- Kali is almost eighty, but she's my best friend
Finding myself with some time to spare the other day, I stopped by Kali’s house in the afternoon. Kali is almost eighty, but she’s my best friend. A kind of scowling, yet concurrently sweet figure, charming but not necessarily smiley, brings out the same warmth to your soul as a confection does to your taste! She’s dedicated all her life to land and nature. Out of all the goods the soil yields, she picks up some of them, she creates, she thrives!
As I was going up the stairs in her house, surrounded by trees, basils and all sorts of greenery, I got carried away by a smell that ultimately drove me to her cookhouse. “Hey, there you are, Kolis! Just in time to taste my moustalevria.”
Steam was storming out of the pot, making its way into her luxuriant white hair as her callous palms kept throwing ash into the must ensuring the thick stuff got discarded while the good part was retained. “These are my candies, these are the only ones that I’ve learned to make, nothing more than this. I go the vineyard, pick up my grapes, keep the best ones to eat later, use some others in my spoon sweets, and turn the rest into must. I make wine out of the must, I make vinegar, molasses, moustokouloura, but I also make my favorite one, moustalevria! Come take a look at how much I can make out of one thing without having to spend a penny, unlike your generation, those kids who gobble up ice-creams and chocolates, and then the streets end up being scattered with plastic scraps and wrappings whenever the wind picks up! My favorite sweet is moustalevria, which I’ve been enjoying since I was a little girl. If you want to do it properly, you need to love the land which gives you the crop, to put extra zeal into it, and to make sure you have fokiano grapes. Love the land, it will always be loyal to you, day in, day out, it will keep providing you with one thing or another”.
Having said that, she resumed stirring the must which had begun to curdle…
Translated into English by Nikos Loutraris
He was born and grew up in Pirgi village of Chios. He studied History and Archeology. He and his family maintain a traditional tavern in Emporios.