized just how much work went into making
those little loaves of bread.
I watched for hours as she mixed and kneaded and waited for her dough to rise. And when the rising was done she kneaded again and braided and waited once more for her dough to be ready for baking. All told the process took over five hours of hard labour, but I don’t remember my grandmother
complaining once. She smiled the whole time as she told me how her grandmother had taught her what she was now teaching me and how the smell
of the bread always brought back wonderful memories of her grandmother’s kitchen.
This past Easter I brought my daughter to my own mother’s house for the first time to help bake our Easter bread. At five years old, she doesn’t
yet understand how much work goes into the whole process, but the smell of the bread baking already makes her think of her grandmother’s house and I feel so lucky that she’ll have the same beautiful Easter memories that I do.