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Feast days in Australia January 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora.

For many people the thought of cooking for 20 guests would be intimidating, if not terrifying. But for Philip and Chrystalla Socrates it is a treasured weekly ritual.

Philip and Chrystalla arrived in Australia from Cyprus in the early 1950s and have cooked a meal for 15 to 20 family members every Sunday night for 25 years.

Last week it was lamb and chicken souvlaki, roast potatoes, pork and taro casserole, barbecued king prawns, fried calamari rings, Greek salad, spinach risotto and potato salad, with baklava, apple cake, fruit salad and profiteroles for dessert, all made from scratch.

Even more amazingly, Mrs Socrates manages to adapt this feast for various dietary requirements including vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose intolerant. According to daughter Margaret Kolotas, Chrystalla is nothing short of a superwoman.

“Each week Mum bakes enough organic sourdough bread to supply the family and she has such wonderful cooking skills that she even makes fresh haloumi, yoghurt, preserves, olives and vine leaves and always has a selection of Greek sweets in the house for visitors.”

Philip also plays an important part in the weekly family feast, preparing and barbecuing many of the dishes. He also grows a lot of the herbs and vegetables used in the dishes. Now in their 70s, the couple shows no signs of slowing down and letting others do the cooking, which is just as well, according to their daughter.

“Our parents put my sisters and I to shame but they certainly give us something to aspire to in their skills and generosity.”

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