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  • Esther

Roots and Wings


I can't believe the day has come. My son Connor (Constantine) is leaving the nest.

Why is it that the days and weeks seem so slow, but the years and decades seem so fast? Time does not slow down.

Connor, now 23, and my first born, graduated a year ago from Central Michigan University. His love of the Big Apple has been growing for years, so I was not surprised to find that his dream of moving there would one day come true.

As an audio engineer – much of the action in his industry is in NYC. His dream came true a few weeks ago, and we packed the new Greek to Go van to make the trek east. He’d been working all spring to save up enough money to make it work – with no job, fire is his belly and drive in his spirit, he was confident all the ends would line up.

First? Housing. While his move to NYC didn’t surprise me, neither did his selection of an apartment in Astoria, Queens; a haven of Greek Americans. My boy is Greek through and through.

And what family move to NYC would be complete without taking the family along. Thea Kathy and Thea Tina joined in on the fun. Connor thinks it’s funny: My Big Fat Move to The Big Apple. It’s always a production.

So here I am, leaving my baby, all alone in a big city. Well, let’s see, he’s not really alone – the Greek church is around the corner – the dome visible from Connor’s bedroom window, and so is the Titan market and a heavenly restaurant. Our eyes light up when we see the traditional foods we love so readily available to him.

He’s got Greek friends nearby and a roommate who will keep him in line. She laughs when she sees the boxes of food items we brought “just in case.” It might be a tiny apartment with no storage, but my kid must eat! No Greek starves because they’re out of money!

My younger brother also lives nearby in Brooklyn. YiaYia and Papou are encouragers of new experiences, being immigrants themselves. It might have caused many a stomach pain when their own children tried, but they wanted us to figure life out on our own. I want the same for Connor. He’s got a wide net of support where ever he needs to go. What a place to watch your child spread wings and fly.

It wasn’t long after we returned home that I could hear the joy in his voice – sure, he misses the family, spreading your wings isn’t always easy. But not going after your dream is a regret he will never have, and this momma is happy.

For the days when Connor needs some comfort food – and he’s just home from the Titan: Manestra me Kres – Orzo with Meat

2 lbs cubed stew meat

One large chopped onion

1 bay leaf

1 tb spoon allspice

1tb cinnamon or a cinnamon stick

Salt & pepper to taste

Olive oil

1 medium can of tomato sauce

1 bag of orzo (we like the Misco brand)

First, I put meat in the pot cover with water allow to boil to get rid of the crud, rinse and start the process…

Sauté onions in olive oil, add meat salt, pepper and other seasoning add water about half way and allow to simmer for about 1 ½ hours. Add tomato sauce half way.

Once the meat is tender add the bag of manestra (orzo) to the pot and continue to boil stirring occasionally until cooked.

You can add some parmesan cheese or mezethra (Greek version of Parmesan cheese) Yum!


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