Saturday, November 29, 2014

Not Spanakopita

Three weeks ago, when I first heard that a dear friend was in the Intensive Cardiac Care ward in Vancouver, my heart skipped a beat. Or three. Or more. Did it pause out of empathy, or for  selfish reasons, or both? How can I ever know? I do know that I couldn’t bear to lose her. Not one bit.

Thankfully, she is home now, in a new place that she moved to just before she got so very ill. A few days ago, I hopped on a ferry and visited. After sharing the day with her, my own heart is now one very happy heart. I had been able to watch her climb an entire flight of stairs without having to sit down. Two weeks ago, that was not possible. 
Part of the plan for my visit was that I would come and make spanakopita, one of my standbys for the past 40 years. My pleasure. She had all the ingredients, so I chopped up the onion, sautéed it in butter, wilted the spinach, and while it cooled, took out the filo pastry. It turned out that this filo had seen better days. The middle part was flaking like centuries old papyrus, while the edges were glued together in a soggy paste. Some misadventure of the freezer must have happened during her recent move. Clearly, we were not about to have the desired spanakopita. So, what to do? Quiche. That’s what occurred to me.

Since boxes upon boxes still await unpacking, the ingredients for pastry had to be eyeballed rather than measured, as was the milk that went into the three beaten eggs. I added no salt. There was already lots in the feta cheese. There was a bit of left-over crust, so I filled it with a thinly sliced Ambrosia apple topped with blackcurrant jam. That did the trick for a second wee pie, for dessert.

As the pies cooked, we went out for a walk. Three weeks ago, this alone would have felt like a miracle. It still feels like a miracle. May there be many, many more. Walks. Laughter. The pleasure of a simple lunch: sliced red peppers, quiche, and apple pie. It is totally clear to me how deeply I want more time for our already 50 year friendship. 

Years ago, she told me: You can’t have new old friends.  Well, as it turned out, we also couldn't have spanakopita, but it was all pretty damned fine, and the pies were the least of it.

Not spanakopita.


  1. Beautiful and so true...
    Reminds me of that adage - Order what you want, eat what you get.
    Whether life delivers spanakopita or quiche in our endlessly shape-shifting lives, we shall prevail.

  2. Please give her one of my special hugs. I guess you will be helping unpack the rest of the boxes, so she will be truly settled in by Christmas Day.

    1. Venetia Bowman-VaughanDecember 1, 2014 at 2:58 AM

      Sorry so not Anonymous.

    2. Glad to have your secret identity unearthed. :)