Yet another food post!  Lenten fasting is designed partly to get our focus off of food and this is my second food-themed post in a row.  Oh well…

Many areas where there are several Orthodox churches have the practice of rotating Presanctified Liturgy among them and having a potluck dinner afterwards, which is a nice way to incorporate post-liturgy fellowship and balance out the penitential aspect of the service with some social interaction.  The Worcester churches do this, with the people from the host parish naturally providing most of the food.  In Marlborough we host all of the services, and I didn’t want to saddle our people with a potluck each week, so I decided this year to try alternating potluck dinners with a cooking demonstration by a local celebrity chef every Wednesday. So last week we had a nice modest potluck, and this past Wednesday we had our first celebrity chef.  Evangelia “Lika” Velentzas, a dear friend and proprietor of Auburn Town Pizza, attended service and afterwards gave us a well-received cooking lesson in the kitchen of our Hellenic Hall.  Lika had astoundingly delicious fasolada – white bean soup – for us to eat while she showed us how to make a Lenten Israeli couscous salad.  We then ate the salad and finished with dessert provided by Amalia.

This was a new experience for all of us.  Lika asked me how many people to expect and I optimistically said twenty to thirty, and wouldn’t you know we had twenty-eight people!  We all fit reasonably well in the rearranged kitchen and enjoyed the food as well as Lika’s well-delivered lesson.  My personal favorite part was when she added paprika and mentioned that the key is to use smoked paprika – there was an audible “hmmmm” from the audience when she said this and I had to laugh.  Lika then distributed copies of the recipe but maintained that the fasolada was a family secret (although she did share it privately with anyone who asked).  It was a great night.  A couple of pictures are below, and more are on the website.  Many, many thanks to Lika for donating her time, talent and treasure to make this such a memorable event!