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Saint Euphrosynus - The Cook

It is a beautiful sunny afternoon and I decided to sit in my beach chair on my deck and enjoy the sounds of Spring and just be outside. With everything happening in the world today surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying – thanking God for my life, my family and the good fortunes I have.

If you know me, you know I enjoy cooking. But as of late, the joy was gone – I was rather sick of it – because I couldn’t run my business the way I wanted. Meaning I was making the same thing over and over and with no one else around. It was in the quiet that I realized something about myself… I love to cook because it brings people together. When the Greek to Go crew gathers around a 10-foot industrial steel table, we talk and laugh. Some conversations serious, some funny, some insightful – but nevertheless it brings us together.

I have a small group that help me. With the shelter in place order, I have not seen them in a while, and I miss them. I like bringing people together, I like teaching others how to cook, and I love when they say, “oh that was so good!” I am not trained as a chef, nor do I think I am good at what I do. I don’t like to chat endlessly about my cooking because there is always room for improvement. I still love to learn to do things better and faster.

My little group is home staying safe. I have been alone in the kitchen for the most part. Last week my son offered to help me. Can I even begin to tell you how much I loved that? That’s another blog in itself! We worked together for two days and pumped out spankopita, tiropita and baklava – Greek to Go staples and favorites.

You know what happened? I got my smile back and my heart was full again. We caught up on a lot, I can’t tell you how I love my talks with my boys and how I miss them. We connected again! A small glimmer of joy in a season of challenges.

I am so blessed, and I am happy that I get to share a little bit of my culture with others. I hope that one of my products will put a smile on your face and that you share with people you love.

Above my kitchen window I have an icon of Saint Euphrosynus, the cook. Humble, and from a poor family, he was a monk and a cook for his region’s monastery. He is noted for his discipline in fasting, prayers of devotion, patience and sharing love – and the love of God - through cooking. All things that I would aspire to in my own life. So, while looking at my icon, I remind myself and thank God for all my good fortunes. I will remain dedicated to all aspects in my life and I will continue as best I can the love I have for cooking.

By the way, for my non-Orthodox friends: An icon, from the Greek εἰκών eikṓn "image", "resemblance,” is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting on piece of wood or canvas. Icons are a way to help keep the mind be focused on church. Another purpose of icons is that they can be integrated into your prayer life. Hence, mine in the kitchen reminds me of the story of Saint Euphrosynus, the cook. For those of you who want to read on this saint here is the link, also you will understand why he is holding a branch with apples on it. Great read!!!!

Happy Cooking!

And...St. Euphrosynus - a prayer…...

You lived in great humility, in labors of asceticism and in purity of soul, O righteous Euphrosynus. By a mystical vision you demonstrated the Heavenly joy which you had found. Therefore make us worthy to be partakers of your intercessions.

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