My Greek Christmas Holiday Celebration

Growing up Greek in America, I always look forward to the holidays because I got to eat one of my favorite foods from the Greek culture. Pastichio is an all-time favorite of mine because it is very similar to Lasagna in that it has noodles and ground beef along with an array of cheeses. I remember my mother and grandmother always making this for Christmas and Easter. In fact, reheating this awesome meal would taste even better in consecutive days! Of great note is that this meal is so hearty that it could be a stand alone dish with a good Greek salad.

Imagine this setting, a family of six and many cousins sitting around having conversations in the living room while the ladies are in the kitchen getting all the food ready for the guests who were soon to arrive. I was one of the several ladies who would help with the preparation of the Greek holiday dinner!

In many instances, I would be taught right then and there how to make the Pastichio. My mother would instruct me at 8 years old to get the ingredients out of the refrigerator and then refer me to her “verbal recipe” as it was never written down….always done from what she remembered. In other words, she would give me the instructions as we were making the Pastichio.

She would have me get the pan out of the drawer and show me how to layer the ingredients to prepare it for the oven. In many cases, I would also be asked to set the table since I was the youngest member of the entire family. What did that look like? Setting multiple tables because the main table would not have enough room for 15-25 people. I would normally have to set up 3 tables, one for adults and 2 for children. There were always many little kids in the family, and they all wanted to sit together.

I would then greet all the guests as the doorbell rang. Of course, some people would come early to enjoy the pleasant conversations with family members they may have not seen in a while. Others would show up when they could as they would be at another home they were invited to and then come over possibly for just dessert and Greek coffee. No matter the time, it was always a BIG celebration with many people and lots of good Greek food, wine and dessert.

While nothing can hold a candle to the memory I have of my mother’s Pastichio, I found this recipe that you can share with your family for this holiday season. Enjoy!!