One thing my husband really misses about life in Cyprus is the long and leisurely Sunday barbecue with extended family. I say extended but here, aunts, uncles, cousins, their spouses and kids and even these family members’ in-laws are family, just family from next door or wherever.
Family who brought him up, who grew up with him, and who joined the family later but are just as welcome.
To make the barbecue, it is necessary that several men spend Sunday morning staring at it and talking to it down in the courtyard. Maybe other measures are required, too? I wouldn’t know as I like to steer my vegetarian person a bit clear from the smoke.
My kids, on the other hand, are very successfully being introduced to the art of the ‘souvla’ staring and talking (or whatever is involved). They, too, spent hours under the lemon tree this weekend and came upstairs smelling of tradition. I think it’s brilliant. They are out of the house. They learn to cook. I can blog. Perfect!
For the women, it seems only the eldest generation is expected to make a real contribution to the common table. Perhaps because we, the 30 and 40 somethings, are considered children (which we are, of course – this is the Mediterranean and we will only maybe reach adulthood after we become grandparents).
Or perhaps it’s because we are lousy and uninspired cooks and no-one would want to risk having to taste any creations from our useless hands? No, that’s probably just me and my hands. I haven’t actually asked why we are excused. I just gratefully and silently wonder.
Once the barbecue is ready and everyone has been lured in by its intoxicating aroma, there are easily a dozen or more hungry folks flocking towards the kitchen. There is so much food you could quite easily feed a large Finnish wedding party with what’s on offer.
And it is good! So good.
By the time dessert rolls around the littlest member of the lunch party is nearly asleep in his high chair. Politics and football, schools and christenings, work days and trips and the rain yesterday. Everything has been talked about and the food was great and so it is an excellent day.
A good Sunday.