Drunk people in national dress feasting on local delicacies… Sounds like a Friday night in Dundee with wasted Scots digging into their fish and chips. Except on this occasion I was surrounded by Canadian Greeks downing shots of Ouzo and munching souvlakis, tzatsiki and gyro pitas. But it wasn’t just a big piss-up, extended families were getting the chance to come together and celebrate many aspects of their culture; music, food, dance and faith.
Canadians from all backgrounds joined in the festivities but the Greeks outshone everyone with their sleek sense of style, olive skin and silky auburn hair. Another area in which they excelled was the cuisine. The food was cooked in front of the customers and the options were vast and intriguing. Wowed by the choice, I decided to order a starter and a main course but as it turns out even a Greek appetizer can quench a starving stomach. At first I was looking for tomato ketchup to go with my loukaniko (Greek sausage) but there was none in sight, instead on my plate sat a quarter lemon. I was not convinced that this was the solution to my hot dog problem but I braced myself, squeezed the lemon and took a bite. I would almost say that the lemon was better flavouring than ketchup ( … almost).
I decided to save the chicken gyro pita for later and it served as an excellent drunken night snack after our house’s big gay night out. But tales of that adventure will have to wait until tomorrow.
Exploration of the rest of Greek Fest led me to a cooking demonstration in the church basement, a free tour of the beautiful church grounds and a “Court of Greek Art”. My ears picked up on all kinds of mother tongues as tourists, locals and native Greeks shared in the excitement of an archaic history brought to life in one weekend in suburban Ottawa.