Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Preserving Our Family’s Culinary History – a start!

My daughter, Sophie, and I spent an amazing day today with my mother-in-law.  She taught us how to make our family’s most favourite dish – one that we fondly call pitta! Outside of our family it is more widely known in Greek cuisine as spanakopita.

Proudly a fifth generation Australian of German, Scot, Cornish and English background, I had the very good fortune to marry into a wonderful Greek family who emigrated to Australia in the year that I was born!

My mother-in-law, whom I have always fondly called Yiayia (Greek for Grandmother), is an 86 year old dynamo! She is also the most amazing cook – and I am determined to record for our families our most favourite recipes and how to cook them as we remember them!

Yiayia’s pitta recipe is simple – deceptively so, as the techniques involved in the making are a little more complex! As a part of today’s lesson I learned how to make the most amazing filo pastry from scratch - together with the tricky business of how to roll it out, how to prepare the spinach, and what type of cheese to choose.

Sophie and I have videoed our lesson. It is our intention to produce a You Tube clip to make mastering the intricacies of making pitta and filo pastry easier - for both us and likeminded learners! This will also assist us to work out measurements of ingredients as Yiayia, like many amazing cooks doesn't use a recipe, instead cooking by look and feel! I will post our recipe in the near future.

Watching every member of our family – from the very youngest to the oldest - enjoy pitta at every family occasion I  can still only be amazed at how it is possible for spinach, dill, cheese, butter, flour, water and a dash of salt and pepper to taste so sublime!

I’d love to hear from you if you, too, have family recipes that you are preserving or intending to preserve. 

Sophie and I have another appointment with Yiayia next Wednesday to record and learn another family favourite. Check back next week to see what is!

Preserving our families culinary history is up to us - let's do it! 


  1. What a wonderful way to spend the day and how wise of you to get those recipes while you can. Plenty of us overlook the family sources and regret it when they've gone.

  2. Amanda,what you have said is so true! I lost my Mum three years ago. She, too, was an amazing cook! I still catch myself thinking things like 'I'll just ring Mum and check how to do that...'

    Thanks so much for your comment.

  3. What a lovely way to to spend the day. I have many recipes from Mum, and the kids have spent many hours in Tumby cooking with her. Great idea to video. Must do that next time I'm home.

    1. Lizzy, those country ladies sure know how to cook! Capture those precious recipes and memories at every opportunity! Say hello to your Mum for me!


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