Harlot’s Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss, and Greece by Patricia Volonakis Davis
Italian-American girl Patricia meets Gregori, “the gorgeous Greek” as she refers to him, and details their cross cultural romance in Harlot’s Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss, and Greece. The opening chapters where she describes her early life gave me a clear picture of my childhood friends’ lives. I orbited around and crossed into their Italian lives- however, it was always a fleeting experience for me as their families welcomed me into their homes, fed me and treated me as one of their own kids. Then I went back to the quiet beige life with a then noticeable absence of stinky cheese and white wife-beater undershirts. I am a child of the 60’s.
When the celebrations and parties took place in adjoining backyards, when colored lights were strung and the happy conversations and shouts were predominately Italian, I understood (later) they kept their traditions going by marrying within their own culture. It was the rare one who married an Irish kid or someone from out of the “family.” Have you ever watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Like that………..or Papa wouldn’t be happy. Again, I am referring to life as I was growing up in the 1960s.
This book tells a story you can see unfold in your mind. The picturesque scenery and family life in Greece, the leading lady’s unfortunate experience with Greek liquor, to Gregori’s obstinate behavior toward his fiancé …it’s a good read. Even as her marriage falters Patricia moves forward positively and writes with humor. Full of food, passion and engaging stories – please read this cross cultural journey.
Harlot’s Sauce reminds me of pasta puttenesca. The sauce isn’t a specific recipe here, it’s combining good ingredients and making a good meal. It’s also taking the best of what you have on hand and making the most of it…for a recipe, for a life style. But I veered off course on the puttenesca and made a version of Pastitsio in honor of her Greek experiences. Recipe and such may be found at Squirrel Head Manor.
Kalo Taxidi! (Good Voyage!) and Buon Appetito.
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