Hayward Greek Festival 2006

On Saturday, October 7th 2006, I spent late afternoon and evening at the Hayward Greek Festival, a festival I attended last year. Participating was comfortable as everything looked identical to the previous festival: same foods, same layout, same booths selling books, jewelry, and clothes, the same dance floor and largely the same dances, and even a similar booklet (though with more typos this year) with advertisements for Greek-owned businesses, cooking recipes and advice, and Greek words and phrases. One neat new item for sale was a homemade cookbook with the recipes for every dish they cook at the festival. (I decided not to buy it.) The only other cookbook for sale was right next to it, labeled Hellenic cooking. I can't figure out what the difference between Greek and Hellenic is...

Since it's primarily a food festival, exploring the booths was pretty fast (as there were few and I'd generally seen them before), so I spent my couple hours there reading, waiting in line for food, eating, watching dancing, reading, getting more food, watching a slide show on modern Athens, reading, drinking, listening to a lecture about the design of an eastern orthodox church, eating more, and so on (in some order). The slide show was better than what one expects when watching one man's vacation slides. And the talk about the architecture, decor, and iconography of an eastern orthodox church was fairly neat too. Did you know that every church altar when consecrated gets sealed inside it a fragment of bone or cloth or something similar from a saint? If the church moves, the altar must go with it because it's not allowed to be destroyed.

As is traditional for festivals, I stuffed myself:
* a greek salad. exactly right.
* metaxa (a kind of brandy). I had it on the rocks and thought it was a solid brandy, liking it as much as I like many brandies (which actually isn't much).
* spanakopita (Greek spinach pie). decent, though a little greasy.
* mixed veggies (zucchini, squash, eggplant, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, tomato paste). nothing too exciting: veggies in a light, slightly sweet tomato sauce. I could probably make this pretty easily.
* gyro - great, as usual. Lamb, onions, tomato, tzatziki, and that wonderfully tasty, thick, and chewy pita bread that I don't get anywhere besides these festivals.
* karidopita (honey walnut cake). a sweet, moist, and quite tasty dessert. I liked it enough that I found a recipe on the web and made it a few days later with fairly similar success.
* melomarorona (honey cookies) - good. similar to the karidopita but with more of a orange zest undertone and practically no walnut flavor.
* koulourakia (like a butter cookie in softness and taste though in the shape of a bread twist) - decent.

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